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SEC quarterback power rankings: Post-spring edition

Spring practice has come and gone, and now we have to wait three long months before fall camps begin around the SEC.

There’s only so much to take away from spring ball. Many practices are closed, and most spring games aren’t much more than glorified scrimmages. But — and you knew there was a “but” coming — the arrival of summer marks a convenient time to take stock of the talent around the SEC, and in particular the conference’s quarterbacks.

With a couple of exceptions, most of this spring’s SEC quarterback battles offered a good bit of clarity regarding who should start where in 2017. So with that in mind, let’s dive into a set of power rankings.

Tier IV: The unknowns

  • Feleipe Franks, Florida
  • Quinten Dormady, Tennessee
  • Nick Starkel, Texas A&M
  • Kellen Mond, Texas A&M

We haven’t seen any of these guys play a meaningful snap, so I won’t bother putting them in any sort of order.

Dormady, a junior, attempted 39 passes in two seasons as Josh Dobbs’ backup, just about all of which came in garbage time. Still, Dormady emerged as the favorite over 4-star redshirt freshman Jarrett Guarantano following a 10-for-10, 120-yard, 2-TD passing performance in the Vols’ spring game. He profiles as a potentially above-average SEC quarterback.

Franks, a former 4-star prospect with a blue-chip arm to match, made a strong push to lead Florida’s offense following a quality spring game showing. Luke Del Rio will get a chance to reclaim his spot when he returns from injury this fall, but he seems to be behind Franks for now.

Starkel and Mond are both in contention to snag the Aggies’ starting job. Neither has separated himself in the three-way battle with Jake Hubenak so far and, interestingly enough, each features a completely different profile. Starkel signed as a 3-star pocket passer out of small-town Argyle, Texas, in 2016 and redshirted last season. Mond is a 4-star dual-threat who put up big numbers against elite competition at powerhouse IMG Academy in Florida; he has the most potential but is less familiar with the playbook than Starkel.

Tier III: The game managers

12. Jake Hubenak, Texas A&M

For a program that loses quarterbacks left and right, Hubenak was a constant over the past two seasons. He made a couple of spot starts in 2015 after Kyler Murray and Kyle Allen flew the coop, most notably throwing for 307 yards and 2 touchdowns in the bowl loss to Louisville. He also filled in when Trevor Knight was injured last November, and passed for 884 yards and 6 touchdowns in 6 appearances in 2016.

Now a senior, Hubenak has experience but offers far less excitement than his younger competitors. The Aggies know exactly what they have in Hubenak, and given how many reps Starkel and Mond received this spring, you’ve got to think coach Kevin Sumlin would prefer to start one of them over Hubenak if at all possible. He’s not awful; he’s just pretty limited in his skill set.

11. Kyle Shurmur, Vanderbilt

Shumur’s first full season as Vandy starter was not without its ups and downs. On the positive end of the spectrum, the sophomore had 416 yards passing and 2 touchdowns in the upset win over Tennessee. On the “SMH” end of the spectrum, he went 19 of 46 with 3 interceptions in a cringe-inducing bowl loss to North Carolina State. As a whole, his season averaged out to a weary “meh” for Commodores fans.

What can we expect from Shurmur in 2017? He’ll have ball carrier Ralph Webb back along with solid receivers in seniors Trent Sherfield and C.J. Duncan. Three of five offensive line starters will be back as well, so Shurmur has tools at his disposal. But it’s anyone’s guess whether Vandy, which fielded the nation’s 110th-ranked offense last season, can make any sort of significant step forward. Alabama is on the schedule, as is a Kansas State team that was 9-4 in 2016 and the usual SEC East suspects.

10. Stephen Johnson, Kentucky

For a junior college signee who wasn’t even supposed to start, Johnson fared reasonably well for the Wildcats. He didn’t wow us every week, but he did do enough to help Kentucky make its first bowl game in five seasons. A 338-yard, 3-touchdown performance in the Louisville upset along with a 292-yard, 2-touchdown showing against Mississippi State highlighted his pleasantly surprising campaign.

Of course, the Wildcats never had to ask for too much out of Johnson in his junior season. UK’s bread and butter was its running game, and offensive coordinator Eddie Gran squeezed major production out of that group in 2016. Benny Snell and Boom Williams did the heavy lifting; Johnson simply kept defenses somewhat honest and hit the high-percentage throws.

That’s what Gran will hope for again if Drew Barker remains sidelined into the fall. If and when Barker is healthy, he could push Johnson for the starting job.

9. Danny Etling, LSU

It looks like we’ll get one more year of The Danny Etling Experience in Death Valley — don’t get too excited, folks. He’ll serve as a bridge of sorts as LSU tries to develop newly signed blue-chippers Lowell Narcisse and Myles Brennan.

Taking over for Brandon Harris in Week 2, Etling was solid in his first season with the Tigers, completing 59.5 percent of his passes for 2,123 yards, 11 touchdowns and 5 interceptions. Like most of the other guys in this tier, he’s a journeyman with a low ceiling but won’t kill a team with mistakes. With top receivers Malachi Dupre and Travin Dural gone to the NFL and Etling’s limitations, no one should expect Matt Canada to turn this unit into a high-powered passing machine overnight. Derrius Guice power runs will remain the offensive focal point for now.

8. Drew Lock, Missouri

The advent of Josh Heupel’s spread offense certainly helped Lock, who put up 3,399 yards passing and 23 touchdowns as a sophomore. But a closer look at the stat line reminds us that much of his production came against weak opponents (see: Eastern Michigan, Delaware State) or in garbage time, as a horrendous defense often pegged the Tigers to early deficits.

