By Steven Lassan (@AthlonSteven on Twitter)
Post-Week 4 SEC Power Rankings
Check out all of our college football rankings.
1. Alabama (4-0) – If Alabama and LSU continue to play like it has through the first four weeks of the season, both teams should enter the Nov. 5 matchup undefeated. The Crimson Tide easily handled Arkansas on Saturday, defeating the Razorbacks 38-14. Alabama’s defense turned in a top-notch effort, holding Arkansas to only 226 total yards on offense. AJ McCarron seems to have wrestled control of the No. 1 quarterback spot, completing 15 of 20 throws for 200 yards against the Razorbacks. The Crimson Tide travel to Gainesville to take on Florida this Saturday.
2. LSU (4-0) – The gap between LSU and Alabama is virtually zero. The Crimson Tide is ranked No. 1 in Athlon’s weekly 120 rankings, while LSU is No. 2. The Tigers gave up 463 passing yards to West Virginia quarterback Geno Smith, but forced four turnovers and never allowed the Mountaineers to establish a rushing attack. LSU should have no trouble moving to 5-0, as they host Kentucky this Saturday.
3. Florida (4-0) – The competition steps up this week against Alabama, but so far, the Gators have looked like the best team in the SEC East. The defense has suffocated opponents, allowing only 231.8 yards and nine points per game. Quarterback John Brantley hasn’t been flashy, but has 752 passing yards through four weeks and looks very comfortable in the new offense. Florida will be looking to snap a two-game losing streak to the Crimson Tide on Saturday night.
4. Arkansas (3-1) – The Razorbacks’ high-powered offense never found its rhythm in Saturday’s loss to Alabama. Quarterback Tyler Wilson completed 22 of 35 passes for 185 yards and two scores, but the rushing attack managed only 17 net yards. Arkansas’ defense also suffered a couple of key injuries, including end Tenarius Wright, cornerback Isaac Madison and safety Tramain Thomas. Arkansas takes on future SEC rival Texas A&M this Saturday in Arlington.
5. South Carolina (4-0) – Quarterback play is going to drive coach Steve Spurrier crazy all year. Stephen Garcia had an awful performance against Vanderbilt on Saturday, throwing four interceptions on 30 attempts. With the question marks about quarterback play, running back Marcus Lattimore will have to carry this team to the SEC East title. The Gamecocks host Auburn and Kentucky in their next two matchups, before a three-game road stretch – at Mississippi State, Tennessee and Arkansas.
6. Auburn (3-1) – It was a rather pedestrian performance, but the Tigers defeated FAU 30-14 on Saturday night. The Owls are one of the worst teams in the FBS, so it was a surprise Auburn only won by 16 points. Running back Michael Dyer managed only 68 yards on 14 attempts, while quarterback Barrett Trotter threw for 178 yards and two scores. The Tigers are about to embark on a very difficult four-game stretch – South Carolina, Arkansas, Florida and LSU – that could define their season.
7. Mississippi State (2-2) – Saturday’s game against Louisiana Tech was expected to be an easy victory for Mississippi State. However, Louisiana Tech pushed Mississippi State into overtime, but was unable to push for the upset. Quarterback Chris Relf has struggled in his last two games, throwing for only 260 yards and one touchdown. Getting Relf and running back Vick Ballard on track will be two keys to watch in Saturday’s game against Georgia.
8. Georgia (2-2) – Don’t write the Bulldogs off in the SEC race just yet. Georgia got off to an 0-2 start, but has rebounded with wins over Coastal Carolina and Ole Miss to even the record at 2-2. The next four games will decide whether this team is a factor in the conference title race or if the pressure continues to build on coach Mark Richt. The Bulldogs host Mississippi State this Saturday, before road trips against Tennessee and Vanderbilt. If Georgia can get by its next three games, the Oct. 29 showdown against Florida will have a huge impact on the SEC East title race.
9. Tennessee (2-1) – The Volunteers had their only bye week of the season on Saturday. Tennessee will host Buffalo in a non-conference matchup this week, in a game the Volunteers should have no trouble winning. The Bulls are improved from last season, but should still pose little threat to Tennessee. Expect quarterback Tyler Bray to have another big game on Saturday night.
10. Vanderbilt (3-1) – Finding an offense was a challenge for Vanderbilt last season and so far, it appears the Commodores have found few answers. Vanderbilt had opportunities against South Carolina, but was unable to take advantage of four turnovers. The Commodores have a bye week to find some answers on offense, before traveling to Tuscaloosa to play Alabama on Oct. 8.
11. Kentucky (2-2) – The Wildcats kicked off a difficult three-game stretch with a 48-10 loss to Florida. Once again, Kentucky’s offense was non-existent. Quarterback Morgan Newton had another so-so performance, completing 16 of 33 throws for 124 yards and two picks. The Wildcats also turned the ball over four times. Kentucky begins a two-game road trip with a date in Baton Rouge against LSU this Saturday. If the Wildcats want to make a bowl, finding some offense over the next couple of games will be critical.
12. Ole Miss (1-3) – The Rebels pulled out a few tricks in an effort to upset Georgia, but it wasn’t enough. The Bulldogs easily took care of the Rebels, winning 27-13 to drop Ole Miss to 1-3. For a team desperate for a victory, the schedule isn’t easy over the next three weeks. The Rebels travel to Fresno State this week and take on Alabama and Arkansas in conference matchups. Coach Houston Nutt is on the hot seat and a loss against Fresno State may not be the final nail in the coffin, but it’s certainly going to add even more pressure on him to produce.