Week five of the college football season provided one of the most entertaining games of the year, as Georgia outlasted LSU in a shootout, 44-41.
The week also saw the nation’s top-ranked team reestablish its dominant defensive form, as Alabama blew away a red-hot Ole Miss squad, 25-0.
The weekly SEC Power Rankings were adjusted thereafter. There are no longer any questions about who’s No. 1, but there were some changes near the top, as Georgia ascended to No. 2.
The Wall Street-inspired Stock Report, which rates SEC teams as stock, also had a few shake-ups, as the 2013 season continues to play itself out.
1. Alabama (4-0, 2-0)
2. Georgia (3-1, 2-0)
3. Texas A&M (4-1, 1-1)
4. LSU (4-1, 1-1)
5. Florida (3-1, 2-0)
6. South Carolina (3-1, 1-1)
7. Ole Miss (3-1, 1-1)
8. Missouri (4-0, 0-0)
9. Auburn (3-1, 1-1)
10. Vanderbilt (3-2, 0-2)
11. Arkansas (3-2, 0-1)
12. Tennessee (3-2, 0-1)
13. Mississippi State (2-2, 0-1)
14. Kentucky (1-3, 0-1)
The top-ranked defending national champions proved once again that picking against them doesn’t usually pay off. Alabama shut down Ole Miss to the tune of 25-0, in a game that a surprisingly large number of prognosticators thought would go the other way. Just two weeks after giving up 628 yards of offense to Texas A&M, the Tide defense gathered its footing and pitched a shut-out of the high-powered Rebels offense.
The Bulldogs defense gave up 370 passing yards and 41 points at home to LSU, but managed to make the key plays in crucial moments. Coach Mark Richt’s explosive offense is well balanced, as quarterback Aaron Murray and running back Todd Gurley form a dynamic backfield duo. Georgia is a definite “buy,” and the Bulldogs’ stock has never been higher this season.
Texas A&M overcame a solid effort from a struggling Arkansas squad, and walked away with a workmanlike, 45-33 win. The Aggies once again looked suspect on defense, but with Heisman Trophy candidate Johnny Manziel continuing to light up scoreboards, A&M is a buy.
It’s certainly not a stretch to suggest that Florida has the best defense in the entire country. Even with the loss of star defensive linemen Dominique Easley, the Gator defensive unit held Kentucky to just seven points last Saturday. Inexperienced quarterback Tyler Murphy received the help he needed from the Florida rushing attack, which rolled up 246 yards on the hapless Wildcats. The one-loss Gators are still unbeaten in SEC play, and they’re a “buy” again this week.
Five weeks into the season, Missouri hasn’t played an SEC game yet, but they’re still 4-0 following an open date last Saturday. The Tigers are averaging 45 points and 550 yards of offense per game, which makes it difficult to not consider them a legitimate “buy.” We’ll find out a lot more this weekend, however, as Missouri takes on Vanderbilt to open conference play.
Quarterback Zach Mettenberger was stellar in carving up Georgia last Saturday, but to say the LSU defense needs work would be a gross understatement. Defensive coordinator John Chavis’ unit gave up 500 yards of offense to the Bulldogs, thus nullifying Mettenberger’s valiant performance. The good news for the Tigers is that they can still represent the Western Division in the SEC Championship Game, but they’ll have to shore up all three levels of their defense to have a chance.
The Gamecocks are a difficult group to get a read on, and Saturday’s 28-25 road win over UCF served as a microcosm of their season thus far. After falling behind early, South Carolina stormed back to score 28 straight points. But things ended on a sour note, however, as the Knights finished the contest on a 15-0 run. As a result, we’re still holding on the Gamecocks.
The Rebels had a lot of momentum heading into their showdown with Alabama, but they couldn’t even manage so much as a field goal against Nick Saban’s stingy defense. Never the less, Ole Miss has made great strides in 2013. Hugh Freeze’s talent-laden young squad could still make plenty of noise before the season is over.
Following their first loss of the season at LSU, Auburn was idle last week. Gus Malzahn’s Tigers have demonstrated potential on offense, and they’ll return home this week for an important contest with Ole Miss.
The Commodores showed significant improvement on the offensive side of the ball in last Saturday’s 52-24 blowout win over UAB. But Vanderbilt is winless in the SEC, and as a result, coach James Franklin’s squad is still a “sell.”
With their loss to A&M, the Razorbacks have now dropped two straight. There were some positives in the loss, however, as the Arkansas running game sprang back to life following last week’s abysmal showing at Rutgers. Quarterback Brandon Allen was also impressive, but two consecutive losses won’t entice any potential buyers. The Hogs are still a “sell.”
Things aren’t progressing very well at all on Rocky Top right now. Sure, Tennessee managed to chalk up a win this Saturday against South Alabama. But the score was 31-24, and the Volunteers were outscored 17-7 in the second half. This latest lackluster performance follows a disappointing showing against Florida, and a humiliating loss to Oregon.
The Bulldogs had an open date, and they no doubt used their extra week to prepare for this Saturday’s visit from LSU. Mississippi State’s losses came at the hands of two respectable opponents – Oklahoma State and Auburn – but the big “zero” in the SEC win column speaks too loudly. We’re still selling on the Bulldogs.
Basketball season can’t arrive soon enough in Lexington, as coach Mark Stoops has struggled to get any momentum going in his first season on the job. It took a fake field goal to get the Wildcats on the scoreboard this past Saturday against Florida, which really isn’t a good sign. Kentucky remains a definite “sell.”