Against his toughest competition — Georgia, LSU and Florida — Lock completed just 47 percent of his passes and threw 6 interceptions. He has the potential to continue improving as a junior, but Mizzou needs to support him on the defensive side; Lock threw 97 passes while his team trailed by 15-plus points last season.

Tier II: The high-upside sophomores

7. Jacob Eason, Georgia

The word out of Georgia spring practice was pretty consistent: Early enrollee Jake Fromm pushed Eason to get better this offseason, much to the delight of Kirby Smart. A former 5-star recruit, Eason played solidly as a true freshman, especially considering the team’s blocking woes, but there were also noticeable growing pains as Eason transitioned from a shotgun-reliant high school system to Jim Chaney’s pro-style scheme.

Now Bulldogs fans will expect tangible growth out of Eason, and with a pretty manageable schedule, that’s not out of the question. Georgia added big bodies up front during the 2017 recruiting cycle, and the skill positions sport talented targets including Riley Ridley, Javon Wims and Isaac Nauta. Oh, yeah, and those two running backs Georgia has are pretty good too. Eason and Jim Chaney just have to bring them all together.

6. Jarrett Stidham, Auburn

The Stidham hype train picked up a dangerous amount of speed in recent weeks. Did he have a nice spring game? Yes. Is he better than the other quarterbacks on Auburn’s roster? Without question. But he also has all of three career games under his belt, so I’m certainly not putting him in the top three.

What Stidham does have is a 4-star pedigree, along with a strong supporting cast surrounding him. If he even puts together a respectable first year on the Plains, Auburn could be the team best-equipped to unseat Alabama in the SEC West.

5. Shea Patterson, Ole Miss

Don’t let Patterson’s November struggles fool you. He spent most of last season working with the scout team offense — the plan had been to keep him redshirted all year — and as a result he had precious little time to build rapport with the Rebels receiving corps. Now, with a full offseason under his belt, Patterson is much more comfortable and could be poised for a big year.

Ole Miss sports young studs at wide receiver like Van Jefferson, A.J. Brown and D.K. Metcalf, all of whom should make Patterson’s first year as starter much easier. Another big reason for excitement is Phil Longo’s Air Raid offense, which produced video-game-like numbers at Sam Houston State. Patterson should thrive in that system.

4. Jake Bentley, South Carolina

Perhaps the least-hyped high school recruit of any sophomore mentioned here, Bentley surprised some folks when he chose to skip his senior year and enroll early at South Carolina. He went on to unseat fellow freshman Brandon McIlwain under center and completed almost 66 percent of his passes for 1,420 yards and 9 touchdowns in 7 games.

Most impressive in all of this was the poise and touch that Bentley displayed in many of those games. He has a talented cast of targets at his disposal, highlighted by Deebo Samuel and Hayden Hurst, and might be the most underrated quarterback in the conference right now. The Tennessee upset showed us just what Bentley is capable of accomplishing under center.

Tier I: The SEC elites

3. Nick Fitzgerald, Mississippi State

Fitzgerald’s spring game might’ve looked awful on paper, but it’s worth remembering he was missing most of his first-team offense. He pretty much used the afternoon to chuck a few balls deep and get MSU’s younger receivers some live scrimmage looks.

Looking ahead to this fall, there’s plenty of reason to like Fitzgerald. A rising junior, he has already established himself as a very dangerous runner — his 1,375 yards rushing ranked third nationally among quarterbacks, and his 16 touchdowns ranked fourth. He didn’t blow the competition away as a passer, but if he can improve his accuracy and continue refining his throwing mechanics, the Bulldogs quarterback has a chance to earn All-SEC honors this fall.

2. Jalen Hurts, Alabama

Like Fitzgerald, we know Hurts can run the ball. He has one heck of an arm, too, but as the season wore on we saw opposing defenses adjust to the star freshman’s tendencies and keep him contained. LSU, Florida, Washington and Clemson all held Hurts under 200 yards passing.

Did Lane Kiffin coddle Hurts too much, as Nick Saban recently implied? Or did Hurts simply fail to get better? Regardless, his debut season makes him one of the best true freshman quarterbacks of all time, and the thought of an improved Hurts in 2017 has to terrify the rest of the SEC.

1. Austin Allen, Arkansas

This’ll probably rile up the Crimson Tide fans but, let’s be honest, Hurts had and continues to have a lot of help around him.

The Arkansas offense has its share of weapons, too, but that defense was awful and the pass protection wasn’t much better. Those circumstances put way more pressure on Allen to win with his arm than Hurts ever had to face, with exception to the national title game. And speaking of Alabama, Allen was one of just three quarterbacks to pass for 400-plus yards against the Tide last year (the other two were Chad Kelly and Deshaun Watson).

Allen’s arm might be the most accurate in the SEC, and he has tremendous pocket presence. Just take a look at this game-tying drive he orchestrated at TCU in only his second career start. You can’t teach that type of composure. He led the conference in passing attempts, passing yards and yards per attempt, and looked dang good doing it.

The post SEC quarterback power rankings: Post-spring edition appeared first on SEC Country.

Alec Shirkey – SEC Country

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2017 SEC Country Power Poll: Where Texas A&M is ranked (Week 5)

Texas A&M-Aggies-power-poll

Texas A&M has done a nice job turning things around after blowing a huge lead in the season-opening loss to UCLA.

The Aggies have won four games in a row after rallying in the second half to beat South Carolina on Saturday night in College Station, Texas. At 4-1 overall and 2-0 in the SEC, the Aggies have momentum — and what better time to have it with top-ranked Alabama coming to town this Saturday?

