SEC football rankings heading into Week 10 of the 2016 season. The World’s Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party took center stage in the conference this weekend.
The annual rivalry showdown between Florida and Georgia got most of the SEC attention this week with No. 1 Alabama having a bye. The Bulldogs headed into that matching having lost three of their previous four games and badly needed a win in Jacksonville.
Auburn rolled into Ole Miss having won four in a row with three straight wins by at least 24 points. The Tigers’ running game turned out another big effort, this time led by Kam Pettway.
Here’s a look at how the SEC teams rank heading into Week 10 of the season, now that the games have been decided.
Week 10 SEC Football Rankings
14t. Mississippi State (Last Week – 14)
It’s a coin flip between Mississippi State and Missouri, as to which is worse. Yes, the Bulldogs won on Saturday, but they let Samford put up 41 points. That makes 97 total points allowed by Mississippi State to the likes of South Alabama, UMass and Samford. On the positive side of things, Nick Fitzgerald accounted for 536 yards and seven total touchdowns through the air and ground. An outstanding game for the sophomore quarterback.
14t. Missouri (13)
Will Missouri win an SEC game this year? If they can’t take South Carolina in the battle for Columbia, or upend Vanderbilt the week after don’t bet on it. After getting jumped on early, the Tigers at least made it competitive in the fourth quarter. Still, converting on only 25% of your third downs is no recipe for success.
12. Vanderbilt (11)
The win over Georgia has made things mighty interesting down in Nashville. Vandy only needs to Anchor Down two more wins to become bowl eligible. If you figure the Auburn game in Week 10 is a loss, and the Missouri game is a win, that leaves coin flips against Ole Miss and Tennessee – logic being that the Rebs are the personification of mercurial, Tennessee is the most injured team in the country, both games are at Vanderbilt Stadium and Vandy has the defense to hang with any team in the nation. This should be a motivated bunch over the next month.
11. South Carolina (10)
Big-time victory for the Gamecocks on Satuday over Tennessee. Will Muschamp just earned his first signature win as the head coach in Columbia, and Jake Bentley’s steady arm should make fans optimistic about the future of the offense. South Carolina is in good position to split its remaining games and reach a bowl – something that seemed a long shot in early October.
10. Georgia (9)
More growing pains for Georgia, as they’ve now lost two consecutive football games and three in a row to rival Florida. In order for this team to have success, the running game must help out Jacob Eason; on Saturday, it was non-existent. Nick Chubb rushing nine times for 20 yards, and no other back tallying more than four total yards just isn’t going to cut it. Eason again showed pops of greatness, but there were several times when his receivers dropped balls that could’ve opened the field up and put UGA in a good position to score. This will be a good football team in the future, but right now the pendulum has shifted from all the early-season magic.
9. Kentucky (12)
What a one-two punch between Benny Snell and Boom Williams, as the two backs put up 374 rushing yards against Missouri. For reference, that’s only 12 fewer yards than the entire Missouri offense. The Wildcats now only need to win one of their final four games to become bowl eligible for the first time under Mark Stoops. And with a game against Austin Peay still remaining, we can start putting that champaign on ice. Stoops has done a wonderful job keeping his team motivated after an early start to the season, as the Wildcats are peaking at the right time.
8. Ole Miss (7)
Is Ole Miss a bad team, or has it just gone up against superior competition over the past three weeks? The Arkansas game was a toss-up, and then the Rebs caught LSU and Auburn when both were peaking. That said, this roster is too talented to get rolled like it has been. Looking at Chad Kelly’s stat line says it all – he threw the ball 59 times and ran it 11 (the teams leading rusher). There needs to be more balance. Has Hugh Freeze maxed out in Oxford?
7. Tennessee (3)
What a tough, tough loss for the Volunteers on Saturday. Not only because it was against a team they should’ve walked over, but the defeat essentially handed the SEC East to Florida. This is still a very talented roster, but it might be the most banged up club in the nation. We saw how good Tennessee was when all its players were healthy early in the season, but as the season has slogged on it has turned into a war of attrition for the Vols.
6. Arkansas (8)
Two tough games against Florida and LSU loom before the schedule lightens up with Mississippi State and Missouri. The Razorbacks need to put their poor effort against Auburn in the rearview mirror. Time for Bret Bielema to get his players in a position to succeed during the final month.
5. Florida (5)
Florida might be the worst one-loss team in the nation. Watching their games, there is rarely, if ever, a time when you feel like the Gators will dominate the opponent. The defense is absolutely smothering, and Saturday’s bottling of Georgia’s run game was merely the latest example. As for the offense, it is a real struggle. The play-calling is oftentimes head-scratching, like the goal line play where defensive linemen were brought in and the result was an ugly roll-out incompletion. And there are discipline issues. The Gators commit far too many penalties for a team that has trouble moving the ball. Lucky for them, they play in the East, not the SEC West.
4. LSU (6)
LSU-Alabama was the preseason game of the year. Then the Tigers slumped, fired Les Miles and the game lost its shine. And then Ed Orgeron revamped the offense, Derrius Guice became a household name and Leonard Fournette had himself a highlight reel game against Ole Miss. Now LSU-Alabama is, once again, a must-watch matchup.
3. Auburn (4)
That whole “Gus Bus is rolling again” line is very trite, though not untrue. Saturday’s performance against Ole Miss should make other teams quiver. One week after rushing for 543 yards against Arkansas, the Tigers put up 307 on Ole Miss. The difference in this one, was that Sean White’s arm showed up and added 247 yards through the air. This has become a team that will grind you into the dirt as the game wears on – leaning and leaning and leaning on you until you collapse. Let’s also give credit to one of the nation’s more under-discussed defensive units for clamping down on the run and rendering the Rebels one-dimensional.
2. Texas A&M (2)
That 52-10 win over New Mexico State is what you call a palate-cleanser. The Aggies came out and stomped a mud hole in a team they were supposed to. A nice way to put that second half of the Alabama game out of sight, out of mind. Next week should be more of the same against an overmatched Mississippi State club.
1. Alabama (1)
If there’s one area of concern for the Tide it’s the kicking game. Alabama has only hit on 10-of-15 field goals this year. In a game like the one against Texas A&M, where drives stalled and the Crimson Tide settled for field goals, that chink in the armor was magnified (noticeably with the miss late in the second quarter). So far, this team has been a juggernaut, but close games become even tighter when the placekicker is anything short of automatic.