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College Football Rankings: SEC Power Poll Gets Jumbled Despite Alabama's Lock on No. 1

With key rivalry match-ups and the SEC Championship Game looming, there's perhaps as much confusion among our voters as ever before

Matt Bush-USA TODAY Sports


Team (First-place votes) Points Change Standard Deviation
1 Alabama Crimson Tide (11) 154 -- 0.000
2 Mississippi St. Bulldogs 133 +4 0.701
3 Ole Miss Rebels 127 +2 1.293
4 Florida Gators 122 -2 2.427
5 Arkansas Razorbacks 112 -2 1.537
6 Tennessee Volunteers 97 +1 0.982
7 LSU Tigers 89 -3 1.044
8 Georgia Bulldogs 79 -- 1.328
9 Texas A&M Aggies 73 -- 1.502
10 Auburn Tigers 59 -1 0.505
11 Vanderbilt Commdoores 38 -- 0.934
12 Kentucky Wildcats 32 +1 1.044
13 Missouri Tigers 26 -1 0.505
14 South Carolina Gamecocks 14 -- 0.647

There are two more editions of the SEC Power Poll left -- one next week and another after the bowl games -- but things are as confusing as they've ever been. After 10 teams moved last week, nine moved this week, and Alabama and Georgia are the only teams that haven't budged at least one spot in the last weeks. And some schools keep moving up and down, or vice versa: two weeks ago, Mississippi State was No. 4; last week, it fell to No. 6; this week, it's up at No. 2.

That's also leading to a large degree of disagreement about the teams in the poll. Seven members of the SEC have standard deviations above 1.000 this week, and two more are close. Florida's 2.427 is inflated a bit by a solitary voter who put the Gators at No. 10, but the SEC East Champions otherwise had voters placing them anywhere from second to sixth. Arkansas got votes everywhere from third to seventh, while Texas A&M was No. 6 on two ballots, No. 10 on three others and got at least one vote at every position in between.

The one team with a standard deviation that surprise me because it exists at all is South Carolina. The Gamecocks, in case you haven't heard, lost to The Citadel out of the FCS on Saturday, which would seem a surefire ticket to a unanimous last-place finish. On Twitter, I jokingly threatened to take away the vote of anyone who didn't put South Carolina at the bottom spot, something I said in part because I thought it wouldn't matter whether I had to enforce it or not. (I won't, obviously.)

As far as notable trends: LSU is now down five spots in the last two weeks and six spots since it was the top team in the poll before the Alabama-LSU game. And while the Gamecocks fell resoundingly out of a near-tie with Missouri and Kentucky for 12th place, now the Tigers and the Wildcats are closing in on the Commodores for 11th. Also note that the difference between Alabama and Mississippi State is the same size as the gap between the Bulldogs and Arkansas, down at No. 5.


Alabama Crimson Tide

Remember when the SEC West was supposed to be an incredibly tight tournament of seven evenly matched teams? No one told Bama.---And the Valley Shook

Charleston Southern isn't a juggernaut by any stretch, but Alabama looked like they were playing against high-schoolers on Saturday. No wonder the Buccaneers' head coach flat out told the press he would be protecting his starters for the FCS Playoffs.---Roll Bama Roll

Remember when the dynasty was over? Good times.---Georgia Sports Blog

Arkansas Razorbacks

Dang it, Arkansas, we almost thought you guys were really good!---A Sea of Blue

November Arkansas lost a game, but they should finish strong against Missouri next week.---Garnet and Black Attack

I know it's too late now, but let me give you a tip: When Dak Prescott goes on a heater and throws for 500 yards, your best course of action is not to try and keep pace. Especially when Dak -- as good as he is -- can't match your ground game.---Rock M Nation

Auburn Tigers

Bowl eligibility wasn't supposed to occur this late in the season.---Arkansas Fight

Playing their best football of the season! Would almost have to be.---And the Valley Shook

Auburn is lucky they got Idaho instead of Georgia Southern in the SEC-Sun Belt Challenge.---Georgia Sports Blog

Shanna Lockwood -- USA Today Sports

Florida Gators

The SECCG isn't going to be much prettier than the Iron Bowl.---Get the Picture

To be fair, while FAU is 2-9, they would probably finish fourth in the SEC East -- at least this week.---Anchor of Gold

Almost got caught looking ahead because AIN'T NO ONE OUT HERE CAN STOP THINKIN' BOUT THEM NOLES.---Rock M Nation

Georgia Bulldogs

Operation Mediocre Ten-Win Season is still on track.---Get the Picture

Georgia really tried to pull a South Carolina. Or a Florida. Or any team from the SEC East this weekend except Kentucky.---A Sea of Blue