With its fourth consecutive win, Texas A&M moved up three places to No. 5 in the Week 5 SEC Country Power Poll. The 27 voters placed them behind No. 1 Alabama, Georgia, Auburn and Florida.

Imagine what it might look like if Texas A&M hadn’t squandered a 44-10 lead against UCLA in the season opener only to lose, 45-44? The Aggies would be 5-0 and the game against Alabama this Saturday would look more intriguing than it does.

Quarterback Kellen Mond has completed 54.8 percent of his passes for 808 yards with 6 TDs and 2 interceptions, and he continues looking more comfortable as the starting quarterback after being thrust into action against UCLA. He also has 252 rushing yards (4.9 per carry) with a touchdown.

The Aggies’ next four games are against SEC competition, extending a streak of six consecutive games against conference opponents. They play Alabama at 7:15 p.m. ET at Kyle Field on Saturday. Following that date with the top-ranked Crimson Tide, Texas A&M travels to Gainesville to play Florida on Oct. 14. After an off week, the Aggies get Mississippi State (Oct. 28) and Auburn (Nov. 4) at Kyle Field.

Alabama received all 27 first-place votes this week, as it has every week this season, after dismantling Ole Miss, 66-3, on Saturday in Tuscaloosa, Ala.

Check back here every Sunday for the latest installment of the SEC Country Power Poll.

Your Week 5 Power Poll rankings

Results are below:

RANK TEAM POINTS 1ST PLACE
VOTES
PREV HIGH
VOTE
LOW
VOTE
1 Alabama (13 – 1) 351 27 1 1 1
2 Georgia (13 – 2) 322 0 2 2 3
3 Auburn (10 – 4) 298 0 3 2 4
4 Florida (4 – 7) 265 0 4 4 5
5 Texas A&M (7 – 6) 223 0 8 4 13
6 Kentucky (7 – 6) 200 0 7 4 12
7 Mississippi State (9 – 4) 191 0 5 4 9
8 South Carolina (9 – 4) 135 0 11 7 13
9 Arkansas (4 – 8) 128 0 12 3 13
10 LSU (9 – 4) 115 0 6 7 13
11 Vanderbilt (5 – 7) 93 0 9 7 14
12 Tennessee (4 – 8) 81 0 10 6 13
13 Ole Miss (6 – 6) 49 0 13 7 14
14 Missouri (7 – 6) 6 0 14 9 14

This week’s voters:

Alex Hickey (SEC Country)
Alex Martin Smith (SEC Country)
Andrew Astleford (SEC Country)
Ben Wolk (SEC Country)
Blake Morgan
Brandon Walker (SEC Country)
Chip Towers (DawgNation)
Chris Kirschner (SEC Country)
Christopher Walsh (SEC Country)
Eric Bolin (SEC Country)
Joe Mussatto (SEC Country)
Jordan Mcpherson (SEC Country)
Justin Ferguson (SEC Country)
Ken Bradley (SEC Country)
Kyle Tucker (SEC Country)
Lauren Shute (SEC Country)
Marq Burnett (SEC Country)
Mike Bambach
Mike Griffith (SEC Country)
Nick Suss
Pete Scantlebury
Ryan Young
Sam Spiegelman
Seth Emerson (DawgNation)
Thomas Neumann (SEC Country)
Trent Shadid (SEC Country)
Zach Abolverdi (SEC Country)

The post 2017 SEC Country Power Poll: Where Texas A&M is ranked (Week 5) appeared first on SEC Country.

Ken Bradley – SEC Country

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2017 SEC Country Power Poll: Where Mississippi State is ranked (Week 5)

mississippi state-nick fitzgerald-2018 season

After reaching a high of No. 3 in the SEC Country Power Poll several weeks ago, Mississippi State is out of the top 5 following a 49-10 pounding at Auburn on Saturday night, the Bulldogs’ second straight loss.

Auburn jumped on Mississippi State (3-2, 1-2 SEC) early and didn’t let up with a balanced offense that put up near-identical numbers in passing (267) and rushing (244). The Bulldogs didn’t do themselves any favors with 10 penalties, including seven false starts that seemed to always come on third-and-short.

“I don’t think it’s time to panic. I don’t think we need to press,” Mississippi State quarterback Nick Fitzgerald said after the game. “I don’t think we need to be frustrated. We just need to come out and focus on ourselves. When practicing, we really need to focus on a lot of individual drills, work on some techniques so they know what will get them through game weeks, and get some younger guys some reps.”

The Bulldogs fell two spots to No. 7 in the latest SEC Country Power Poll, released Sunday. The 27 voters placed the Bulldogs as high as fourth and as low as ninth. The top 5 is comprised of Alabama, Georgia, Auburn, Florida and Texas A&M. As they have every week this season, the Crimson Tide received every first-place vote.

Mississippi State gets a week off to figure out things after being outscored a combined 80-13 against Auburn and Georgia the last two games. When the Bulldogs return to action Oct. 14, they’ll do so at home against BYU before returning to SEC play on Oct. 21 against Kentucky.

“The big plays really hurt today on the defensive side of the ball,” coach Dan Mullen said after the game. “There were some missed opportunities on the offensive side. Last week I don’t think we played well. I’m anxious to see the film this week to see if we played better than last week, but just missed some plays. If that’s the case then we’ll take a look and try to get that fixed. If we played worse than that’ll just be disappointing that we didn’t get better.”

Check back here every Sunday for the latest installment of the SEC Country Power Poll.

