After a very busy weekend, the next edition of the TSK staff power rankings is here. This week, we received 13 ballots, and at the end of the voting process, here’s where we are...
14. Kentucky Wildcats
(Score: 12.84; Highest Vote: 10; Last Week: 12)
After a disastrous start to the season, the Kentucky Wildcats dipped down to last in the power rankings. The ‘Cats dropped their opener to Southern Miss after the Golden Eagles manufactured an enormous comeback victory and one that seemed to defuse any semblance of positivity in Lexington. The Wildcats now will head to Gainesville this week to face Florida in the SEC on CBS game, and things may be fixing to get even worse in The Swamp.
13. Mississippi State Bulldogs
(Score: 12.69; Highest Vote: 10; Last Week: 9)
Losing to South Alabama didn’t inspire much confidence in Mississippi State who dropped four spots from their initial position in the power rankings. The post-Dak Prescott Era arguably couldn’t have gotten off to a worse start and they will have to reverse course quickly as their first SEC matchup of the season is this weekend against the South Carolina Gamecocks.
12. Vanderbilt Commodores
(Score: 12.61; Highest Vote: 11; Last Week: 13)
The Vanderbilt Commodores can thank the teams below them for dropping early contests as they were bumped up in the power rankings despite taking a loss to South Carolina. The Commodores’ offense appears to still be stuck in neutral and Derek Mason will have lots of responsibility on his hands to attempt to move forward after taking a disappointing loss to the Gamecocks at home in Nashville.
11. Missouri Tigers
(Score: 11.23; Highest Vote: 10; Last Week: 11)
Mizzou stays right where they were last week despite the loss as they check in at No. 11. The Tigers took a loss to West Virginia in Morgantown but there were some signs of promise. Missouri heads back home to Columbia and welcomes lowly Eastern Michigan to town, and could be a nice confidence booster for the Tigers offense, which looked much more uptempo than it had in previous years on Saturday afternoon.
10. South Carolina Gamecocks
(Score: 10.53; Highest Vote: 9; Last Week: 14)
Our first real positive movement of the power rankings belongs to South Carolina. The Gamecocks jumped up four spots from last place to 10th after their win over Vanderbilt. Will Muschamp’s start in Columbia certainly got off to a good start, so now it will be intriguing to see how the pages turn as the season progresses.
9. Auburn Tigers
(Score: 8.15; Highest Vote: 4; Last Week: 10)
Another team to bump up despite a loss, Auburn performed very well against No. 2 Clemson on Saturday. So much so that the Tigers nearly took the victory over Deshaun Watson & Co. but were ultimately snuffed out. The offense may be a work-in-progress but the defense looked stupendous at times. Things may not wind up being so bad after all if the quarterback situation can be resolved if their D can play up to that level week-to-week.
8. Arkansas Razorbacks
(Score: 8; Highest Vote: 5; Last Week: 8)
Arkansas stays right where they were last week as they check in at No. 8 in the power rankings. The Razorbacks needed a late touchdown to take down the visiting Louisiana Tech Bulldogs who gave them quite a test, but in the end Bret Bielema avoided a gut punch of a loss and the Hogs got into the win column. They will face TCU in Fort Worth on Saturday, and a mighty big opportunity presents itself for the Razorbacks to score a major nonconference victory.
7. Florida Gators
(Score: 6.69; Highest Vote: 4; Last Week: 7)
Florida stays right where they’re at as well after a relatively unimpressive victory over UMass. The Gators looked sloppy at times in the victory over the Minutemen, but a win’s a win as they say, and the Gators can be happy that they didn’t take what would’ve been a shellshocking loss. They will now welcome Kentucky to Gainesville this weekend and given how they fared last Saturday, UF may wind up bulldozing them if they play up to par.
6. LSU Tigers
(Score: 5.92; Highest Vote: 4; Last Week: 2)
LSU descended down to sixth after a shocking 16-14 loss to the Wisconsin Badgers this past Saturday. The Tigers were voted as low as ninth as their performance, especially on offense, did not do much to impress the TSK staff. We’ll see how things play out for the team that was thought to be a National Championship contender before the season started, but they certainly struggled out of the gate.
5. Tennessee Volunteers
(Score: 5.23; Highest Vote: 2; Last Week: 3)
Tennessee’s victory over Appalachian State wasn’t the most impressive, and perhaps that will explain their drop down to fifth in the power rankings this week after starting off at third. The offense looked shaky against the Mountaineers despite a pretty good performance from Jalen Hurd and the defense, to their credit, looked very sharp at times as well. The Vols will play Virginia Tech this Saturday, which could give them an opportunity to notch an impressive nonconference victory under their belts.
4. Ole Miss Rebels
(Score: 4.3; Highest Vote: 2; Last Week: 4)
Ole Miss could’ve soared up further had it not been for a mighty collapse. Still, the voters keep them at fourth place in the rankings after their loss to the Florida State Seminoles on Monday night. The Rebels’ passing attack looked dynamic and at times so did their defensive line. Finishing strong will need to be the key going forward for them in 2016.
3. Texas A&M Aggies
(Score: 3.30; Highest Vote: 2; Last Week: 6)
The Aggies had a standout performance against UCLA. Even though they let them creep back into the game, Texas A&M still procured a win over the No. 16 Bruins. Myles Garrett looked every bit as dominant as a pass rusher that he has been hyped to be and, really, the entire defensive line was blowing UCLA off the ball. We’ve learned of course that it’s not how the Ags start but how they finish, so we’ll be holding our breaths going forward in College Station.
2. Georgia Bulldogs
(Score: 2.46; Highest Vote: 2; Last Week: 5)
After Tennessee’s shortcomings were shown on Thursday, Georgia certainly did lots to change the perception about who the team to watch in the SEC East was. Also running himself back into the spotlight was running back Nick Chubb who stormed for over 200 rushing yards against the North Carolina Tar Heels in Atlanta. Jacob Eason eased himself into the quarterback position and looked sharp more often than not as Kirby Smart may have his guy going forward. The ‘Dawgs definitely did lots to wow the voters at TSK as they received no vote lower than third and seven second-place votes.
1. Alabama Crimson Tide (13)
(Score: 1; Last Week: 1)
The unanimous choice for No. 1 among the 13 voters this week was the Alabama Crimson Tide. This comes as no surprise after the Tide’s 52-6 thrashing of USC on Saturday in Arlington. Jalen Hurts showed off the goods at quarterback and the defense was, once again, dominant in stopping some of the more talented skill position players in the country. We’ll see how long Alabama can retain their No. 1 spot, but for now, they remain at the top of the power rankings.