Around the SEC

SEC West power rankings: Mike Leach, Mississippi State make a statement

Photo: Mississippi State Athletics

Technically the fourth week of the college football season has come and gone, but for folks in SEC Country, we got to see week one of our college football season this weekend.

And that first week was absolutely thrilling.

Florida and Ole Miss had plenty of offensive fireworks, K.J. Costello thrived in Mike Leach’s offense as the Bulldogs beat the defending national champs, South Carolina and Tennessee was actually an enjoyable game to watch and somehow Georgia managed to struggle with Arkansas.

Without further ado, here’s how the SEC West power rankings look this week:

  1. Arkansas – The Arkansas Razorbacks, in their first game under Sam Pittman, actually found a way to compete with the Georgia Bulldogs for a half. The first half was an ugly, sloppy mess, but it kept the Razorbacks in the game. The second half, however, Georgia showed up and showed that they were more talented. Good try, good effort, Arkansas.
  2. Texas A&M – The Texas A&M Aggies struggled with the Vanderbilt Commodores, a team that very well might end up winless this season. The Aggies were supposed to be a team that could compete for second place in the SEC West this season and that certainly does not appear to be the case after one game. We’ll see what they look like when they face Nick Saban and the Alabama Crimson Tide this weekend.
  3. Ole Miss – Lane Kiffin’s debut was actually a pretty solid one. The Ole Miss Rebels faced Florida, a team that could theoretically end up in the college football playoffs, and gave the Gators a legitimate challenge in stopping Kiffin’s offense. The Rebels aren’t good on defense, that much is clear, but Kiffin has his team scoring points already.
  4. LSU – The first game of the season wasn’t kind to the defending national champs. The LSU Tigers are, well, very talented. They’re also having to replace just about everybody from their two deep (as well as Joe Brady and Dave Aranda) and clearly that is a very difficult thing to do. The Tigers were exposed a bit by Mississippi State’s air raid and K.J. Costello. We’ll see if they bounce back from this.
  5. Auburn – The Kentucky Wildcats did a solid job of challenging the Auburn Tigers for much of their game on Saturday, but Gus Malzahn’s team handled UK and looked solid in the process. Can Auburn elevate itself and win the SEC West this season? That might be a stretch, especially considering how good MSU looked on Saturday and how the Tigers still have to contend with Georgia, South Carolina, LSU, Tennessee, and Alabama.
  6. Mississippi State – Mike Leach and the Mississippi State Bulldogs made a statement and made their presence felt Saturday afternoon in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. The Bulldogs came out firing and proved that the air raid offense could work, and could work really well, against the defending national champs. The air raid can work in the SEC and it might be what Mississippi State has needed all along to get the Bulldogs to be able to compete at a high level in the SEC.
  7. Alabama – I didn’t watch the Alabama game because the Alabama Crimson Tide is still the Alabama Crimson Tide and the Missouri Tigers are still the Missouri Tigers. Bama is still the best in the SEC West, and the SEC as a whole, but the Tide might find themselves facing an interesting challenge from an opponent who might be far better than anyone could have realistically expected this season.

For more independent Mississippi State news and commentary, follow The Underdog Tribune on Facebook and Twitter. Follow Ethan Lee on Facebook and Twitter.

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