My trek home from Oklahoma this morning began at 4:30 a.m. central time, so I am a bit worn down and the Dawg Sports community has done an admirable job of continuing the conversation in my absence, so I will not keep you long this evening. It would be remiss of me, though, not to echo the sentiments of several conscientious commenters and send my best wishes to Trinton Sturdivant after he was lost to injury for the second straight season. Feel better soon, big guy.
The time has come to begin compiling my various ballots for the week, starting with the autumn’s inaugural SEC Power Poll. Please note that this is a power poll, and, as such, it can (and will) diverge from my BlogPoll ballot. Please also note that, at this juncture, it’s hard to tell what’s what and who’s who, given the suspect nature of the opposition most SEC teams have faced. If you think you’ve spotted an inconsistency, you probably have.
That said, here is where the Southeastern Conference’s twelve member institutions stand at the present moment:
1. Alabama Crimson Tide: No team in the league looked better against a tougher opponent than the Red Elephants, led by Brodie Parker McElroy. (I know that’s not his name, but it might as well be.) It was a slugfest, as expected, but ‘Bama closed the deal.
2. Florida Gators: Admittedly, the Sunshine State Saurians didn’t cover the astronomical spread, but they otherwise did what they were expected to do against an embarrassingly overmatched team.
3. Mississippi Rebels: Although Ole Miss took a little while to get going, the Rebs went on the road to tangle with a Memphis outfit that ordinarily gives them fits and came out with a comfortable win.
4. South Carolina Gamecocks: The Palmetto State Poultry fielded an anemic offense but a stout defense. The contestants’ aversion to scoring in last Thursday’s contest should not obscure the fact that the Big Chickens once again look solid on the side of the ball that wins championships . . . well, at programs other than theirs, at any rate.
5. Tennessee Volunteers: I hate rewarding the fact that Big Orange starter Jonathan Crompton was still in the game in the fourth quarter after the home team had built up a 42-7 lead, especially since you know, I know, and the American people know that Lane Kiffin only did that to build up the reserve of goodwill upon which he will have to draw after the Gators grind the Vols into a fine orange powder. Nevertheless, Western Kentucky is a Division I-A outfit, however marginally, so Tennessee has to get credit. Dang it.
6. LSU Tigers: The Bayou Bengals really had no business being tied with the Washington Huskies inside the final two minutes of the opening half, but the game was on the road against a Pac-10 team. The fact that Louisiana State could be ranked in the top half of the league after trailing in total yards (478-321) and in first downs (25-17) attests to the weakness of the opposition the SEC encountered on opening weekend.
7. Auburn Tigers: Like the Western Division’s other set of Tigers, the Plainsmen were snarled 10-10 late in the second quarter, but Auburn managed to pull away in the end from a Louisiana Tech outfit that upset another SEC bottom-feeder last year.
8. Kentucky Wildcats: A 42-0 win over a MAC team is still a 42-0 win. It’s better than the sad sacks the next three clowns beat, at any rate.
9. Vanderbilt Commodores: The goose egg landed Vandy ahead of the next couple of teams. The Division I-AA opponent dropped the ‘Dores behind Kentucky.
10. Arkansas Razorbacks: Because the Hogs gave up ten points, they couldn’t overcome the Commies, but I’m thinking Missouri State tops Jackson State.
11. Mississippi St. Bulldogs: MSU beat Jackson State. If you think I can’t very well justify torpedoing the other teams that played Division I-AA opposition while rewarding the Gators, I’m going to fall back on the faith that Florida is just plain better than Arkansas and Mississippi State. Does anyone want to quarrel with that contention?
12. Georgia: Eleven SEC teams are 1-0. One SEC team is 0-1. That team finishes last, since there is no credible strength of schedule assessment to be performed at this juncture.
That’s how it looks to me, but your mileage may vary. Please feel free to let me know where and how much in the comments below. The draft of my BlogPoll ballot should be coming your way tomorrow.