Week 5: SEC Power Poll

How TigerSportsDigest.com ranks the teams in the best league in the country

SEC Power Poll

1. LSU (4-0, 1-0):
Tigers showed some balance and versatility last week, riding steady offense and special-teams lightning to offset a bad night by the defense. There don't figure to be many games like that for the LSU defense and the offense keeps making progress, which is nice combination.
Last week: 1 (beat #16 West Virginia 47-21)
This week: vs. Kentucky

2. Alabama (4-0, 1-0): The Crimson Tide passed its first big test of the season by thumping Arkansas. Not much time to celebrate, though, as a road trip to face the Gators will put the Alabama offense to a similar trial. For a first-year starting QB like A.J. McCarron, there aren't many places tougher for a first road game.
Last week: 2 (beat #15 Arkansas 38-14)
This week: at #12 Florida

3. Florida (4-0, 2-0): The Gators have made nice SEC statements against East Division bottom dwellers the last two weeks. Alabama represents a major step up in competition this week, and staying perfect in the league will require a titantic effort.
Last week: 4 (beat Kentucky 48-10)
This week: vs. #3Alabama

4. South Carolina (4-0): Defense claimed the day for Gamecocks last week against Vanderbilt and will have to play big again this week for USC to end some frustration against AU. Big days from Stephen Garcia, Marcus Lattimore or Alshon Jeffrey sure wouldn't hurt, either.
Last week: 5 (beat Vanderbilt 21-3)
This week: vs. Auburn

5. Arkansas (3-1, 0-1): Last week's loss to the Crimson Tide exposed some defensive flaws for the Razorbacks and that was an offense that doesn't thrive on big plays. Now the Hogs have to stack up better against an Aggies' offense that can strike in a hurry.
Last week: 3 (lost to #3 Alabama 38-14)
This week: vs. #14 Texas A&M

6. Georgia (2-2, 1-1): Quietly the Bulldogs are re-establishing themselves with a lot of season left to play. Georgia will have to generate plenty of offense to keep that trend going, especially this week against State.
Last week: 7 (beat Ole Miss 27-13)
This week: vs. Mississippi State

7.Auburn (3-1, 1-0): The Tigers continue to be awfully tricky to figure out, in large part because their defense hasn't made a bunch of progress. That possibility doesn't loom as real promising this week against the Gamecocks.
Last week: 6 (beat FAU 30-14)
This week: at #10 South Carolina

8. Mississippi State (2-2, 0-2): After a near major stumble against Louisiana Tech, MSU is on the verge of a season unraveling if it's not careful. Maybe going on the road to Georgia will be a remedy, but the State defense will have to tighten up.
Last week: 8 (beat Louisiana Tech 26-20 in OT)
This week: at Georgia

9. Vanderbilt (3-1, 0-1): Any other year, a competitive loss to one of the SEC's top teams might be a moral victory for the Commodores. Not so this season, so this week off could be a long stretch for Vandy to stew about its first loss of the season.
Last week: 9 (lost to #12 South Carolina 21-3)
This week: IDLE

10. Tennessee (2-1, 0-1): If the Volunteers are going to make this a season of notable progress, games like this week can't be left up to chance. UT needs to blow out the Bulls and get ready for a rugged stretch of games the rest of the month.
Last week: 10 (IDLE)
This week: vs. Buffalo

11. Kentucky (2-2, 0-1): Offense needed to be the Wildcats' major strength this season in order for them to be respectable. They come to Baton Rouge averaging 280.8 yards and 17 points a game – 10th and 12th in the SEC, respectively.
Last week: 11 (lost to #15 Florida 48-10)
This week: at #1 LSU

12. Ole Miss (1-3, 0-2): Normally, any chance to go to California to step outside of the SEC would be a nice break before after four weeks of an early-season grind. For Ole Miss, a trip to the West Coast doesn't exactly fall into that category. The Rebels face Fresno State ranked last in the league in total offense (236.5 yards a game) and 11th in total defense (399.5 ypg).
Last week: 12 (lost to Georgia 27-13)
This week: vs. Fresno State

This week's schedule

Kentucky at LSU, 11:21 a.m. (SEC Network)
Texas A&M vs. Arkansas (Arlington, Texas), 11 a.m. (ESPN)
Mississippi State at Georgia, 11 a.m. (FSN/ESPN3)
Buffalo at Tennessee, 11:30 a.m. (CSS/ESPN3)
Auburn at South Carolina, 2:30 p.m. (CBS)
Alabama at Florida, 7 p.m., (CBS)
Ole Miss at Fresno State, 7:15 p.m. (ESPN2/ESPN3)