Your Week 5 Power Poll rankings

Results are below:

RANK TEAM POINTS 1ST PLACE
VOTES
PREV HIGH
VOTE
LOW
VOTE
1 Alabama (13 – 1) 351 27 1 1 1
2 Georgia (13 – 2) 322 0 2 2 3
3 Auburn (10 – 4) 298 0 3 2 4
4 Florida (4 – 7) 265 0 4 4 5
5 Texas A&M (7 – 6) 223 0 8 4 13
6 Kentucky (7 – 6) 200 0 7 4 12
7 Mississippi State (9 – 4) 191 0 5 4 9
8 South Carolina (9 – 4) 135 0 11 7 13
9 Arkansas (4 – 8) 128 0 12 3 13
10 LSU (9 – 4) 115 0 6 7 13
11 Vanderbilt (5 – 7) 93 0 9 7 14
12 Tennessee (4 – 8) 81 0 10 6 13
13 Ole Miss (6 – 6) 49 0 13 7 14
14 Missouri (7 – 6) 6 0 14 9 14

This week’s voters:

Alex Hickey (SEC Country)
Alex Martin Smith (SEC Country)
Andrew Astleford (SEC Country)
Ben Wolk (SEC Country)
Blake Morgan
Brandon Walker (SEC Country)
Chip Towers (DawgNation)
Chris Kirschner (SEC Country)
Christopher Walsh (SEC Country)
Eric Bolin (SEC Country)
Joe Mussatto (SEC Country)
Jordan Mcpherson (SEC Country)
Justin Ferguson (SEC Country)
Ken Bradley (SEC Country)
Kyle Tucker (SEC Country)
Lauren Shute (SEC Country)
Marq Burnett (SEC Country)
Mike Bambach
Mike Griffith (SEC Country)
Nick Suss
Pete Scantlebury
Ryan Young
Sam Spiegelman
Seth Emerson (DawgNation)
Thomas Neumann (SEC Country)
Trent Shadid (SEC Country)
Zach Abolverdi (SEC Country)

The post 2017 SEC Country Power Poll: Where Mississippi State is ranked (Week 5) appeared first on SEC Country.

Ken Bradley – SEC Country

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2017 SEC Country Power Poll: Where Mississippi State is ranked (Week 7)

Mississippi State Bulldogs-football-BYU

Nick Fitzgerald threw for 2 touchdown passes and ran for 2 more as Mississippi State returned after its bye week and a pair of lopsided losses to handle BYU at home, 35-10.

The victory was a nice bounce-back after the Bulldogs began the season 3-0 before being upended in back-to-back games against Georgia and Auburn by a combined 67 points.

“Overall, I like the performance our guys came out with despite coming off a bye week and the early kickoff,” Mississippi State coach Dan Mullen said after the win. “BYU is a team we talked about being very physical on both lines of scrimmage. I thought we came out and played hard on defense. We made plays; holding them to 10 points. We were able to control the line of scrimmage on offense and wear them down.”

It was an all-around performance Saturday in Starkville. The Bulldogs piled up 546 yards of offense — 306 rushing and 240 passing — while they allowed just 8 first downs and 176 yards on defense. Aeris Williams ran for 114 yards and had a 5-yard TD run, while Keith Mixon had 69 receiving yards and Donald Gray hauled in 4 passes for 41 yards and a 9-yard touchdown.

BYU was held to seven possessions of 3 plays or fewer and nine that totaled 4 plays or fewer.

The Bulldogs (4-2, 1-2 SEC) improved one spot in the SEC Country Power Poll this week. The 25 voters moved them up to No. 6 this week, replacing Florida, which fell to No. 8 after losing to Texas A&M.

Alabama retained the top spot with all 25 first-place votes and was followed by Georgia. Auburn remained third despite losing at LSU, Texas A&M is fourth and LSU sits one spot ahead of Mississippi State.

Check back here every Sunday for the latest installment of the SEC Country Power Poll.

Your Week 7 Power Poll rankings

Results are below:

RANK TEAM POINTS 1ST PLACE
VOTES
PREV HIGH
VOTE
LOW
VOTE
1 Alabama (13 – 1) 325 25 1 1 1
2 Georgia (13 – 2) 300 0 2 2 2
3 Auburn (10 – 4) 255 0 3 3 5
4 Texas A&M (7 – 6) 253 0 4 3 7
5 LSU (9 – 4) 231 0 5 3 7
6 Mississippi State (9 – 4) 179 0 7 4 12
7 Kentucky (7 – 6) 165 0 8 6 9
8 Florida (4 – 7) 161 0 6 6 9
9 South Carolina (9 – 4) 151 0 9 6 10
10 Ole Miss (6 – 6) 77 0 13 9 13
11 Tennessee (4 – 8) 67 0 10 10 14
12 Arkansas (4 – 8) 65 0 12 9 13
13 Vanderbilt (5 – 7) 32 0 11 10 14
14 Missouri (7 – 6) 14 0 14 10 14

This week’s voters:

Alex Hickey (SEC Country)
Alex Martin Smith (SEC Country)
Andrew Astleford (SEC Country)
Ben Wolk (SEC Country)
Blake Morgan
Brandon Walker (SEC Country)
Chris Kirschner (SEC Country)
Christopher Walsh (SEC Country)
Eric Bolin (SEC Country)
Hale McGranahan (SEC Country)
Jeff Sentell (DawgNation)
Joe Mussatto (SEC Country)
Jordan Mcpherson (SEC Country)
Justin Ferguson (SEC Country)
Ken Bradley (SEC Country)
Marq Burnett (SEC Country)
Mike Bambach
Mike Griffith (SEC Country)
Nick Suss
Pete Scantlebury
Ryan Young
Sam Spiegelman
Thomas Neumann (SEC Country)
Trent Shadid (SEC Country)
Zach Abolverdi (SEC Country)

The post 2017 SEC Country Power Poll: Where Mississippi State is ranked (Week 7) appeared first on SEC Country.

