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SEC Power Poll, Week 1: It's Nick Saban's World, We're Just Renting

The SEC Power Poll was put together a few years ago by Brandon Larrabee over at Team Speed Kills, SB Nation's SEC-centric blog. You'll be able to view the final tallied results from all of the participating SEC bloggers Wednesday afternoon; in the meantime, here's my first ballot, which features a highly familiar team in the top spot. Remember, this is a power poll, based primarily on what we've seen so far from each of these teams and not how I think they'll finish by year's end, so there's plenty of opportunity for movement from week to week.

1. Alabama — Free advice to the nation's Big Six programs: At some point in the near future, you may be invited to face Nick Saban's Alabama team at a neutral site to kick off the season. You may think, "Wow! What an honor! Not only will it be a nationally televised prime-time game, it'd be a chance to really make a statement that we're national-title material!" DON'T DO IT. "But to be the best, you've got to — " I know that, honey, but no. It's just not a good idea. Say thank you, you're flattered to be asked, but you've already got a game lined up for that week. Then go schedule Akron and hope nobody notices.

2. LSU — The big "if" coming into the season was whether LSU could survive on defensive depth and a power running game if the QB play was only so-so. Thus far the answer seems to be "Yup, pretty much, got any other dumb questions?"

3. Tennessee — I'm still not convinced Tyler Bray remembers anything about Friday night, but still, that was quite a performance against what was allegedly one of the nation's best secondaries. We'll see if the UT defense can hold up against an actual running game, though.

4. Missouri — Yeah, they only beat a Southland Conference team — and not a particularly good one at that — but they still looked a lot better than most of the other teams in their new division.

5. Georgia — According to Wikipedia, the mainstream feature film with the most frequent use of the F-word is the 1997 drama "Nil by Mouth," in which the word is used once every 18 seconds. By comparison, Todd Grantham's halftime speech to his defense probably hit closer to 10 seconds flat.

6. Arkansas — What the Hogs showed Saturday night was good enough to put away Jax State, and will be good enough to handle Louisiana-Monroe this weekend. Against Alabama in two weeks, it'll get them beat by 30.

7. South Carolina — With Conor Shaw and Marcus Lattimore healthy, this team has the horses to return to the Georgia Dome. With both of them gimpy, they can still manage that, only it'll be for the Chick-fil-A Bowl, not the SEC title game.

8. Mississippi State — Nice performance in their 2012 debut, but they unloaded 50-plus points on last year's opening opponent, too.

9. Auburn — The Tigers' defense didn't have to concern itself with Sammy Watkins and still gave up more than 500 yards; meanwhile, on the other side of the ball, Kiehl Frazier still looked like, well, Kiehl Frazier. If you were looking for reasons Auburn might win more than seven or eight games this year, they didn't provide many.

10. Vanderbilt — I have a feeling Thursday night's game will end up being a microcosm of Vandy's 2012 season — play their asses off, come real close to knocking off some top opponents, still wind up in the Liberty Bowl.

11. Florida — They said Will Muschamp's QB rotation was doomed to fail, but Saturday's performance proves the Gators might very well have what it takes to compete for the MAC title this year.

12. Texas A&M — We didn't get to see the Aggies in action on opening weekend, but we did get to see a bunch of the teams they'll be facing in 2012. And I stand behind my belief that their inaugural year in the SEC is not going to be kind.

13. Ole Miss — The good news: The Rebels mounted quite a comeback against Central Arkansas. The bad news: The Rebels had to mount a comeback against Central Arkansas.

14. Kentucky — Well, based on the Louisville game, we know their on-side kick unit is pretty solid. Unfortunately, it looks like they won't get to use it more than a couple times a game.

Photographs by coka_koehler used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.