God bless Mark Richt -- too good to fire, not good enough to win anything of consequence.---Rocky Top Talk

Dale Zanine -- USA Today Sports

Kentucky Wildcats

Most weeks dismantling a bad C-USA team is expected of an SEC team. This week it's looking pretty impressive.---Anchor of Gold

So you beat Charlotte. At least you didn't lose. Bowl eligibility (and saving a horrendous two-month free-fall) can come win a win over Louisville.---Arkansas Fight

Remember that hot start? Seems like a different season.---And the Valley Shook

LSU Tigers

A few weeks ago the Tigers were a playoff contender and now they may be about to fire Les Miles. It's been a weird season.---Garnet and Black Attack

Hiring someone who can beat Nick Saban consistently basically boils down to: 1) Urban Meyer or 2) the guy at Disneyland who determines if you're tall enough to ride Space Mountain.---Rocky Top Talk

Les Miles is playing chicken with the boosters now. "OH, YOU'RE GOING TO FIRE ME IF I DON'T WIN OUT? LET'S SEE HOW SERIOUS YOU REALLY ARE."---Rock M Nation

Mississippi St. Bulldogs

When's the last time the Egg Bowl looked to be more entertaining than the Iron Bowl?---Get the Picture

Scored more points on Arkansas than their basketball team did last year.---Anchor of Gold

Jim McElwain will likely win the SEC Coach of the Year award, but Dan Mullen should get serious consideration for it. The Bulldogs lost a ton of talent and experience from last season, yet they could possibly end this year with the same 10-3 record if they can best Ole Miss and win their bowl game. Dak Prescott isn't getting any Heisman talk at all, which is really a joke considering how much hype he got last season for lesser play.---Roll Bama Roll

Nelson Chenault -- USA Today Sports

Missouri Tigers

Honoring Gary Pinkel's legacy by not forcing him to spend Christmas in Shreveport.---Anchor of Gold

The Tigers will have one more chance to send Gary Pinkel out on a good note. He deserves it but I doubt he will get it.---A Sea of Blue

Being emotionally charged can really boost a team's performance, but it can't change the fact that your offense is historically, statistically, objectively, disastrously bad.---Rock M Nation

Ole Miss Rebels

Came off the top rope to body-slam an already woozy LSU. Bonus points for administering the coup de grace to Les Miles, because the Tigers are determined to learn absolutely nothing from Tennessee's time in the wilderness.---Rocky Top Talk

The Rebels have had an up-and-down season this year, but this is still the first time in school history they have beaten Alabama, LSU, and Auburn all in the same year. If not for a freak loss to Arkansas in overtime a few weeks ago, the SEC could legitimately be looking at a scenario where the SEC Champion would not only not make the playoffs, but would have a loss to the 3rd place team in the AAC West.---Roll Bama Roll

Give Ole Miss credit, when they are on their meds, they are a lot of fun to be around.---Georgia Sports Blog

South Carolina Gamecocks

At the very least, there will not be any controversy about not retaining the interim coach.---Anchor of Gold

Save us, Tom Herman.---Garnet and Black Attack

Look, I know they wear the same colors, but you can't go mixing up North Carolina and The Citadel like that, Gamecocks. They're very different teams and YOU LOST TO THE WRONG ONE.---Rock M Nation

Jim Dedmon -- USA Today Sports

Tennessee Volunteers

With the Gators and the Bulldogs struggling right now, the Vols really have to be kicking themselves for the missed opportunities. The East was there for the taking.---A Sea of Blue

They are at least still pretty good in the first half of games, which is better than what most of the SEC can say.---And the Valley Shook

It feels to me like the Vols are a fumble and a fourth down pass away from questioning if Butch Jones is the right guy for the job.---Georgia Sports Blog

Texas A&M Aggies

Hero of the game? Field goal kicker, Taylor Bertolet. Not for reasons you might think, though.---Arkansas Fight

Aggie fans are discontented with an 8-3 record. They have truly arrived as an SEC program.---And the Valley Shook

Kyle Allen makes this team so much better. He is absolutely the right guy at quarterback for Kevin Sumlin's team. Kyler Murray is a freak of an athlete, but a true Air Raid needs a quarterback who can throw the ball all around the field. A healthy, confident Allen makes this a much more dangerous team moving forward. Can the Aggies keep him that way?---Roll Bama Roll

Vanderbilt Commodores

I bet you don't need anyone to tell you the Dores are fifth in the conference in scoring defense and last in scoring offense.---Get the Picture

Intrepidly exploring the fine line between a one-dimensional team and a zero-dimensional team.---Anchor of Gold

After being mocked for most of the first half of the season as the worst team in the conference, the Commodores will finish fourth in the SEC East.---Garnet and Black Attack