Ere I dive headlong into the bizarre business of trying to cobble together a top 25 out of the rubble of an upset-riddled Saturday, I will attempt the comparatively simple task of ranking the twelve teams of the Southeastern Conference in order from best to worst. Bear in mind that this is a power poll, so, while won-lost records and head-to-head results obviously are important, it also matters which team I believe would win next Saturday. Here they are:
1. Auburn Tigers (7-0): Defense wins championships. Scoring 65 points wins games.
2. LSU Tigers (7-0): I didn’t follow the McNeese State game. How many fourth-down fumblerooskies did Les Miles attempt from his own five yard line?
3. Alabama Crimson Tide (6-1): This team is a shadow of its former self. However, that former self was so inconceivably good that even its shadow ranks in the top three in the SEC.
4. Mississippi St. Bulldogs (5-2): Dan Mullen may have just become the second MSU coach to doom a Florida skipper, but he definitely just became the first to make himself the frontrunner to get the job he just moved a step closer to becoming vacant.
5. South Carolina Gamecocks (4-2): The good news for the Palmetto State Poultry is that they’re still in first place in the East. The bad news is that, this year, that isn’t good enough to make them one of the four best teams in the SEC.
6. Arkansas Razorbacks (4-2): I’ll admit I got a little confused during all that conference expansion talk this summer, but did the Hogs move to the WAC while I wasn’t paying attention?
7. Kentucky Wildcats (4-3): Great win, guys, but there’s only so glad you ought to be to be 1-3 in SEC play.
8. Georgia Bulldogs (3-4): Send us your tired, your poor, your huddled masses, your 2-3 teams yearning to have 40+ points hung on them between the hedges!
9. Florida Gators (4-3): From the sound of the message boards, Urban Meyer’s daughter may get her daddy back, after all!
10. Mississippi Rebels (3-3): I guess that’s the difference between a program where the bear is a sophomore on the sideline in a silly costume and a program where the Bear was a legend on the sideline in a houndstooth hat.
11. Tennessee Volunteers (2-4): It’s gotten to the point that the best way to make yourself look good in the SEC East is to take the weekend off.
12. Vanderbilt Commodores (2-4): Now may be a good time to consider petitioning for membership in the Mid-American Conference.
I really wrested with whether to rank Ole Miss ahead of the Sunshine State Saurians, because, well, the Rebels are from Mississippi, which appears to be the anti-Florida. (Actually, I’ve been to Mississippi, and I’ve been to Florida, and Mississippi is the anti-Florida, but what I mean is that the Magnolia State seems to be where all the Gator-weakening orange kryptonite landed when Kal-El’s rocket touched down in Kansas.) Otherwise, though, I feel pretty comfortable with that ballot, albeit with the fervent hope that I will be able to move the Red and Black in front of the Blue and White a week from now!