SEC football rankings heading into Week 8 of the 2016 season. After another great weekend, here’s how the teams grade out.
Once again, the SEC was the main show in town. Well, except for Mississippi State, who lost a heartbreaker to BYU in double overtime on Friday evening.
But back to the big show: The Third Saturday in October (see: Alabama-Tennessee) and a top-25 battle between Ole Miss and Arkansas headlined the day. The SEC was the only conference in the nation to have two top-25 matchups during the weekend. And who saw that Georgia-Vandy game coming?!
Now that the games have ended and the teams have reshuffled, here’s a look at how the SEC programs all rank heading into Week 8 of the season.
Week 8 SEC Football Rankings
14. Mississippi State (Last Week – 12)
How did Fred Ross drop that touchdown pass in double overtime?! That play pretty much embodies the Bulldogs’ season: close, but no cigar. Mississippi State is now 2-4 and has not yet hit the most difficult stretch of the season. Pray for the Bulldogs when the calendar flips to November.
The Wildcats had a bye this week. They’ve won three of their last four and are sitting at 3-3, but are only No. 111 in total offense and No. 95 in total defense.
12. Vanderbilt (14)
Helluva an upset for the Commodores. Few gave them a chance against against Georgia, going Between the Hedges on a homecoming weekend. Derek Mason’s club doesn’t play the best of offense, but with such a strong defense Vanderbilt can hold competitive in most any game.
11. South Carolina (11)
Honest question: Is it more fun to watch the Gamecocks when they play, or on a bye week? Will Muschamp’s squad is who we thought they’d be entering the season – a lower tier SEC football team that struggles to score points.
10. Missouri (10)
Missouri couldn’t escape The Swamp with a win like they did the last time the Tigers played the Gators on homecoming. At 2-4, Missouri needs to win four of its last six to get bowl eligible. Not out of the question, given that the next four games are vs. Middle Tennessee, vs. Kentucky, at South Carolina and vs. Vanderbilt. One slip-up along that stretch, though, and the Tigers will have to steal at least one game against Tennessee (away) or Arkansas (home).
9. Georgia (5)
This here is what you call growing pains. Georgia has proven what everyone expected coming into the season: an inconsistent, young team. They pulled out a close one against Missouri, but couldn’t on Sunday. Losing a homecoming game against Vanderbilt is not a good look for Kirby Smart in his first season.
8. LSU (9)
LSU was back on the field this week after an impromptu bye week. The Tigers handled Southern Miss in Ed Orgeron’s second game. We’ll get an idea of good these revamped Bayou Bengals are, and if Orgeron has a legitimate shot at the full-time head coaching gig, over the next five weeks, with games against Ole Miss, Alabama, Arkansas, Florida and Texas A&M. For now though, hold that Tiger. Derrius Guice is doing everything he can to make fans forget about Leonard Fournette.
7. Auburn (8)
Auburn was one of four SEC teams with a bye this week. The Tigers sit at 4-2, with losses to Clemson and Texas A&M, which given how both are undefeated, don’t seem all that bad now. Auburn lost by a combined 19 points to both. Gus Malzahn’s offense ranks No. 28 in the nation, averaging 479.2 yards per game. The rushing offense is No. 10, however the passing offense ranks towards the bottom at No. 82. Auburn also ranks No. 28 in total defense.
6. Ole Miss (4)
Ole Miss is one of the more baffling teams in the country. When they’re clicking you think that there’s no way anyone can beat them. However, too many mistakes and a defense that’s just not up to the Landshark caliber has hampered Hugh Freeze and the Rebels.
5. Florida (6)
Florida put last week’s canceled game and the noise behind with a win over Missouri to move to 3-1 in SEC play. The Gators continue to struggle in certain areas, but continue to rack up the wins on the back of one of the nation’s best defenses. They’ll now have their second off week in three week’s time and will rest up to face rival Georgia in Kirby Smart’s first Cocktail Party as the Dawgs head coach.
4. Arkansas (7)
The’ve lost to only Alabama and Texas A&M, the (spoiler alert) top two teams on this list. Put Arkansas in the ACC Coastal, Big Ten West or Pac-12 South and the Razorbacks are the best team in the division. Heck, they’d be a top-three Big 12 team. Bret Bielema chose the SEC, and now he’s flying under the radar with one of the league’s best teams. What a gutsy win over Ole Miss after giving up the lead late. On a neutral field, the feeling is Tennessee barely takes it, hence why Arkansas is No. 4 this week.
3. Tennessee (3)
After Saturday’s loss to Alabama, Tennessee’s second straight defeat, Florida has the inside track to the SEC Championship Game with just one loss in conference play. Tennessee’s schedule sets up nicely the rest of the way, and Butch Jones’ team will be the better team entering all five games, but the season will be measured on if the Vols make it to the SEC title game. Despite the back-to-back losses, Tennessee is still the best team in the SEC East. Given the shellacking at Neyland, though, being the best in the East is little consolation for Vols fans at the moment.
2. Texas A&M (2)
Texas A&M had a bye this week as it prepares for the biggest SEC game of the year so far. The Aggies hit the road this next week to face off against undefeated Alabama. Texas A&M’s offense ranks No. 6 in the nation with 532.8 yards per game. However, there is a point where the Aggies are going to need to call on their defense – likely against the Crimson Tide – and that could prove troublesome. The D has been porous, allowing 437.5 yards per game. For the time being, Texas A&M is slotted behind Alabama due to the unbalance between the two sides of the ball.
1. Alabama (1)
Alabama moved its win streak over rival Tennessee into double digits, notching its 10th victory in a row against the Vols. The Crimson Tide continues to roll on both offense, with a balanced attack through the air and on the ground, defense and special teams (hello, Eddie Jackson). Count nine consecutive games where Alabama has scored a non-offensive touchdown. Nick Saban and Bama are the team to beat in the SEC and all of the land. Each victory by the Tide is more impressive than the last. Perks of The Process.