Our preseason SEC football team power rankings
Chris Lee • 8/26/2021 in Football
Here's our guess at how the teams rank, 1-14, before the season starts.
Record from last season in parenthesis.
1. Alabama (13-0)--The Crimson Tide's rank in the final AP Poll for the last 10 years, starting with 2011: 1, 1, 7, 4, 1, 2, 1, 2, 8, 1.
2. Georgia (8-2)--There's no doubting the returning talent, but, can the Bulldogs survive off-season injuries and losing six players off its back seven to the NFL Draft? An opening-week win over Clemson would be huge.
3. Texas A&M (9-1)--Despite plus-4,000 odds and a freshman starter (Hayes King) at quarterback, someone placed a $4,000 bet on the Aggies to win the national title this week.
4. LSU (5-5)--Sure, it's a little unnerving to put the Tigers here, but the defense can't be as bad as was last year and there's got to be a little magic left from 2019, right?
5. Florida (8-4)--Speaking of talented defenses that performed poorly, the Gators seem due a rebound on that side of the ball--and defensive coordinator Todd Grantham should be on the hot seat if not.
6. Ole Miss (4-6)--The Rebels may not need a defense given how well quarterback Matt Corral played in his first year under coach Lane Kiffin.
7. Auburn (6-5)--Tiger quarterback Bo Nix has tossed 13 interceptions in 22 career games, with 10 of those coming in four contests ('19 Oregon, '19 Florida, '20 South Carolina, '20 Alabama).
8. Kentucky (5-6)--Points per game (yards per play) allowed by coach Mark Stoops's defenses the past three years: 16.8 (5.2), 19.3 (5.3), 25.9 (5.5).
9. Missouri (5-5)--The Tigers return 12 players who played at least 200 snaps on each side of the ball (source: Phil Steele), though they also lost five players to the NFL Draft--a lot for that program.
10. Mississippi St. (4-7)--The defense allowed just 5.5 yards per play a year ago, and the offense should be better in Year Two under coach Mike Leach.
11. Arkansas (3-7)--Razorbacks return 19 starters (Steele) but face six teams in either the AP or ESPN preseason Top 25s.
12. Tennessee (3-7)--Why are opinions so split on the Vols: A) They've won on eight-straight games between the last six of 2019 and the first two of last year... ; B) ... then lost their next six by a combined 117 points; C) Working backwards, they've finished 27th, eighth, 13th, 20th, and 15th, according to Rivals, with their last five recruiting classes; D) They've changed coaches, and; E) They still haven't named a starting quarterback.
13. South Carolina (2-8)--Despite having No. 8 overall draft pick Jaycee Horn, the Gamecocks posted the worst marks in points (36.0) and yards (452) in school history a year ago. Star defensive lineman Kingsley Enagbare Jr. will help improve these numbers this year.
14. Vanderbilt (0-9)--The Commodores will be improved this year, but after being out-scored 22.5 points and out-gained by 157 yards per game last year, it'll be a steep climb.