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SEC East Power Rankings and Preview: Week 3

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Georgia steps up. Tennessee rising. Is Kentucky a legitimate threat?

Jason Marcum

It’s been a rough start for the Wildcats this season. Point blank. BBN was hoping for the Cats to dominate Southern Miss and Eastern Kentucky, but instead, UK played to the level of their opponents.

Coming out unscathed at 2-0 is great, but understand conference play begins now. Let’s take a look at how Kentucky stacks up with the rest of the east after the first two games of the year.

EAST POWER RANKINGS

  1. Georgia Bulldogs - The Dawgs have been the most impressive team in the East to begin the season as many expected. Winning 31-10 over App State and squeaking out a 20-19 hard fought win at Notre Dame with backup Freshman Quarterback Jake Fromm has impressed many. With amount of talent previous coach Mark Richt and now head coach Kirby Smart have reeled in, this team is now the presumed favorite to head to Atlanta. The Bulldogs will almost certainly head to 3-0 as they are heavy favorites over Samford before opening up conference play with Mississippi State in Athens.
  2. Florida Gators - The Gators are a team that hung in with Michigan for much of the game without 10 scholarship players. At 0-1, Florida’s game against Northern Colorado was canceled last Saturday due to Hurricane Irma. With speedster Antonio Callaway and Jordan Scarlett back, the Gators will look to bounce back in Gainesville against Tennessee. The biggest question surrounds the quarterback position as either Feleipe Franks, Malik Zaire, or Luke Del Rio will have to step up if the Gators want to make a trip back to the SEC Championship.
  3. Tennessee Volunteers - The Vols have started the year 2-0 again with a thrilling overtime win against Georgia Tech in Atlanta and a 42-7 win over Indiana State. This week’s task will be a large one as Tennessee hasn’t won in Gainesville since 2003. While the offense has looked sharp, the defense will dictate the success of the Vols season.
  4. South Carolina Gamecocks - One of the biggest surprises so far has to be this Gamecock team. Winning in Charlotte 35-28 over NC State and beating Mizzou to become 1-0 in conference has turned some heads. Returning most of their starters on offense, South Carolina is out to prove they’re for real in the East. They will host UK this weekend in Columbia and have they’re eyes set on improving to 2-0 in the East.
  5. Kentucky Wildcats - The cats are 2-0, but by no means have they dominated on either side of the ball. While many Cats fans expected improvement from last year, the offense has yet to click as fans are becoming frustrated with Stephen Johnson’s play. The Cats will open up on the road at USC to begin conference play.
  6. Vanderbilt Commodores - The Commodores have started the year 2-0 as they won on the road at MTSU and shut out Alabama A&M 42-0. Vandy has tough sledding ahead however, as they will face four ranked opponents in the next four weeks (Kansas St, Alabama, @Florida, Georgia). Expect the Dores to finish around .500 as they will have ups and downs throughout the year.
  7. Missouri Tigers - The Tigers have not looked particularly well as they have given up 43 and 31 in their first two games. Opening up SEC play at home and losing to South Carolina in the manner they did doesn’t provide much hope. Drew Lock has looked like one of the top QB’s in the SEC at times, but the playmakers around him will hinder his success.

With it being early in the year, Kentucky fans need to do one thing: CALM DOWN! It’s only two games. The Cats can turn it around on Saturday for all we know. Remain positive as UK is still poised to make waves in the East.

Now, here’s a look at all of the SEC matchups on deck this week (all times in central time zone):

UL-Lafayette (1-1) at Texas A&M (1-1, 0-0 SEC)

11 a.m. CT • SEC Network

College Station, Texas • Kyle Field (102,512)

Matchup/Preview: http://www.secsports.com/boxscore/football/400933862

Tennessee (2-0, 0-0 SEC) at Florida (0-1, 0-0 SEC)

3:30 p.m. ET • CBS

Gainesville, Fla. • Ben Hill Griffin Stadium (88,548)

Matchup/Preview: http://www.secsports.com/boxscore/football/400933856

Mercer (1-1) at Auburn (1-1, 0-0 SEC)

3 p.m. CT • SEC Network Alternate Channel

Auburn, Ala. • Jordan-Hare Stadium (87,451)

Matchup/Preview: http://www.secsports.com/boxscore/football/400933855

Purdue (1-1) at Missouri (1-1, 0-1 SEC)

3 p.m. CT • SEC Network

Columbia, Mo. • Memorial Stadium - Faurot Field (71,168)

Matchup/Preview: http://www.secsports.com/boxscore/football/400933860

Colorado State (2-1) at Alabama (2-0, 0-0 SEC)

6 p.m. CT • ESPN2

Tuscaloosa, Ala. • Bryant-Denny Stadium (101,821)

Matchup/Preview: http://www.secsports.com/boxscore/football/400933854

LSU (2-0, 0-0 SEC) at Mississippi State (2-0, 0-0 SEC)

6 p.m. CT • ESPN

Starkville, Miss. • Davis Wade Stadium at Scott Field (61,337)

Matchup/Preview: http://www.secsports.com/boxscore/football/400933859

Samford (2-0) at Georgia (2-0, 0-0 SEC)

7:30 p.m. ET • SEC Network Alternate Channel

Athens, Ga. • Sanford Stadium (92,746)

Matchup/Preview: http://www.secsports.com/boxscore/football/400933857

Kentucky (2-0, 0-0 SEC) at South Carolina (2-0, 1-0 SEC)

7:30 p.m. ET • SEC Network

Columbia, S.C. • Williams-Brice Stadium (80,250)

Matchup/Preview: http://www.secsports.com/boxscore/football/400933861

Kansas State (2-0) at Vanderbilt (2-0, 0-0 SEC)

6:30 p.m. CT • ESPNU

Nashville, Tenn. • Vanderbilt Stadium (40,350)

Matchup/Preview: http://www.secsports.com/boxscore/football/400933863

Ole Miss (2-0, 0-0 SEC) at California (2-0)

9:30 p.m. CT • ESPN

Berkeley, Calif. • California Memorial Stadium (63,000)

Matchup/Preview: http://www.secsports.com/boxscore/football/400933858