Ken Bradley – SEC Country

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2017 SEC Country Power Poll: Where Texas A&M is ranked (Week 8)

Christian Kirk-Texas A&M Aggies-Belk Bowl

After four consecutive weeks of tooth-and-nail SEC games, Texas A&M got a rest this week before jumping back into conference play Saturday.

Last week, the Aggies won at Florida, 19-17, one week after giving No. 1 Alabama its toughest game of the season in a 27-19 setback. Texas A&M previously beat South Carolina, 24-17, and outlasted Arkansas in overtime, 50-43.

After climbing to fourth in the SEC Country Power Poll rankings last week, the Aggies held on to that spot barely as LSU closed the gap. The two are now tied at No. 4. With its 40-24 win against Ole Miss, LSU pulled even with the Aggies sitting out this week. The 25 SEC Country Power Poll voters had A&M voted as high as third and no lower than seventh.

RELATED: How about an apology for Texas A&M coach Kevin Sumlin?

The top three teams remained the same with Alabama occupying No. 1 as it has all season, followed by Georgia and Auburn.

The Aggies (5-2, 3-1 in SEC) are led by freshman quarterback Kellen Mond. Mond was throw to the fire in the Week 1 loss at UCLA when starting QB Nick Starkel went down with an injury. The freshman is completing 53.6 percent of his passes for 1,225 yards, 7 touchdowns and 4 interceptions. He’s also run the ball 80 times for 318 yards and 3 TDs.

Trayveon Williams leads A&M in rushing with 440 yards (4.8 yards per carry, 5 touchdowns) and Keith Ford (343 yards, 4.5 yards per carry) is the team leader with 7 rushing scores.

Dynamic receiver/kicker returner Christian Kirk has been Mond’s favorite target. He has 29 receptions for 360 yards and a team-best 5 touchdown receptions. Kirk also averages 26.9 yards on kickoff returns and has a 100-yard return for a TD this season. As a punt returner, Kirk averages 11.4 yards per return on 5 returns.

Texas A&M plays Mississippi State on Saturday at Kyle Field in College Station, Texas, and then gets Auburn at home on Saturday, Nov. 4.

Check back here every Sunday for the latest installment of the SEC Country Power Poll.

Your Week 8 Power Poll rankings

Results are below:

RANK TEAM POINTS 1ST PLACE
VOTES
PREV HIGH
VOTE
LOW
VOTE
1 Alabama (13 – 1) 325 25 1 1 1
2 Georgia (13 – 2) 299 0 2 2 3
3 Auburn (10 – 4) 263 0 3 2 5
4 LSU (9 – 4) 232 0 5 3 7
5 Texas A&M (7 – 6) 232 0 4 3 7
6 Mississippi State (9 – 4) 215 0 6 4 9
7 Florida (4 – 7) 174 0 8 5 8
8 South Carolina (9 – 4) 142 0 9 6 10
9 Kentucky (7 – 6) 140 0 7 7 9
10 Tennessee (4 – 8) 76 0 11 10 13
11 Ole Miss (6 – 6) 72 0 10 10 14
12 Arkansas (4 – 8) 51 0 12 8 14
13 Vanderbilt (5 – 7) 47 0 13 9 14
14 Missouri (7 – 6) 7 0 14 12 14

This week’s voters:

Alex Hickey (SEC Country)
Alex Martin Smith (SEC Country)
Andrew Astleford (SEC Country)
Blake Morgan
Brandon Walker (SEC Country)
Chris Kirschner (SEC Country)
Christopher Walsh (SEC Country)
Eric Bolin (SEC Country)
Jeff Sentell (DawgNation)
Joe Mussatto (SEC Country)
Jordan Mcpherson (SEC Country)
Justin Ferguson (SEC Country)
Ken Bradley (SEC Country)
Marq Burnett (SEC Country)
Mike Bambach
Mike Griffith (SEC Country)
Nick Suss
Pete Scantlebury
Ryan Young
Sam Spiegelman
Sam Spiegelman
Seth Emerson (DawgNation)
Thomas Neumann (SEC Country)
Trent Shadid (SEC Country)
Zach Abolverdi (SEC Country)

The post 2017 SEC Country Power Poll: Where Texas A&M is ranked (Week 8) appeared first on SEC Country.

Ken Bradley – SEC Country

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2017 SEC Country Power Poll: Where Mississippi State is ranked (Week 8)

Mississippi-State-Nick-Fitzgerald-quarterback-Kentucky-SEC-Player of the Week

Nick Fitzgerald was on his game Saturday against Kentucky in Starkville.

The Mississippi State quarterback ran for 115 yards with touchdown runs of 3 and 40 yards, and he threw for 155 yards and a 10-yard TD toss as the Bulldogs routed the Wildcats, 45-7. On the season, Fitzgerald has 569 rushing yards and 9 touchdowns and is completing 56.9 percent of his passes for 1,169 yards, 11 TDs and 7 interceptions.

“I thought he did a really good job. He made some great plays. I think he missed a couple,” Mississippi State coach Dan Mullen said of Fitzgerald after the game. “I told him it was one of those six-to-12 inch days. He had great reads, great checks, got us into the right plays. He managed the game.

“On a couple of throws we were about six to 12 inches off. In fact, you could take that ball and move it about six to 12 inches in a different direction and he probably would’ve had a couple more touchdown passes. I think that is the consistency and performance that he continues to improve on, but I was pleased with his decision and play making all day.”

The Bulldogs improved to 5-2 overall and 2-2 in the SEC after the win. They remained No. 6 in the Week 8 SEC Country Power Poll. The 25 voters awarded Mississippi State 215 total votes — LSU and Texas A&M tied for fourth place just in front of the Bulldogs with 232 votes.

