Like Doug Gillett, I am a voter both in the BlogPoll and in Garnet and Black Attack’s S.E.C. Power Poll. Unlike Doug, I lack the ruthless efficiency to cast both ballots in one fell swoop. Accordingly, here is my . . .
1. Georgia: You were expecting someone else?
2. Florida: While the Gators’ win over Hawaii was a mite less impressive than the final score made it look, U.F. still looks like the chief challenger for Bulldog supremacy in the Eastern Division, if not the league as a whole.
3. Louisiana State: The top three programs in the S.E.C. in the 21st century remain the top three teams in the S.E.C. this week, as the Bayou Bengals looked tougher than I expected in their opening game.
4. Auburn: The Plainsmen lacked their anticipated punch offensively, which caused them to drop slightly, but the Tigers remain scary.
5. Alabama: The Crimson Tide are No. 5 with a bullet. If Nick Saban’s squad handles its post-Clemson success by cruising smoothly to an easy victory over Tulane, the Red Elephants could move up a notch or two.
6. Tennessee: The gap between fifth and sixth on my ballot is huge and the only reason the Volunteers didn’t fall farther is the weakness of the teams below them. No excuses: U.T. just plain got beat on Monday night, and I don’t want to hear cross-country travel used as an excuse. Southern California and Fresno State managed to make transcontinental treks without losing a step.
7. Ole Miss: Beating Memphis only counts for so much, but, when the Rebels posted a victory by a convincing margin over an out-of-conference rival from whom Mississippi regularly gets a good game, they earned a spot on the cusp of the top six.
8. Vanderbilt: The Commodores went on the road and beat a M.A.C. team handily. It ain’t much, but it’s something.
9. Kentucky: The Wildcats appeared, at best, only intermittently other than awful against an opponent that looked utterly horrible in a contest confirming Louisville’s complete fall off of the college football map. The final score is a testament not to U.K.’s competence but to U. of L.’s absolute lack thereof.
10. South Carolina: The Gamecocks struggled mightily for more than a half before a tired, whipped N.C. State defense gave up and allowed the East Coast U.S.C. to tack on additional points and make the final margin look more lopsided than it was.
11. Arkansas: Bobby Petrino’s inaugural outing as the head man in Fayetteville only narrowly avoided an awkward veer into Texas A&M territory. Where have you gone, Houston Nutt? Hog Nation turns its lonely eyes to you, woo woo woo. . . .
12. Mississippi State: Sylvester Croom, you have just been Dooleyed.
That, in a nutshell, is how it looks from where I sit. Feel free to take issue with any or all of the foregoing in the comments below.