The SEC got turned on its head this weekend, resulting in massive changes in the SEC Power Rankings – Week 8 edition. Missouri climbed the highest, jumping from fifth to second after the Tigers took a chokehold on the SEC East race.
Auburn also enjoyed a big move, catapulting from seventh to fourth behind the strength of its win at Texas A&M.
Several teams – LSU, Texas A&M, South Carolina, Georgia and Florida – fell at least one spot in the newest power ranking release after all five teams lost over the weekend.
Here are your Week 8 SEC Power Rankings:
1. Alabama (7-0, 4-0) – Last Week: 1; Beat Arkansas, 52-0
Arkansas never had a prayer in its meeting with No. 1 Alabama. The Crimson Tide ran all over the Razorbacks, jumping out to a 28-0 lead by halftime. Alabama also pitched a shutout, holding Arkansas to just 256 yards of total offense.
2. Missouri (7-0, 3-0) – Last Week: 5; Beat No. 22 Florida, 36-17
With a convincing win over Florida, the Tigers essentially claimed a 2.5-game lead in the division. A win over South Carolina would basically clinch a trip to Atlanta. QB Maty Mauk played well enough in his debut. More impressively, the Missouri pass rush dominated Florida’s offensive line and the Tigers mauled Florida’s front seven in rushing for 205 yards. The Tigers defensive line is for real in the passing game.
3. LSU (6-2, 3-2) – Last Week: 2; Lost at Ole Miss, 27-24
LSU QB Zach Mettenberger picked a horrible time to play his worst game of the season. The senior threw 3 first-half INTs and effectively put the Tigers in a 17-0 hole. LSU pulled itself back into the game, tying it at 24 on a Mettenberger pass to WR Jarvis Landry. However, the defense couldn’t hold, allowing Ole Miss to kick a game-winning field goal as time expired. It marked LSU’s second road loss by three points this season.
4. Auburn (6-1, 3-1) – Last Week: 7; Won at No. 7 Texas A&M, 45-41
The Tigers delivered a message during their upset win at Texas A&M: The offense will attempt to physically beat down whatever defense it faces. It worked on Saturday, albeit against one of the worst rushing defenses in the league. Auburn RB Tre Mason ran for 178 of the Tigers’ 379 rushing yards and Gus Malzahn’s team survived the shootout at Kyle Field.
5. Texas A&M (5-2, 2-2) – Last Week: 3; Lost to No. 24 Auburn, 45-41
Defensive liabilities seemed destined to derail the Aggies Express, no matter how well QB Johnny Manziel and the offense played. That finally happened this week when Auburn came calling. The two teams combined for 86 points and 1,217 yards of total offense. Auburn ultimately won the shootout, largely ending what was left of A&M’s hopes for an SEC West title.
6. South Carolina (5-2, 3-2) – Last Week: 4; Lost at Tennessee, 23-21
The Gamecocks lost more than a game on Saturday at Neyland Stadium. They lost QB Connor Shaw probably for at least next week and perhaps their SEC East hopes. South Carolina must now win next week at Missouri for the division race to not essentially end next week. DE Jadeveon Clowney played his best game of the season and RB Mike Davis turned in another stellar effort, but it wasn’t enough to overcome a dismal passing game.
7. Georgia (4-3, 3-2) – Last Week: 6; Lost at Vanderbilt, 31-27
Just as Texas A&M had a fatal flaw in its rush defense, Georgia had one in special teams. The special teams committed two costly mistakes and allowed Vanderbilt to score on a fake field goal. The Bulldogs had a 27-14 lead heading into the fourth quarter, but miscues allowed the Commodores to steal the victory. Georgia’s injuries have been a big deal for the last month. They caught up to Mark Richt’s team for the second time in two weeks.
8. Ole Miss (4-3, 2-3) – Last Week: 9; Beat No. 6 LSU, 27-24
An injury-depleted defense held on for an impressive upset victory over visiting LSU this week. RB Jaylen Walton, in his first expanded role, rushed for 106 yards and 2 TDs to lead the Rebels to the win and QB Bo Wallace threw for 346 yards. A week after losing a heartbreaker to Texas A&M, Ole Miss won in the same as-time-expired fashion.
9. Florida (4-3, 3-2) – Last Week: 8; Lost to No. 14 Missouri, 36-17
Plain and simple, Florida has no offense right now. It’s hard to fault the Gators, who are without starting QB Jeff Driskel and starting RB Matt Jones. That doesn’t make watching Florida try to move the ball any easier. The Gators managed just 151 yards of total offense and the defense could do little to stop Missouri. Will Muschamp’s team has a lot of issues it needs to solve – and might not have the healthy players to solve them.
10. Tennessee (4-3, 1-2) – Last Week: 10; Beat No. 11 South Carolina, 23-21
Finally, after four long seasons and two coaches, Tennessee fans can celebrate a signature victory. The Volunteers didn’t do anything especially well offensively. Still, the secondary turned in its best performance of the season and WR Marquez North turned in a big-time play when his team needed it the most. K Michael Palardy’s 19-yard field goal put Knoxville in a frenzy.
11. Vanderbilt (4-3, 1-3) – Last Week: 11; Beat No. 15 Georgia, 31-27
In the process of scoring arguably the program’s biggest win in the James Franklin era, the Commodores lost QB1 Austyn Carta-Samuels. The severity of his injury is not yet known, though Carta-Samuels is expected to be out next week at Texas A&M. Vanderbilt desperately needed a win this week and found it thanks to QB2 Patton Robinette’s relief effort and RB Jerron Seymour’s 2 TDs. Not to be lost in the shuffle, the Vanderbilt defense did a tremendous job, holding the Bulldogs to 221 yards of total offense.
12. Mississippi State (3-3, 0-2) – Last Week: 12; Bye week
For the Bulldogs to reach a bowl game, they likely need to take winnable games against Kentucky and Arkansas. Losing one of those would mean needing to beat rival Ole Miss while also upsetting South Carolina, Alabama or Texas A&M.
13. Arkansas (3-5, 0-4) – Last Week: 13; Lost to No. 1 Alabama, 52-0
First-year coach Bret Bielema, by now, sees just how much work he has to do in Fayetteville. The Razorbacks found no answers in its own passing game, managing just 91 yards on 7-of-25 passing with 2 INTs. They also allowed Alabama to rack up 352 rushing yards. Arkansas has played like the worst team in the league over the past two weeks.
14. Kentucky (1-5, 0-3) – Last Week: 14; Bye week
A week off gave the Wildcats time to improve before playing at Mississippi State. Kentucky has little chance at a bowl game but can still play for respect during the second half of the season.
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