Now that Mark Richt’s team appears to be doing something other than circling the drain, it is no longer a chore to fill out my SEC Power Poll ballot, in which I attempt to rank the twelve Southeastern Conference clubs in order from best to worst. Here is how the league breaks down eight weeks into the autumn:
1. Auburn Tigers (8-0): Cameron Newton has carried the Plainsmen to the top the same way Dennis Dixon carried the Oregon Ducks to the top. No, that isn’t a backhanded way of saying I hope he suffers a season-ending injury that derails his team’s prospects, although it wouldn’t hurt my feelings if he developed a 24-hour stomach bug on the evening of November 12.
2. Alabama Crimson Tide (7-1): If the rest of the season holds true to form, this year’s Iron Bowl should be an even more low-key fraternal affair than usual. That’s a joke, folks.
3. LSU Tigers (7-1): Well, for one Saturday, at least, it was better to be good than lucky!
4. Mississippi St. Bulldogs (6-2): At least Dan Mullen’s club didn’t need overtime to get by UAB.
5. South Carolina Gamecocks (5-2): Those of us who said the Palmetto State Poultry would win the SEC East when pigs flew and Hell froze over were wrong. Those of us who said South Carolina would win the SEC East when no team in the division had achieved bowl-eligibility eight weeks into the season were right on the money, however.
6. Arkansas Razorbacks (5-2): When a game in which the two head coaches are Houston Nutt and Bobby Petrino is interrupted twice by lightning strikes, that’s a pretty good indication that Coach Petrino is in for a good Old Testament smiting after the way he left the Falcons in the lurch or that Coach Nutt is getting ready to power the flux capacitor of his time-traveling DeLorean to make certain that Darren McFadden’s parents meet one another as planned. It could go either way, really.
7. Florida Gators (4-3): A power poll is premised on the idea that a higher-ranked team would beat a lower-ranked team on a neutral field next Saturday. If you think I’m going to invite doom by displaying the hubris to rank the Classic City Canines ahead of the Sunshine State Saurians six days prior to the World’s Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party, you’re crazy.
8. Georgia Bulldogs (4-4): This looks like the best .500 club in America right now.
9. Kentucky Wildcats (4-4): Saturday night’s 44-31 score against Georgia could have been worse. It could have been the halftime score of a game against Mark Fox’s basketball team.
10. Mississippi Rebels (3-4): Colonel Reb just sent Ole Miss a thank-you note expressing his gratitude for the administration’s kindness in not forcing him to be associated with this team any longer.
11. Vanderbilt Commodores (2-5): Robbie Caldwell’s previous experience on the turkey insemination crew prepared him well for being the Commodores’ head football coach; the only difference is that, at Vanderbilt, you end up being the turkey more Saturdays than not.
12. Tennessee Volunteers (2-5): If Derek Dooley could work out a deal with Joker Phillips to let the Vols play the first half and be replaced by the ‘Cats for the second half, this might be a pretty good football team. At the moment, though, Tennessee is the last SEC squad without a conference win.
That’s how the league shakes out from my perspective, but, as always, your mileage may vary. Feel free to correct any errors in the comments below.