Game of the week
Alabama at Florida:
Another intriguing pupil-teacher matchup is on the docket in the SEC as Florida's Will Muschamp gets his first crack at Nick Saban in an early showdown of division favorites. Alabama has won five of the last seven games against the Gators, including a 31-6 blowout in Tuscaloosa last season. Until this week, the last three games between the Crimson Tide and Florida have involved a No. 1 team. … Should current No. 1 LSU handle Kentucky this week, Florida will meet top-three foes in back-to-back weeks during the regular season for the first time in program history. … The Tide's vaunted defense (first in the SEC in rush defense, pass defense, total defense and scoring defense) faces one of the league's best offenses for a second week in a row. The Gators enter the game leading the SEC in rushing offense (259 yards a game) and total offense (461.8 yards an outing). Alabama faced a similar challenge last week and limited Arkansas to a season-low 226 total yards, only 17 of those on the ground. … Florida rushed for 405 yards last week against Kentucky, more than twice as many as the Tide has allowed this season (183 yards). Three of the league's top eight rushers are involved in this game: Alabama's Trent Richardson ranks second with 441 yards, Florida's Chris Rainey is fourth with 411 and Gators' senior Jeff Demps is No. 8 with 320.

Around the SEC
Auburn and South Carolina meet for the third time in 12 months and the Gamecocks are looking for their first victory against the Tigers since 1933. USC has lost all six meetings with AU since joining the SEC and has never beaten the Tigers in Columbia. … Last season Auburn rolled up 91 points in two wins, including a 56-17 romp in the SEC Championship Game. … Carolina is off to a 4-0 start under Steve Spurrier for the first time and is coming off one of the most dominant defensive performances in program history. The Gamecocks limited Vanderbilt to 77 yards and five first downs and surrendered only two drives that lasted longer than four plays. …USC has scored 146 points this season but only seven in the first quarter. … Auburn QBs have not thrown an interceptions against South Carolina since 1997, which covers 105 attempts. The Gamecocks have also managed only two rushing TDs vs. Auburn since 1996. … Carolina and AU rank 11th and 12th in the SEC in scoring defense, allowing 25.8 and 31 points a game, respectively. … Arkansas is seeking a third straight victory over Texas A&M, which would the Razorbacks' longest against the Aggies since they won five straight from 1977-82. … Arkansas' defense has limited foes to one rushing TD this season and has forced opponents into 15 three-and-outs in 52 offensive possessions. … The Hogs lead the SEC with 98 first downs and 58 passing first downs. They have also thrown more passes (150) and completed more throws (101) than any team in the league. … Texas A&M hasn't beaten an SEC foe since 1995 when it downed LSU 33-17 in College Station. … The Aggies are playing a ranked opponent for the seventh time in 13 games. … A&M turned the ball over four times last week (six in the last two games) and gave up six plays of 20 yards or longer to Oklahoma State. … Mississippi State beat Georgia last season for the first time since 1974, 24-12. This is just MSU's third trip to Athens since the SEC expanded in 1992. State has lost its last eight games at Sanford Stadium dating back to 1956. … UGa freshman Isaiah Crowell carried the ball 30 times last week for 147 yards against Ole Miss. … State's offense has generated only 533 total yards in the last two weeks after gashing Auburn for 531 in a 41-34 loss on Sept. 10.

League-wide SEC Power Poll

1. LSU (4-0, 1-0) 142 points (10 first-place votes), 2. Alabama (4-0, 1-0) 134  (2), 3. South Carolina (4-0, 2-0)  114, 4. Florida (4-0, 2-0) 109, 5. Arkansas (3-1, 0-1)  101, 6. Georgia (2-2, 1-1)  75, 7. Auburn (3-1, 1-0) 67, 8. Tennessee (2-1, 0-1) 65, 9. Mississippi State (2-2, 0-2) 56, 10. Vanderbilt (3-1, 1-1) 37, 11. Kentucky (2-2, 0-1) 22, 12. Ole Miss (1-3, 0-2) 14


Andy Bitter, Columbus (Ga.) Ledger-Enquirer, Seth Emerson, Macon (Ga.) Telegraph, Rachel George, Orlando Sentinel, Andrew Gribble, Knoxville News-Sentinel, Mike Herndon, Mobile Press-Register, Hugh Kellenberger, Jackson Clarion-Ledger, Josh Kendall, The (Columbia, S.C.) State,Jeff Lockridge, Nashville Tennesean, Brandon Marcello, Jackson Clarion-Ledger, Thomas Murphy, Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, Kyle Tucker, Louisville Courier-Journal, Randy Rosetta, TigerSportsDigest.com

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