SEC Power Rankings Week 7: Derek Dooley and Barbara Dooley Doing it Big
Derek Dooley and the Tennessee Volunteers lost to the Georgia Bulldogs for the second year in a row, but they gained big points in the mother-son world last week.
Purported by Knoxville Sentinel columnists to be on the proverbial hot seat, Dooley is the son of legendary former University of Georgia coach and athletics director Vince Dooley. Derek was hotly defended by his mother, Vince’s wife Barbara, on a radio show in Athens, Georgia.
She blamed Volunteers football woes on almost everything except the direction of the Tennessee River’s flow.
Flooded with a flowing river of misfortunes since Phil Fulmer left, the Volunteers are suddenly one of the worst football teams in the SEC. Kentucky, Ole Miss and a few other shaky programs are a close second in the elite two power conference.
How did the rankings shake out this week? Shake, rattle and roll with me and find out if Mrs. Dooley’s justification of her son qualifies her to become defensive coordinator.
12. Kentucky Wildcats: Countdown to College Basketball Season Has Begun
Did the coordinated countdown to UK’s basketball season start when football 2011 commenced?
Um, yes. The football Wildcats (2-4, 0-3) are probably counting down.
It wouldn't surprise me if some of the players camp out with students and fans to help advocate slashing UK football.
Is tuition paying for football? If so, then divert money to pay John Calipari to be offensive and defensive coordinator.
11. Mississippi State Bulldogs: Uncoordinated
The SEC’s second tier Bulldogs (3-3, 0-3) have beaten Memphis and UAB on the road. Their only other victory came against Louisiana Tech. They’ve lost to Auburn, LSU and Georgia.
Remaining on their schedule are South Carolina, Alabama and Arkansas. MSU could end up 2-6 in the SEC, provided they beat Kentucky and Ole Miss. In this disappointing season for the Dogs, it’ll be a desperate scramble to make a bowl game.
10. Ole Miss Rebels: They Believe
I'm not sure what the Rebels (2-3, 0-2) and their fans believe in, but I hope it has something to do with SEC football and winning a game. I’d start a countdown to basketball season for Ole Miss, but its basketball band is likely worse than the pigskin panel.
Barbara Dooley for Ole Miss AD.
9. Tennessee Volunteers: (9-9, 3-7 SEC) Under Head Football Coach Derek Dooley
Mrs. Dooley is a game woman, and I applaud her for defending her son. She was right in some of her summations, but he’s a grown man and should stand on his own.
I cringe when a mother feels she must defend a grown man. Please, mama, don't call him Dee Dee on the air in front of the defensive backs or the offensive line.
I wonder what some of his linebackers think and if her intervening undermined his ability to lead his young men to their first SEC victory this season. I’ll be watching for the righteous redemption, residue or fallout.
After witnessing three football coaches—including one Lane Kiffin in three years (2008-10)—at least the cheerleaders are smiling in Knoxville.
8. Vanderbilt Commodores: Commanding Defensive Respect
Vanderbilt’s smiling defense is ranked No. 14 in the FBS for points given up per game and knocking on the door of SEC legitimacy.
The Commodores (3-2, 1-2) defeated Ole Miss by 23 points in September. Their remaining schedule includes Georgia, Army, Arkansas and Kentucky at home and Florida, Tennessee and Wake Forest on the road.
Vandy’s slate isn’t as easy as it sounds, but it has a solid chance to win three more games and become eligible for a bowl.
7. Florida Gators: Bayou Bengal Bait
The Gators (4-2, 2-2) swam into a bowl in Louisiana’s bayou where they bumped into the No. 1 team in the AP Poll. After suffering a 30-point loss, Florida finds itself out of the top 25.
The Gators suffered significant injuries at the quarterback position and can only hope for next year to make a national championship run. They’d hoped for more in Will Muschamp’s and Charlie Weis’ first year.
6. Auburn Tigers: Ain’t the 1
This appears to be the SEC year of the Tigers, but Auburn’s Bengals (4-2, 2-1) aren't the ones. Charles Barkley’s and Bo Jackson’s favorite college football team proved again how much they miss Heisman Trophy winner Cam Newton.
5. Georgia Bulldogs: Barking Louder
Brand new former No. 19-ranked Georgia (4-2, 3-1) has won four games in a row after losing its first two. No. 5-ranked Boise at the time and then-12 South Carolina perpetrated the losses.
Two of Georgia’s four straight wins have been on the road. Ole Miss and Tennessee were the victims. That’s why the Bulldogs aren’t in the top 25. If they keep winning, then they’ll likely soon be inserted.
4. South Carolina Gamecocks: Spurred by New Starting Quarterback
Steve Spurrier started Connor Shaw at quarterback and reaped the benefits of a 54-3 killing against visiting Kentucky. South Carolina moved up three spots to No. 15 in the AP. The Coaches Poll lists the Cocks (5-1, 3-1) at No. 13—the number of rebellion in the Bible.
I’ll be watching to see if Spurrier and his new quarterback can keep the gospel rolling on the fast track to the SEC Championship Game when they travel to face Mississippi State Saturday.
3. Arkansas Razorbacks: SEC’s 3rd Best
Arkansas has posted impressive victories over Texas A&M and Auburn, but the Razorbacks (5-1, 1-1) got rolled by Alabama, 38-14 earlier this year.
Ranked No. 10 in the AP, the Backs are far and away behind the top two elite SEC teams and division rivals, but Arkansas is a solid squad.
Their defense is far too shaky, for now, to make a dent in the national championship challenge. They do have a chance to upset Les Miles’ team in the last game of the season at LSU.
2. Alabama Crimson Tide: Roll Elephants
Nick Saban’s rolling Tide (6-0, 3-0) disagrees with my earlier statement about this being the year of the Tigers. The No. 2 team in the AP Poll pitched a 34-0 shutout against Vanderbilt that Chris Carpenter would be proud of.
Like carpenters working on a house, Alabama laid the wood and nails against the Commodores and continued to roll towards the Nov. 5 head-on collision with LSU to get to the SEC Championship Game.
1. LSU Tigers: Tigers and Tigerettes Tame the Florida Gators in Bayou Country
Muschamp’s Florida team proved to be fodder for the national championship-hunting Tigers and Tigerettes (6-0, 3-0) in the commanding 41-11 loss that No. 1 (AP) LSU put on the Gators.
Holding a Charlie Weis offense to 11 points is a major accomplishment, whether or not his top two quarterbacks were hurt.
I still believe Oklahoma is the No. 1 team in the nation and will put a hurting on the SEC this year, but that’s too far in the future to elaborate on. For now, it’s time to say goodbye to all of my readers.
In between the time you read me next week, students keep your grades proper, parents—your priorities in order and fans—faith’s fire flaming.
Lake Cruise is a writer who’s on fire in several genres, but he’s not too hot for you to contact: Lakecruise@att.net