The top 5: Alabama, Georgia, Auburn, LSU and A&M.

Mississippi State has a chance to move up next Saturday when it travels to College Station, Texas, to take on Texas A&M (Saturday, Oct. 28, 7:15 p.m. ET). The two teams have split their past four meetings. The Bulldogs won last season in Starkville, 35-28, and the Aggies won at Kyle Field in 2015, 30-17. This is just the 11th meeting between the two, and A&M has won the only two games in College Station.

Check back here every Sunday for the latest installment of the SEC Country Power Poll.

Your Week 8 Power Poll rankings

Results are below:

RANK TEAM POINTS 1ST PLACE
VOTES
PREV HIGH
VOTE
LOW
VOTE
1 Alabama (13 – 1) 325 25 1 1 1
2 Georgia (13 – 2) 299 0 2 2 3
3 Auburn (10 – 4) 263 0 3 2 5
4 LSU (9 – 4) 232 0 5 3 7
5 Texas A&M (7 – 6) 232 0 4 3 7
6 Mississippi State (9 – 4) 215 0 6 4 9
7 Florida (4 – 7) 174 0 8 5 8
8 South Carolina (9 – 4) 142 0 9 6 10
9 Kentucky (7 – 6) 140 0 7 7 9
10 Tennessee (4 – 8) 76 0 11 10 13
11 Ole Miss (6 – 6) 72 0 10 10 14
12 Arkansas (4 – 8) 51 0 12 8 14
13 Vanderbilt (5 – 7) 47 0 13 9 14
14 Missouri (7 – 6) 7 0 14 12 14

This week’s voters:

Alex Hickey (SEC Country)
Alex Martin Smith (SEC Country)
Andrew Astleford (SEC Country)
Blake Morgan
Brandon Walker (SEC Country)
Chris Kirschner (SEC Country)
Christopher Walsh (SEC Country)
Eric Bolin (SEC Country)
Jeff Sentell (DawgNation)
Joe Mussatto (SEC Country)
Jordan Mcpherson (SEC Country)
Justin Ferguson (SEC Country)
Ken Bradley (SEC Country)
Marq Burnett (SEC Country)
Mike Bambach
Mike Griffith (SEC Country)
Nick Suss
Pete Scantlebury
Ryan Young
Sam Spiegelman
Sam Spiegelman
Seth Emerson (DawgNation)
Thomas Neumann (SEC Country)
Trent Shadid (SEC Country)
Zach Abolverdi (SEC Country)

The post 2017 SEC Country Power Poll: Where Mississippi State is ranked (Week 8) appeared first on SEC Country.

Ken Bradley – SEC Country

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2017 SEC Country Power Poll: Where Texas A&M is ranked (Week 9)

Kevin Sumlin-Texas A&M football

Texas A&M fell behind by 21 points and never threatened Saturday night at home against Mississippi State.

The result was a disappointing 35-14 loss that put an abrupt halt to a run of 5 wins in 6 games with the lone loss being an 8-point setback to top-ranked Alabama.

SEC Country Power Poll voters didn’t ding the Aggies too much — they dropped from fifth to sixth this week — but where the voters hurt Texas A&M most was in the gap between the Aggies and No. 5 Mississippi State. There is a clear separation between the top 5 teams and the rest.

Texas A&M was voted as high as No. 5 and as low as No. 8.

Things went poorly from the start Saturday against Mississippi State. The Aggies were outrushed 228-96 and outgained in total offense 369 to 285. Aggies quarterback Kellen Mond struggled the most he has since the season opener against UCLA when he was thrust into action. He completed 8-of-26 passes against MSU for 56 yards and 2 interceptions. Nick Starkel relieved him and threw for 133 yards with a TD pass and an interception.

This week doesn’t get easier. Auburn (6-2) visits College Station. The Tigers moved up from 19th to 16th in this week’s AP Top 25. Auburn sits at No. 3 in the SEC Country Power Poll, behind No. 2 Georgia and No. 1 Alabama. LSU and Mississippi State round out the top 5.

Check back here every Sunday for the latest installment of the SEC Country Power Poll.

Your Week 9 Power Poll rankings

Results are below:

RANK TEAM POINTS 1ST PLACE
VOTES
PREV HIGH
VOTE
LOW
VOTE
1 Alabama (13 – 1) 334 22 1 1 2
2 Georgia (13 – 2) 316 4 2 1 2
3 Auburn (10 – 4) 280 0 3 3 4
4 LSU (9 – 4) 250 0 4 3 6
5 Mississippi State (9 – 4) 247 0 6 4 6
6 Texas A&M (7 – 6) 198 0 5 5 8
7 South Carolina (9 – 4) 175 0 8 5 9
8 Kentucky (7 – 6) 162 0 9 6 10
9 Florida (4 – 7) 127 0 7 7 11
10 Arkansas (4 – 8) 98 0 12 7 13
11 Ole Miss (6 – 6) 63 0 11 10 14
12 Tennessee (4 – 8) 54 0 10 10 14
13 Vanderbilt (5 – 7) 38 0 13 9 14
14 Missouri (7 – 6) 24 0 14 9 14

This week’s voters:

Alex Hickey (SEC Country)
Alex Martin Smith (SEC Country)
Andrew Astleford (SEC Country)
Ben Wolk (SEC Country)
Blake Morgan
Brandon Walker (SEC Country)
Chip Towers (DawgNation)
Chris Kirschner (SEC Country)
Christopher Walsh (SEC Country)
Eric Bolin (SEC Country)
Hale McGranahan (SEC Country)
Joe Mussatto (SEC Country)
Jordan Mcpherson (SEC Country)
Justin Ferguson (SEC Country)
Ken Bradley (SEC Country)
Lauren Shute (SEC Country)
Marq Burnett (SEC Country)
Mike Bambach
Nick Suss
Pete Scantlebury
Ryan Young
Sam Spiegelman
Seth Emerson (DawgNation)
Thomas Neumann (SEC Country)
Trent Shadid (SEC Country)
Zach Abolverdi (SEC Country)

The post 2017 SEC Country Power Poll: Where Texas A&M is ranked (Week 9) appeared first on SEC Country.

