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SEC Power Rankings Week 5

Auburn narrowly avoids last place.

Missouri v Auburn Photo by Michael Chang/Getty Images

So Auburn avoids last place...for now.

Missouri and Auburn faced off in an overtime bout-for-the-basement last Saturday and both showed exactly why they were playing for it.

Up three in OT, Auburn just needed to stop Mizzou’s drive to survive at home, but allowed RB Nathaniel Peat to find a hole and charge for the end zone.

Then, just before he cut into the corner of the end zone, the ball popped out as he got tackled and Auburn pounced on it. One second Mizzou was an inch away from instant victory. The next Auburn had the ball and the win.

My takeaway from this? Both teams really stink.

Not a single point was scored after halftime until Auburn’s OT field goal. Auburn was at home against the SEC East’s last-place team and only won because their running back lost the ball while scoring the game-winning touchdown. Both teams deserve F’s, but a win is still a win, so War Eagle avoids back-to-back failing grades and avoids the dreaded last place spot—which is good, because after this Saturday’s games the grades and performances of the bottom four teams will be compared and two teams will be permanently eliminated from the power rankings.

So no pressure, Auburn! Good luck with LSU this Saturday!

They’ve played the games and earned their grades—here are your SEC Power Rankings before Week 5:

1. Georgia Bulldogs

Interesting. Did not think that Georgia was capable of giving up 23 points to a MAC team. I think they just gave the rest of the SEC a bit of hope. Grade: B

2. Alabama Crimson Tide

Alabama vs. Vanderbilt went just about as expected, complete with the backhoe, steam roller, meat-grinder, wrecking ball, etc. splatting the Commodores 55-3. Grade: A+

3. Tennessee Volunteers

While it makes me groan and ache, the Tennessee Volunteers have delivered results that these (mostly) unbiased power rankings cannot ignore. With a win over Florida following up a 63-6 demolition of Akron, a road win at Pitt, and a 59-10 rout of Ball State, the Vols move up to 3rd with a slightly better string of stronger victories and performances than Kentucky. If UK wins at Ole Miss this Saturday the third spot will be theirs again though. Grade: B+

4. Kentucky Wildcats

The Wildcats did a great job of taking care of business at home against a feisty Northern Illinois squad that was unfazed on the road against SEC competition. Will Levis and UK’s star-studded wide receiver room put some haymakers on the board that really helped make up for mistakes and miscues that kept this tied at half and a one-score win at the end. I don’t want to penalize the ‘Cats for “only winning by eight against a MAC team,” but these are power rankings that fluctuate a lot week-to-week, and this week wasn’t quite an eye-opener but was still important. Huge game next week against Ole Miss, though, and the Rebels better watch out because this Kentucky team can play. Grade: B-

5. Ole Miss

The sixth and last undefeated SEC squad has passed each “test” so far, if you count Troy, Central Arkansas, Georgia Tech, and Tulsa as “tests” (Plus that Tulsa game was even more of a squeaker than UK’s NIU win). Here’s a real test for you—Kentucky at Oxford at 12pm eastern time. Grade: C

6. LSU Tigers

Things have been going quite well since the opener, with a 38-0 shutout win over New Mexico the latest demolition of an overmatched nonconference opponent. A win on The Plains against a reeling Auburn squad is super important if LSU wants to keep the momentum rolling though. Grade: A+

7. Texas A&M Aggies

Texas A&M might be out of the playoff picture, but it’s determined to stay in the SEC West one. Huge win over their primary challenger to be the knight to slay the Alabama dragon last Saturday with a win over Arkansas that came down to a brilliant 2nd quarter scoop-in-score and a missed game-winning field goal by the Hogs. Grade: A

8. Arkansas Razorbacks

Oof. Some bad beats in Arlington last Saturday, with the fumble and the missed kick pretty much doing them in despite a great effort. Tough break, but this is still a top-15 team hosting Alabama this Saturday so there’s plenty of opportunity left to soar to new heights. Grade: B-

9. Mississippi State

This team can play pretty good against non-SEC teams. If they best Texas A&M this weekend also it’ll make the West very interesting. Grade: A

10. Florida Gators

Honestly, that was a very good game from Florida and probably their best performance of the season outside of the Utah opener. I can’t give them an ‘A’ since it didn’t become a win, but that was a sign that Florida’s still going to be dangerous and that the Utah win wasn’t a fluke. Grade: B

—————cutoff line for grade evaluation and bottom 2 elimination next week—————

11. Vanderbilt Commodores

Welp, last week the Commodores came down to earth a bit after making a trip to Tuscaloosa and getting routed by 52. Things won’t get easier anytime soon either, but those three early wins they’ve earned to this point will go a long way later on. Grade: D

12. South Carolina Gamecocks

Much better performance this week against Charlotte, but starting to wonder if this team will hold up against SEC competition this year. For now, though, they’ve been getting wins where they can get them. Grade: A

13. Auburn Tigers

Like I said above, you are one fumble away from last place and a Bryan Harsin hot seat passing the melting point of steel. A lot will depend on this week’s LSU game if War Eagle is going to avoid getting cut from the rankings next week after we shrink to twelve teams. Grade: D

14. Missouri Tigers

Next week might be the last we see of Missouri, and possibly of Eli Drinkwitz in black and gold. Seldom has a fumble created so much job pressure. Grade: F