SEC Power Poll Ballot, Week 1: All Hail Les Miles, Bringer Of Chaos

The SEC Power Poll is a fine idea dreamed up by our SBNbros over at Team Speed Kills, your source for everything SEC, to gauge the week-to-week standing of each SEC team as determined by a cadre of bloggers spanning the conference. I was a Power Poll voter at my previous digs, and I'll be posting my ballot here each week; you can see the compiled results every Wednesday over at TSK.

Had I assembled a preseason ballot for the poll, I would've taken the easy way out like seemingly every other pollster out there and put Alabama at the top, but that's history after LSU's resounding win over the Oregon Ducks in Dallas blew the conventional wisdom into Fritos crumbs. The dimbulb coaches may think Bama's win over Kent State still entitles them to a higher ranking than the team that notched what was easily the best win of opening weekend, but around here we like to, you know, pay attention to the games. Let's dive in, shall we?

 

1. LSU -- Full confession: I was an LSU doubter even before Jordan Jefferson went all Road House on that Marine. But you lay the wood to the No. 3 team in the country, you don't need to have your bona fides questioned, for a couple weeks at least. With each additional game like this that the Tigers win, the "Is Les Miles good or just lucky?" question becomes increasingly academic.

 

2. Alabama -- Trent Richardson didn't do much and neither quarterback looked great, which is why they get bumped down to No. 2 from the top spot I had them at in the preseason. But if defense really does win championships, they're still in fine shape.

 

3. Arkansas -- They played a punching bag and punched it nicely, but I want to see how Tyler Wilson and Ronnie Wingo perform against an actual team before I elevate them to the rank of true contenders for the league title.

 

4. Mississippi State -- They played a punching bag too, but at least it was an FBS punching bag. And Sylvester Croom's teams would've needed a month to come up with 59 points.

 

5. Florida -- Oh, great, Charlie Weis knows what to do with Jeff Demps and Chris Rainey after all. I'm less sold on Jeff Brantley, but the center at least got him the ball, which was a marked improvement over last season's opener.

 

6. South Carolina -- Spotting the other team 17 points was kind of a dumb way for Steve Spurrier to try and teach Stephen Garcia a lesson. Maybe his time would've been better spent teaching the rest of his offense how to hold on to the ball.

 

7. Georgia -- Yeah, I'm as surprised as you are that they ended up this high; guess I'm giving them the benefit of the doubt right now because they played perhaps the best-coached team in the nation. Unfortunately, that's a compliment one can no longer pay to Mark Richt and his staff. And unless they can turn things around dramatically in time for South Carolina's visit to Athens this weekend, they may all be looking for work in a few months.

 

8. Tennessee -- A thrashing of a I-AA also-ran doesn't really tell me much about whether a) Tyler Bray's decision-making has improved or b) that patchwork defense can hold up in an actual SEC dogfight.

 

9. Auburn -- As Georgia's shot at a statement win sank beneath the waves Saturday night, I asked myself: Would I rather get humbled by a top-five powerhouse on opening day, or win but need two late TDs and an on-side kick recovery to survive a bad WAC team at home? I can honestly say I'd take the former. And you can call me a homer all you want, Auburn fans, but it's gonna take a lot more than a few toilet-paper-covered trees to convince me y'all aren't going to be spending every last Saturday afternoon for the next three months waiting for your defense to implode.

 

10. Ole Miss -- Well, the defense came to play, at least. But Brandon Bolden's probably out for the season, and if Enrique Davis can't step up, the Rebels might actually find a way to regress from last year's 4-8 disaster.

 

11. Kentucky -- Western Kentucky was 2-31 against FBS teams in the three seasons leading up to Thursday night's game, yet as far as the Wildcats were concerned, they might as well have been the Steel Curtain. To call UK's offense a dumpster fire might be an insult to both dumpsters and fires, which can perform useful services in the proper context.

 

12. Vanderbilt -- I debated whether to put these guys or Kentucky in the basement. In the end, Kentucky's stronger recent track record won the day. Vandy's been an offensive wasteland ever since Cutler left, and it's gonna take more than a win over Elon to reverse that.

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