Ken Bradley – SEC Country

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2017 SEC Country Power Poll: Where Mississippi State is ranked (Week 10)

Mississippi State-football-podcast-taxslayer bowl

Nick Fitzgerald scored touchdowns on 8- and 10-yard runs in the third quarter, and that proved to be what put Mississippi State over the top Saturday in its 34-23 win against a UMass team that proved much tougher than expected.

“With college football being how it is today, if you don’t bring your A-game, there’s a chance you’re going to put yourself at jeopardy,” Mississippi State coach Dan Mullen said. “I don’t think for the whole game today that we brought our A-game.”

But it was enough to convince voters in this week’s SEC Country Power Poll to lift the Bulldogs over LSU. Mississippi State (7-2) is No. 4 this week, nudging its way ahead of LSU (6-3), which lost to Alabama, 24-10, on Saturday.

This week, the Bulldogs get their chance to prove how they stack up with the league’s elite when they host Alabama in Starkville. Mississippi State’s first two run-ins with top teams in the league didn’t turn out well — a 31-3 loss at Georgia and 49-10 loss at Auburn — but the Bulldogs do own a 37-7 win against LSU.

Alabama is No. 1 in the SEC Country Power Poll — as it has been since the first week of the season. Georgia is second, followed by Auburn and LSU is fifth.

After playing Alabama this Saturday, Mississippi State plays at Arkansas on Saturday, Nov. 11, and finishes the regular season against rival Ole Miss on Thursday, Nov. 23, in the Egg Bowl.

Check back here every Sunday for the latest installment of the SEC Country Power Poll.

Your Week 10 Power Poll rankings

Results are below:

RANK TEAM POINTS 1ST PLACE
VOTES
PREV HIGH
VOTE
LOW
VOTE
1 Alabama (13 – 1) 295 19 1 1 2
2 Georgia (13 – 2) 280 4 2 1 2
3 Auburn (10 – 4) 253 0 3 3 3
4 Mississippi State (9 – 4) 221 0 5 4 6
5 LSU (9 – 4) 214 0 4 4 6
6 South Carolina (9 – 4) 177 0 7 5 8
7 Texas A&M (7 – 6) 163 0 6 6 8
8 Kentucky (7 – 6) 130 0 8 6 11
9 Ole Miss (6 – 6) 102 0 11 8 14
10 Missouri (7 – 6) 81 0 14 8 13
11 Florida (4 – 7) 58 0 9 7 14
12 Tennessee (4 – 8) 48 0 12 9 14
13 Vanderbilt (5 – 7) 36 0 13 8 14
14 Arkansas (4 – 8) 35 0 10 9 14

This week’s voters:

Alex Hickey (SEC Country)
Alex Martin Smith (SEC Country)
Andrew Astleford (SEC Country)
Ben Wolk (SEC Country)
Blake Morgan
Brandon Walker (SEC Country)
Chris Kirschner (SEC Country)
Christopher Walsh (SEC Country)
Eric Bolin (SEC Country)
Joe Mussatto (SEC Country)
Jordan Mcpherson (SEC Country)
Justin Ferguson (SEC Country)
Ken Bradley (SEC Country)
Marq Burnett (SEC Country)
Mike Bambach
Mike Griffith (SEC Country)
Pete Scantlebury
Ryan Young
Sam Spiegelman
Seth Emerson (DawgNation)
Thomas Neumann (SEC Country)
Trent Shadid (SEC Country)
Zach Abolverdi (SEC Country)

The post 2017 SEC Country Power Poll: Where Mississippi State is ranked (Week 10) appeared first on SEC Country.

Ken Bradley – SEC Country

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Ranking the Power 5 conferences after National Signing Day

SEC-National Signing Day-Power 5-Nick Saban

It’s a question that gets brought up whenever media types discuss College Football Playoff rankings or examine bowl records.Which conference is the best in college football?

After the 2017 season, it’s easy to say the SEC, given the All-SEC national title game, along with Auburn beating both teams. The Big Ten has a case to make, as it went 7-1 in bowl games with the lone loss coming because of Michigan and Jim Harbaugh. The ACC saw one its traditional powers falter, Florida State, and yet there were still two teams alive (Clemson and Miami) for the College Football Playoff in the final week of the regular season.

Related: Updated 2018 college football recruiting team and conference rankings

So with another major checkpoint, National Signing Day, reached in the college football off-season, it’s time to reexamine where each conference ranks in regards to each other. And while these might not mean much now, people will  hammer the strength of each conference when it comes time to debate whether or not a team belongs in the College Football Playoff.

1. Big Ten

The Big Ten got shut out of the College Football Playoff in 2017, but it was almost more because everyone beat everyone, rather than the conference lacking an elite team. And there’s an argument that the conference will be better in 2018. Ohio State and Penn State both secured top-5 recruiting classes, and Michigan, Wisconsin and Michigan State bring back a ton of returning talent. There’s a world in which the Big Ten has 5 of the top 10 teams in the first AP Poll come the fall. And while it’s hard to see them getting two teams into the playoff like the SEC, the top end of the conference is a clear-cut above that of the SEC.

