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In the second century B.C., Roman family names were inspired by agriculture, and, according to Mark Kurlansky’s Salt: A World History, Cato was such a fan of ham that he became known as "Marcus Porcius." Cato’s De Agricultura, which is the oldest extant complete work of Latin prose, goes into great detail about the process for curing legs of pork. Judging by the way John L. Smith’s Hogs have been playing, Cato is a popular author among the Razorbacks’ opposing coaches. Here is how I have ranked Arkansas and the other 13 conference clubs in this week’s SEC Power Poll:
1. Alabama Crimson Tide (4-0 overall, 1-0 SEC): ‘Bama has beaten Western Kentucky, Arkansas, and Florida Atlantic by a combined 127-7 margin. I know it’s just three straight wins over Sun Belt teams, but dang!
2. LSU Tigers (4-0, 1-0): I have the feeling that the Bayou Bengals just got this season’s one bad game out of their systems, and Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche is very clear about what that means for Louisiana State’s SEC Power Poll ranking.
3. South Carolina Gamecocks (4-0, 2-0): Irate Bulldog fans keep asking me, “When are you going to rank Georgia ahead of South Carolina?” My answer is simple: “On October 7, I hope.”
4. Georgia Bulldogs (4-0, 2-0): A muffed extra point prevented the Red and Black from beating Vanderbilt by the largest margin in series history. Yes, I am irritated by that fact out of all proportion to its actual significance.
5. Florida Gators (4-0, 3-0): Big deal. Ron Zook never lost to Kentucky, either, y’know.
6. Mississippi St. Bulldogs (4-0, 1-0): I still can’t shake the feeling that Dan Mullen’s team is meh-and-oh.
7. Tennessee Volunteers (3-1, 0-1): Please please please please please please please please please let this mean the Vols are going to fire Derek Dooley and hire Terry Bowden!
8. Texas A&M Aggies (2-1, 0-1): Whoa! Texas A&M hung 70 on South Carolina?!?! Oh, wait; that’s South Carolina State. Still, though.
9. Missouri Tigers (2-2, 0-2): We appreciate the way y’all are trying to be hospitable, really, but politesse doesn’t requite you to lose every conference game by three touchdowns.
10. Mississippi Rebels (3-1, 0-0): How did Ole Miss get to be 3-1 overall? Oh, yeah, right: by being 0-0 in SEC play.
11. Auburn Tigers (1-3, 0-2): If the cheatingest program in SEC history falls just short of notching an upset, does it qualify as an “immoral victory”?
12. Vanderbilt Commodores (1-3, 0-2): Technically, thanks to conference expansion, continuing to keep the Commies entrenched as the twelfth-best team in the league counts as a cultural change.
13. Kentucky Wildcats (1-3, 0-1): If we convert football points to basketball points, we find that a 38-0 loss on the gridiron is equivalent to this on the hardwood.
14. Arkansas Razorbacks (1-3, 0-1): When a nine-point loss to Rutgers represents your third most embarrassing home loss of the season, and there’s still one weekend left to go in September, you’re at the bottom of the barrel.
As with my previously published BlogPoll ballot, I am open to constructive criticisms, which you may feel free to offer in the comments below. On a more personal note, it’s good to be back.