Two weeks into the season the SEC projections have held up fairly well, especially at the top and the bottom. However, there have been some moderate adjustments made in the middle of the pack.
The season is still young, and just like in a horse race out of the gate teams are jockeying for position as they prepare to hit the meat of their schedule. Some have gotten off to a great start, some have done as expected and some have outright surprised.
Even though it is not how you start but how you finish, it is always fun to follow the race all the way through. Lets take a look:
#12. Vanderbilt – The Commodores are 0 – 2 and just seem to lack the horses to truly keep up with their SEC brethren. They gave a spirited effort against LSU this past weekend but as the game entered the 4th quarter their lack of depth and talent showed its face.
#11. Ole Miss – Not many people had the Rebels this low in the preseason, but after that opening day debacle, losing to FCS Jacksonville State, at home, and then playing a repeated lackluster 2nd half in a win against Tulane, where would you put them? Jeremiah Masoli is starting to get comfortable in an Ole Miss uniform, but the Rebels have a ways to go.
#10. Tennessee – After destroying UT-Martin in their opener the Vols received a harsh dose of reality this past Saturday in Neyland Stadium. Who ever thought you would see the day when UT gets absolutely manhandled by the Ducks? Yes, Oregon is for real and Tennessee is most definitely not. How the mighty have fallen.
#9. Mississippi State – The Bulldogs are slowly but surely edging their way back to respectability. Dan Mullen appears to be the right man for the job as he has them playing very competitively. This past Saturday they went toe to toe with a much improved Auburn Tigers team and are poised to challenge those other SEC Tigers this coming Saturday in Baton Rouge.
#8. Georgia – Mark Richt may have missed his window at winning a crystal ball a couple of years ago when they had a boat load of talent and experience surrounding Matthew Stafford. Watching the Bulldogs struggle against a very good South Carolina team this past weekend gives one the impression that they are but a shell of what they once were.
#7. Kentucky – The Wildcats are playing pretty good ball under new head coach Joker Phillips. Granted they have not played a juggernaut yet but they were fairly impressive against Louisville and racked up some impressive numbers against Western Kentucky this past weekend. I see them sneaking in an upset or two before it is all over.
#6. Arkansas – It is hard to gauge Arkansas at this point after their run through Creampuff-land to start the season. Yes, we know that Bobby Petrino has a potent offense with big Ryan Mallett pulling the trigger, but the true tale of the tape will come when that defense has to measure up against SEC caliber offenses. We will soon find out as Alabama come calling September 25th.
#5. Auburn – The Tigers from the Plains are much improved in their 2nd year under Gene Chizik. Cameron Newton is a big and impressive looking quarterback that is putting up some impressive numbers and showing leadership. Match that with a typical Auburn Tiger defense and you have a team that will challenge in the SEC West.
#4. LSU – Unlike the Auburn Tigers, these Tigers from the Bayou are anything but set at quarterback. Junior Jordan Jefferson has been shaky at best, causing some to call for Jarrett Lee. Uh Ohhhh! It is the speedy and athletic defense, special teams and other skill players on offense that is carrying this team. If the Tigers want to compete the entire year, QB must be fixed.
#3. Florida – The Gators are looking for an identity on offense in the post-Tebow era. They have figured out that if they are able to negotiate the hiking function successfully they can be pretty good. Florida on defense is as usual very Florida-like. They should compete with the Gamecocks for the East until the very last week.
#2 South Carolina – Speaking of the Gamecocks, Steve Spurrier very well may have his best team since arriving in Columbia. The defense is very stout and nasty and they may be featuring the SEC freshman of the year in Marcus Lattimore at running back. He has been very impressive. Quarterback Stephen Garcia is also playing some of his best ball as a Gamecock.
#1 Alabama – Easily the class of the SEC. They have been very impressive in all phases of the game thus far. Trent Richardson may very well be better than Mark Ingram at running back, the defense is very Sabanesque as usual and they are simply fine tuned for another run at national championship. With that being said, LSU, Auburn and Arkansas are not conceding the West just yet!!!