It is time once again to cast my ballot in the SEC Power Poll, and yesterday’s action left matters in a great big muddle. When in doubt, I used head-to-head as the tiebreaker, but, in a week in which there was a new No. 1 and a new No. 12, the rankings were bound to be a little jumbled. This was the best I could do:
1. Auburn Tigers (6-0): Obviously, the top spot had to be taken over by one of the two 6-0 teams, both of whom have had to survive a quartet of nailbiters to reach the halfway point with an unblemished ledger. I gave the nod to the Plainsmen because their best win (over South Carolina) is more valuable than the Bayou Bengals’ best win (over Florida). No, I can’t believe I just typed that sentence, either.
2. LSU Tigers (6-0): This is the squirrelliest 6-0 team you ever saw. Les Miles is the Cosmo Kramer of coaches, falling bass-ackwards into victories without rhyme or reason.
3. South Carolina Gamecocks (4-1): Saturday’s victory over Alabama was the biggest win in Gamecock history. Of course, this is a program with one ten-win season and the 1969 ACC championship to its credit, where a 17-7 run with bowl wins over Ohio State is considered the "glory years," but, still, a victory over the No. 1 team in the country is a victory over the No. 1 team in the country.
4. Alabama Crimson Tide (5-1): With the game on the line in Columbia, Steve Spurrier went for it on fourth down and Nick Saban punted. The coach who played to win, did; the coach who didn’t, didn’t. The Armani Bear got outcoached by the Evil Genius. That fact stings the defending national champions even more than the loss.
5. Arkansas Razorbacks (4-1): The Hogs took care of once and future conference rival Texas A&M, but they’re still the fourth-best team in a loaded Western Division. Woo pig sorry, but it’s true.
6. Florida Gators (4-2): This is all part of Urban Meyer’s ingenious plan to ensure that, this year, he won’t have to be taken to the emergency room after losing the SEC Championship Game.
7. Mississippi St. Bulldogs (4-2): I am able to assert with a straight face that there are five teams in the SEC inferior to Mississippi State. That is the second-strangest idea I’ve been asked to wrap my brain around this weekend.
8. Vanderbilt Commodores (2-3): The fact that I am able to assert with a straight face that there are four teams in the SEC inferior to Vanderbilt? Yep, that’s the strangest.
9. Mississippi Rebels (3-2): Ole Miss has gone a long way toward righting the ship after a terrible start, but the losses to Division I-AA Jacksonville State and Vandy, coupled with the recent release of the Rebs’ atrocious sideline mascot choices, kept Mississippi from rising above No. 9.
10. Georgia Bulldogs (2-4): No. 10 with a bullet, baby!
11. Kentucky Wildcats (3-3): The Blue and White avoided the cellar by playing Auburn tough. Since I gave the Tigers the nod over the Tigers (you know what I mean), I figured I had to rank the team with the quality loss to Auburn above the team with the quality loss to Louisiana State.
12. Tennessee Volunteers (2-4): I hated to do this to the Big Orange, but, dudes, you just lost to Georgia!
That’s how it looks to me, but I’m still basking in the glow of yesterday’s victory, so what do I know? Feel free to correct me in the comments below.