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SEC Power Poll Ballot: There's a New No. 1 and the Same Old No. 14

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Vanderbilt probably has a hammer lock on the final spot this year, but the top of the ballot is in line for a little bit of shuffling

Soobum Im-USA TODAY Sports

We're getting now to the point where I'm going to start putting more and more stock in the games that have been played and less and less stock in preseason projections. Power polls are still supposed to be a list based on which team you think would beat another team on a neutral field, so it's always going to be a little bit more subjective, but there's more and more emphasis on what you've done on the field. Which is why I'm putting Texas A&M at the top now. They have arguably the best win in the conference among undefeated teams. That could change quickly as we get deeper into the schedule, but there's where I am right now.

1. Texas A&M
They would be No. 14 on my SEC Groundskeeping Power Poll ballot.

2. Alabama
Nick Saban's team has been very quiet, in part because they haven't really played anyone in the last couple of weeks. But that still makes me nervous if I'm Will Muschamp.

3. Auburn
Their biggest test of the season to this point is Thursday, against the wily old wizard of the Big 12, Bill Snyder.

4. LSU
How far can they get with average quarterback play? It might be difficult to get very far in an SEC West that's as stacked as it is.

5. Ole Miss
The Rebels have scored 132 points in three games, and that number is probably going to grow substantially when they play Memphis next week. It's October that will decide how far Ole Miss goes.

6. South Carolina
Dylan Thompson played like Good Dylan Thompson, Brandon Wilds had a great game and Nick Jones did Nick Jones things. Unfortunately, the South Carolina defense also did South Carolina defense things, and that's going to trip up the Gamecocks at some point if it doesn't improve.

7. Missouri
Suddenly, their looming game against South Carolina is becoming a potentially division-defining showdown.

8. Georgia
Todd Gurley ran for 131 yards on 20 carries and the Dawgs still lost, at least in part because Todd Gurley did not play defense. Not that he would likely do any worse than some of the players who did.

9. Florida
Kentucky has obviously improved since last year, but, mercy, Florida, we didn't need you to go out of your way to prove it.

10. Mississippi State
The Bulldogs haven't beaten LSU since 1999, and that's the only Mississippi State victory since 1991. If they want to back up the talk of being a dark horse in the SEC West, this weekend is where they need to start.

11. Tennessee
Still a fringe-y bowl team, but that loss at Oklahoma was better than might have been expected before the season.

12. Kentucky
Are they good enough to win the SEC East this year? No. Good enough to ruin either the South Carolina or Georgia seasons when they face those secondaries? Maybe, and that alone would give Mark Stoops a signature win.

13. Arkansas
This is another dangerous team. The Hogs would probably be closer to the middle of any other conference right about now.

14. Vanderbilt
There appears to be only one bad team in the SEC. But it's very, very bad.