Alabama continued its chokehold of the SEC by putting down LSU, 38-17 in the biggest game of the week. The Crimson Tide dominated the final 25 minutes of the game, showing a killer instinct in taking down its rival. Now Alabama is just four games away from playing for its third consecutive national championship.
Elsewhere in the SEC Power Rankings, Missouri claims the No. 2 spot largely behind the strength of its dominant pass rush. Auburn, which ran all over Tennessee, jumps up to the No. 3 spot. It’s followed by a cluster of two-loss teams, led by South Carolina.
Here are your Week 11 SEC Power Rankings:
1. Alabama (9-0, 6-0) – Last Week: 1; Beat LSU, 38-17
If you come at the king, you best not miss. LSU charged hard at Alabama early in the third quarter, tying the score. However, the Tigers made two fatal mistakes – the first was settling for a field goal on the possession and the second was falling asleep on Alabama’s beautifully executed fake punt. Alabama’s fury resulted in three consecutive touchdowns to close the game while the defense suffocated the life out of LSU’s comeback attempt. The Crimson Tide retains its spot on the top of the SEC food chain with no sign of letting go.
2. Missouri (9-1, 5-1) – Last Week: 3; Won at Kentucky, 48-17
WR Dorial Green-Beckham caught 4 TD passes from QB Maty Mauk in Missouri’s predictably easy win against the worst team in the conference. The Tigers’ well-rounded, dominant defensive front produced seven sacks and 11 TFLs in the victory. QB1 James Franklin is expected back shortly – as soon as the Ole Miss game in two weeks. Missouri rolls into its bye week knowing it needs to win at least one of its final two games (and quite possibly both) to win the SEC East.
3. Auburn (9-1, 5-1) – Last Week: 4; Won at Tennessee, 55-23
Even in blowout victories, the Tigers still show some glaring weaknesses – namely the intermediate passing game (with the fault of receivers as much if not more than QB Nick Marshall) and horrendous linebacker play. Those issues could come back to haunt Auburn in its last two games. They won’t matter if it keeps running the way it did this week. The Tigers racked up 444 rushing yards – a number that could have been much higher if not for Chris Davis’ 85-yard punt return and Corey Grant’s 90-yard kickoff return that both went for touchdowns.
4. South Carolina (7-2, 5-2) – Last Week: 5; Bye week
How big was South Carolina’s win over Missouri? All the Gamecocks’ goals were on the line in that game and they would have come crashing down with a loss. Instead, they can still win the SEC East – granted, with a little help from Ole Miss or Texas A&M – and/or reach a BCS bowl game by winning out, including a win over Clemson.
5. Georgia (6-3, 4-2) – Last Week: 7; Beat Appalachian State, 45-6
The return of RB Todd Gurley means Georgia has renewed life entering its stretch run. The Bulldogs tailback didn’t over-exert himself against Appalachian State, rushing for 75 yards and a TD on 13 carries. Look for Gurley to run wild against a porous Auburn rush defense. QB Aaron Murray broke Danny Wuerffel’s SEC career passing touchdown record in the victory. Now the Bulldogs square off with Auburn in a game that will determine both teams’ divisional chances.
6. Texas A&M (8-2, 4-2) – Last Week: 6; Beat Mississippi State, 51-41
At this point, the Aggies simply are what they are: A dynamic offensive team with little ability to keep opponents off the scoreboard. QB Johnny Manziel accounted for 493 total yards of offense and 5 TDs in what might be his final game at Kyle Field.
7. Ole Miss (6-3, 3-3) – Last Week: 8; Beat Arkansas, 34-24
QB Bo Wallace threw for 407 yards and 3 TDs in helping the Rebels pull away for the win. Ole Miss is now bowl eligible and can climb to a better bowl standing by winning out.
8. LSU (7-3, 3-3) – Last Week: 2; Lost at Alabama, 38-17
For two-plus quarters, LSU went toe-to-toe with No. 1 Alabama, trading punches in the middle of the ring. However, the visiting Tigers couldn’t handle the flurry of haymakers thrown by the champ. Bruised and battered, LSU – like QB Zach Mettenberger, who had to limp back to the sideline after taking a third consecutive snap on the Tigers’ final fourth down – narrowly avoided knockout but took a unanimous decision.
9. Vanderbilt (5-4, 2-4) – Last Week: 10; Won at Florida, 34-17
Even when Florida is as down as it is now, winning in The Swamp is a huge deal for Vanderbilt. As has been the case with QB2 Patton Robinette at the helm, the offense isn’t running at full strength. However, the Commodores are now on the verge of bowl-eligibility. A win this week against lowly Kentucky will give Vanderbilt its third trip to a bowl game in three seasons under coach James Franklin.
10. Mississippi State (4-5, 1-4) – Last Week: 12; Lost at Texas A&M, 51-41
The Bulldogs closed the gap late in the game, but make no mistake: State did not come close to beating the Aggies on Saturday. Just six days after his mother passed away, QB Dak Prescott accounted for 304 total yards and 2 TDs. State hosts Alabama this week and likely needs to beat Arkansas and Ole Miss in order to make a bowl game this season.
11. Florida (4-5, 3-4) – Last Week: 9; Lost to Vanderbilt, 34-17
Things are unraveling quickly in coach Will Muschamp’s third season at Florida. Empty seats were easy to spot even before kickoff. It’s easy to see why. The Gators turned in yet another disastrous offensive performance, managing just 39 rush yards while turning the ball over four times. Not even QB Tyler Murphy’s 305 passing yards made a difference because of his 3 INTs. Even his TD pass should have been a turnover. Florida’s defense still has talent, holding Vanderbilt to 183 total yards of offense. It didn’t matter. The Commodores dominated the entire game. Now even a bowl game seems unlikely.
12. Tennessee (4-6, 1-5) – Last Week: 11; Lost to Auburn, 55-23
RB Rajion Neal turned in a highlight-worthy 17-yard TD run to give the Volunteers a 13-6 lead against Auburn. Then Tennessee’s defense and special teams turned into a pumpkin. Auburn returned a punt and a kickoff for a touchdown and rushed for 444 yards, basically doing whatever it wanted against Tennessee. The Volunteers end the season with games against Vanderbilt and Kentucky, so they have a shot to still make a bowl game.
13. Arkansas (3-7, 0-6) – Last Week: 13; Lost at Ole Miss, 34-24
Bret Bielema’s team pulled close early in the third quarter before the homestanding Rebels put the game away with consecutive touchdowns. Arkansas will miss a bowl game for the second consecutive season, showing just how far it has fallen since finishing as the No. 5 team in 2011. Bielema is a proven coach, but needs time to fill the roster with personnel to run his system.
14. Kentucky (2-7, 0-5) – Last Week: 14; Lost to Missouri, 48-17
The good news is QB Jalen Whitlow returned to the lineup after recovering from his ankle injury. However, the Wildcats were never in their home game against Missouri.
Topics: Alabama Crimson Tide, Arkansas Razorbacks, Auburn Tigers, Florida Gators, Georgia Bulldogs, Kentucky Wildcats, Louisiana State Tigers, Mississippi State Bulldogs, Missouri Tigers, Ole Miss Rebels, SEC, South Carolina Gamecocks, Tennessee Volunteers, Texas A&M Aggies, Vanderbilt Commodores