2. SEC

As proven by the 2018 recruiting rankings, Alabama and Georgia are clearly a step above everyone else the conference. There’s a very good chance that both teams could get into the College Football Playoff once again, and 10 months out, the 2018 SEC Championship game certainly looks like a probable College Football Playoff play-in game. But the rest of the conference doesn’t quite stack up to the top cut of the Big Ten. Auburn loses a lot from last year’s team, and LSU might struggle given next year’s schedule and the questions about its offense. We don’t know how new Mississippi State coach Joe Moorhead will look and Florida and Tennessee were total trainwrecks in 2017 and seem at least a year away. Given the instability that came as result of the many coaching changes, the SEC likely won’t be able to claim it is the top conference in college football next year.

3. ACC

Clemson is still going to be excellent in 2018 and will very likely make the College Football Playoff once again. Miami should still be a team that wins 10 games and if things break the right way, possibly contend for a playoff spot. Florida State can’t possibly be as bad as it was a season ago, when it went 7-6. While the top of the conference isn’t as good as the SEC and the Big Ten, it might be the best in terms of quality from top to bottom.

4. Big 12

Oklahoma is going to take a step back after losing a player as talented as Baker Mayfield, even if Kyler Murray proves to be a capable replacement. Texas won only seven games last year and still seems like a year away, despite bringing in the Big 12’s top recruiting class. West Virginia could be fun, but can we really take them seriously. TCU has to replace a lot on offense, as does Oklahoma State. The Big 12 certainly looks like a league that could possibly miss out on the playoff. Oklahoma is the only team from the conference to make the playoffs so far, and there’s a decent chance that is still true after the 2018 season.

5. Pac-12

Whether it be top-end talent, or possible playoff teams, the Pac-12 is clearly at the bottom. Washington is the conference’s only serious playoff contender. Stanford and USC both could make runs, but each school has to replace a lot production — Stanford on defense, USC on offense. UCLA and Arizona could be on the upswing given their coaching changes, but for 2018 ,the conference as a whole seems a step behind the other Power 5 conferences.

The post Ranking the Power 5 conferences after National Signing Day appeared first on SEC Country.

Connor Riley – SEC Country

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2017 SEC Country Power Poll: Where Mississippi State is ranked (Week 14)

Nick Fitzgerald-Mississippi-State-Bulldogs-quarterback-surgery

Mississippi State knows how to put disappointment in the rearview mirror.

After losing star quarterback Nick Fitzgerald to injury in the first quarter against Ole Miss in the Egg Bowl, then losing to the Rebels in the Egg Bowl and then losing its head coach, Mississippi State is full speed ahead.

That’s right, just days after Dan Mullen left Starkville to become head coach at Florida, the Bulldogs found their replacement in Penn State offensive coordinator Joe Moorhead and received their invitation to the TaxSlayer Bowl in Jacksonville.

With the regular season complete, Mississippi State finds itself ranked No. 5 in the final SEC Country Power Poll. With the SEC Championship Game the only league game played this weekend, the Bulldogs remained where they were last week with a high vote of fourth and low of ninth.

Georgia took over the top spot for the first time this season, ahead of No. 2 Auburn, Alabama and LSU.

Mississippi State (8-4) meets Louisville on Dec. 30 (12 p.m., ESPN) at EverBank Field. Moorhead will not coach the team. Instead, running backs/special teams coordinator Greg Knox will be the team’s interim coach for the matchup.

“Our group of seniors is one victory away from tying the school record for wins by a senior class,” Knox said on the Mississippi State athletics site. “We look forward to seeing our Bulldog family turn out in Jacksonville as we play in a Florida bowl for the fifth time in eight seasons.”

Your Week 14 Power Poll rankings

Results are below:

RANK TEAM POINTS 1ST PLACE
VOTES
PREV HIGH
VOTE
LOW
VOTE
1 Georgia (12 – 1) 260 20 3 1 1
2 Auburn (10 – 3) 232 0 1 2 3
3 Alabama (11 – 1) 228 0 2 2 3
4 LSU (9 – 3) 198 0 4 4 5
5 Mississippi State (8 – 4) 172 0 5 4 9
6 South Carolina (8 – 4) 150 0 6 5 12
7 Texas A&M (7 – 5) 137 0 7 5 10
8 Missouri (7 – 5) 121 0 8 5 10
9 Kentucky (7 – 5) 105 0 9 8 11
10 Ole Miss (6 – 6) 85 0 10 8 11
11 Florida (4 – 7) 62 0 11 6 13
12 Arkansas (4 – 8) 43 0 12 7 14
13 Vanderbilt (5 – 7) 23 0 13 12 14
14 Tennessee (4 – 8) 4 0 14 12 14

This week’s voters:

Alex Hickey (SEC Country)
Alex Martin Smith (SEC Country)
Andrew Astleford (SEC Country)
Ben Wolk (SEC Country)
Blake Morgan
Brandon Walker (SEC Country)
Christopher Walsh (SEC Country)
Eric Bolin (SEC Country)
Hale McGranahan (SEC Country)
Joe Mussatto (SEC Country)
Jordan Mcpherson (SEC Country)
Justin Ferguson (SEC Country)
Ken Bradley (SEC Country)
Marq Burnett (SEC Country)
Pete Scantlebury
Ryan Young
Sam Spiegelman
Thomas Neumann (SEC Country)
Trent Shadid (SEC Country)
Zach Abolverdi (SEC Country)

The post 2017 SEC Country Power Poll: Where Mississippi State is ranked (Week 14) appeared first on SEC Country.

Ken Bradley – SEC Country