Week Three of the 2013 college football season provided SEC fans with by far the most exciting action yet.
The relentlessly-promoted showdown between Alabama and Texas A&M turned out to be everything college football fans hoped it would be. When the guns stopped blazing, and the dust finally settled on this Texas shootout, the top-ranked Crimson Tide emerged with a firm grasp on the reigns of the SEC’s wild West.
As a result of the Aggies’ loss, the ever-changing SEC Power Rankings were altered. In addition, the Wall Street-inspired SEC Stock Report, a weekly evaluation that rates SEC football teams with a buy, sell, or hold, was also adjusted. Let’s take a look at how things shape up this week:
SEC Power Rankings
4. Ole Miss
5. Texas A&M
6. South Carolina
13. Mississippi State
Alabama didn’t exactly bring Texas A&M’s attention-grabbing quarterback down to Earth, as some were hoping, but the Crimson Tide were able to outlast Johnny Manziel’s Aggies to the tune of 49-42. Nick Saban’s defense yielded a mind blowing 628 yards on Saturday, but quarterback AJ McCarron was unstoppable in his own right. With an offense able to score at will and an opportunistic defense, Alabama keeps its spot atop the Power Rankings, and remains a definite “buy.”
The Tigers asserted their will early and often against an outmatched Kent State squad on Saturday night, as quarterback Zach Mettenberger continued to impress. Mettenberger, who has nearly 800 passing yards, nine touchdowns, and no interceptions on the year, currently holds the nation’s third highest passer rating. With TCU’s recent loss to Texas Tech, LSU’s big win over the Horned Frogs doesn’t look as impressive as it once did, but the Tigers still pass the eyeball test with flying colors.
The Black Bears have repeatedly answered the bell in 2013, and their latest win was by far the most impressive. After trailing Texas 23-17 at halftime, Ole Miss stormed back in the second half for 27 unanswered points, and left the snake-bitten Longhorns searching for answers. Quarterback Bo Wallace threw and ran all over the maligned Texas defense, as Hugh Freeze’s young squad aced its toughest test yet.
The Bulldogs enjoyed a well-earned open date this past weekend, and that certainly doesn’t change their status as a “buy.” Sure, Georgia didn’t get it done on the road against Clemson to open the season, but they rebounded nicely with a huge victory over South Carolina. Todd Gurley looks every bit the part of best running back in the SEC, and his Dawgs are undefeated in league play.
We’ve been holding on the Tigers until they proved it against SEC competition. Well, Mississippi State (sort of) counts, so it’s finally a “buy” for Auburn. But buyer beware on the Tigers, because looming this weekend is a trip to LSU’s Death Valley. Quarterback Nick Marshall was able to make big plays down the stretch in a thrilling last-minute win over the Bulldogs, but a whole different animal awaits this weekend in Baton Rouge.
Yes, the Aggies looked atrocious on defense while giving up 49 points to Alabama. No, there isn’t a team in the conference eager to face them. It’s rare when a team’s stock doesn’t drop with a loss, but the offensive juggernaut coach Kevin Sumlin has assembled is a true marvel to behold. Manziel and wide receiver Mike Evans made it look easy for most of the afternoon on Saturday, and this was against the fearsome Alabama defense. Considering that A&M avoids all the big guns from the East this season, it’s not unreasonable to believe the Aggies can run the table from here on out.
The Gators had a week off to lick their wounds following a surprising loss to Miami, and now coach Will Muschamp and company can devote their full attention to Tennessee. Muschamp’s defense may very well be the best in the SEC, but quarterback Jeff Driskel was far too erratic against the Hurricanes. If Driskel’s red zone efficiency improves, the Gators can still achieve all their goals in conference play.
The Gamecocks rebounded from a tough loss to Georgia by beating up on Vanderbilt. All-everything defensive end Jadeveon Clowney hasn’t yet lived up to expectations, but the season is young. Depending on which Gamecock squad shows up, South Carolina can still accomplish a lot in the SEC. With only one loss and two solid victories, we’re holding on South Carolina at the moment.
With a 24-3 domination of Southern Mississippi, Arkansas proved it can get it done on both sides of the ball. But first-year coach Bret Bielema’s squad is still largely unproven, having yet to square off against a formidable opponent. If the Razorbacks can notch a win at Rutgers this Saturday they’ll likely join Auburn as a legitimate “buy.”
We’re three weeks into the 2013 season and Gary Pinkel’s Tigers are still unbeaten. Coming off an open date they, too, are untested. Many of the blanks on Missouri’s page are still yet to be filled in, and this week won’t be much of a reveal, either. The Tigers take on Arkansas State and we’re holding.
First-year coach Butch Jones nearly had us believing in Rocky Top again. Tennessee was off to a 2-0 start, with convincing wins against (somewhat) respectable competition. It all came crashing down this past Saturday at Oregon’s Autzen Stadium. The second-ranked Ducks ran around, over, and through the Vols for four quarters in a 59-14 romp. Tennessee doesn’t get much time to recover, either, as they prepare for a rivalry clash with Florida this Saturday.
Mississippi State got off to a lousy start with a lopsided opening weekend loss to Oklahoma State, and the Bulldogs blew their chance to earn a key conference win over Auburn this past Saturday. Dan Mullen’s team hung tough for much of the game, but wasn’t able to close, as Auburn pulled out a late victory on the Plains. Things may get worse before they better in Starkville, which means Mississippi State is an easy “sell.”
James Franklin’s Commodores had high hopes coming into the season, but with two conference losses already, things aren’t exactly going as planned. Franklin’s efforts on the recruiting trail have been admirable since his arrival in Nashville, but the overall talent level at Vanderbilt just isn’t where it needs to be to stay competitive in college football’s toughest conference.
After a 1-1 start that included a loss to Western Kentucky, it was evident that Kentucky would need a miracle to be competitive with in-state rival Louisville. Compete the Wildcats did, but it wasn’t enough. The Red corner of the state emerged the victor. Kentucky has potential for significant improvement this season, but right now the Wildcats are a “sell.”