You’ve seen my BlogPoll ballot draft, so now it’s time for you to take a look at my SEC Power Poll rankings. Please bear in mind that this is a power poll, which places weight on who-would-beat-whom-next-Saturday calculations and not just on strict resume calculations (although who has actually beaten whom has quite a lot to do with my estimation of who would beat whom). Here is how the league looks at the present moment:
1. Florida Gators (7-0): While the Sunshine State Saurians were less than impressive against Mississippi State, they overcame offensive miscues to widen their lead in the fourth quarter and post a respectable ten-point victory in a venue in which Florida often has struggled.
2. Alabama Crimson Tide (8-0): When you’re up by six points after three quarters at home, you may not want to give up a fumble, a touchdown, and an onside kick recovery to a team that’s beaten one BCS conference opponent in the first half of the season.
3. LSU Tigers (6-1): Now that was the Louisiana State I’ve been waiting all fall to see! There’s no time I’d rather see an SEC team put it all together than when that squad is taking on Auburn. (I hate Auburn.)
4. South Carolina Gamecocks (6-2): The Palmetto State Poultry aren’t making things easy on themselves, but they are winning. How weird is it to think that Gamecock fans may look back on their club’s 2009 game with Georgia the way we Bulldog fans look back on our team’s 2007 game with South Carolina?
5. Mississippi Rebels (5-2): Now that was the Ole Miss I’ve been waiting all fall to see! It’s beginning to look like Arkansas may be for Houston Nutt during his stay in Oxford what Texas was for Houston Nutt during his stay in Fayetteville; namely, the opponent against which his team’s wins are as frequent as they are inexplicable.
6. Auburn Tigers (5-3): The offense that was the biggest surprise of the first few weeks of the season was shut out in the first half in Baton Rouge and did not find the end zone until after the Bayou Bengals had built up a 31-3 lead. Attention, West Coast defenders of innovative Auburn offensive coordinators: defense wins championships.
7. The rich man’s South Carolina Gamecocks: Fine. The Volunteers are better than Kentucky. Are you people happy now?
8. Georgia Bulldogs (4-3): Without question, the last two weeks have been the best back-to-back Saturdays of the last season and a half for the Red and Black. Unfortunately, the ‘Dawgs achieved that dubious distinction against Vanderbilt and during an open date.
9. Kentucky Wildcats (4-3): All right, so you clobbered a Sun Belt frontrunner. You’re still a basketball school. Admit it . . . you don’t even think that’s an insult, do you?
10. Mississippi St. Bulldogs (3-5): Dan Mullen has put together the best 3-5 team in America. That always sounds like a much better compliment in my head than it looks like it is when I write it down. . . .
11. Arkansas Razorbacks (3-4): I’m picturing Bobby Petrino giving the "lollygaggers" speech from "Bull Durham" to his Hogs while shaking his head and asking, "How’d we ever win three?" Go ahead, conjure that image up in your mind. You’ll be surprised just how well it works.
12. Vanderbilt Commodores (2-6): Vanderbilt is the Vanderbilt of the SEC.
As always, I remain open to your constructive criticisms, and I’ll be back tomorrow with the week’s first installment of "Don’t Bet On It!"