By Steven Lassan (@AthlonSteven on Twitter)
Post-Week 5 SEC Power Rankings
Check out all of our college football rankings.
1. Alabama (5-0) – The Crimson Tide remain No. 1 in the power rankings after an impressive showing in the Swamp on Saturday night. The Alabama defense allowed a touchdown on the first play of the game, but put the clamps on the Florida offense the rest of the night. The Crimson Tide offense was powered by running back Trent Richardson, who rushed for 181 yards and two scores against a solid Gators’ defense. Barring an upset, Alabama should be 8-0 before a Nov. 5 date against LSU.
2. LSU (5-0) – The Tigers moved to 5-0 with an easy 35-7 win over Kentucky on Saturday. LSU held the Wildcats to 155 yards and scored on a fumble return by cornerback Tyrann Mathieu. Saturday’s game also saw the return of quarterback Jordan Jefferson. The senior had been suspended for his role in an off-the-field incident before the season opener and lost his starting job to Jarrett Lee. LSU hosts Florida this Saturday.
3. Arkansas (4-1) – It was a tale to two halves in Saturday’s win over Texas A&M. The Razorbacks were down 35-17 at halftime, but rallied for a 42-38 victory over future SEC foe Texas A&M. Quarterback Tyler Wilson threw for 510 yards and three scores, with Jarius Wright as his No. 1 target, catching 13 passes for 281 yards and two scores. The Razorbacks have experienced a rash of injuries on defense the last two weeks, and it’s uncertain if they will be at full strength for Saturday’s game against Auburn.
4. Auburn (4-1) – The Tigers entered Saturday’s game against South Carolina ranked as the SEC’s worst in total, scoring, rush and pass defense. Surprisingly, the Tigers held the Gamecocks to only 13 points and limited running back Marcus Lattimore to 66 yards. Auburn has lived on the edge all season, but continues to find ways to win games. The Tigers’ defense will be under fire once again this Saturday, as they travel to Fayetteville to take on a high-powered Arkansas offense.
5. Florida (4-1) – Things started out well for the Gators on Saturday night. Quarterback John Brantley found receiver Andre Debose for a 65-yard scoring toss on the opening play, but not much went right for Florida the rest of the evening. The Gators were shutout the final three quarters and lost Brantley to an ankle injury late in the first half. Florida doesn’t have much time to lick its wounds, especially with road dates at LSU and Auburn the next two weeks.
6. South Carolina (4-1) – The most surprising score from Week 5 action in the SEC had to be South Carolina’s loss against Auburn. The Gamecocks entered as big favorites, but struggled to get on track on offense. Quarterback Stephen Garcia completed 9 of 23 throws for 160 yards and two picks, while running back Marcus Lattimore was held to 66 yards and a touchdown. Considering Auburn’s defense entered the game as one of the worst in the SEC, it was a major surprise to see Lattimore struggle to find running room. The Gamecocks still have SEC East title hopes, but have to find some answers before the season slips away. South Carolina hosts Kentucky this Saturday.
7. Georgia (3-2) – With South Carolina’s loss to Auburn and the injury to Florida quarterback John Brantley, the Bulldogs continue to creep back into the picture for the SEC East title. Even though Georgia started 0-2, the schedule is favorable and the pieces appear to be falling into place on offense. Freshman running back Isaiah Crowell has posted back-to-back 100-yard performances and is just over halfway to 1,000 on the season. The Bulldogs head to Knoxville for a key SEC East matchup this Saturday.
8. Tennessee (3-1) – The Volunteers easily moved to 3-1 with a 41-10 rout over Buffalo. Quarterback Tyler Bray threw for 342 yards and four scores, while running back Tauren Poole rushed for 101 yards on 17 attempts. Tennessee’s passing attack should still remain one of the best in the SEC, even with receiver Justin Hunter sidelined for the rest of the year. If the Volunteers want to remain a contender in the SEC race, a win over Georgia on Saturday is a must.
9. Mississippi State (2-3) – The Bulldogs have lost three out of their last four games. There’s no shame in losing to Auburn, LSU and Georgia, but if Mississippi State wants to emerge as a contender in the SEC West, it has to win a couple of those contests. The Bulldogs still need four wins to get bowl eligible, but even with games against South Carolina, Alabama and Arkansas, should find a way to get to six wins.
10. Vanderbilt (3-1) – The Commodores had a bye on Saturday and return to action to face Alabama this week. Vanderbilt has not played in Tuscaloosa since 2006. The Commodores face an uphill battle to defeat the Crimson Tide, especially with an offense that is averaging only 258 yards a game.
11. Ole Miss (2-3) – Coach Houston Nutt is squarely on the hot seat after five weeks, but Saturday’s win over Fresno State should help quiet some of the calls for his job. The Rebels seem to have settled on quarterback Randall Mackey as the starter, after he completed 8 of 18 passes for 214 yards and one touchdown against the Bulldogs. Ole Miss is off this Saturday, before returning to SEC play on Oct. 15 against Alabama.
12. Kentucky (2-3) – After dropping their third game in a row, the Wildcats remain at the bottom of the SEC power rankings. Kentucky’s offense continued to sputter against one of the nation’s best defenses (LSU), mustering only 155 yards and seven points. Quarterback Morgan Newton has thrown for 647 yards, but has struggled with his decision making with six interceptions. The coaching staff did not rule out getting true freshman Bookie Cobbins a look under center this week. The Wildcats are at South Carolina this Saturday, before a bye and a date with Jacksonville State on Oct. 22.