Well, we’ve got one college football Saturday under our belt, and Texas A&M football fans have got to be happy with the way the Aggies looked in their opener. Casting an eye around the division, however, it would seem that they are not the only ones who feel that way. There were some big wins—and one notable loss, of course. Let’s go ahead and dive into the power rankings for the SEC West after week one!
Holding steady at seventh, I have the Mississippi State Bulldogs. A 48-7 victory over Southeastern Louisiana doesn’t do much to dissuade me from my opinion that there will be a sharp drop-off in Starkville in 2023, especially when the score at the half was only 20-7. A home game against Arizona separates the Bulldogs from a contest against LSU, also at home, that could expose them—or, given how LSU looked on Sunday night, maybe not.
In sixth, I have the Auburn Tigers. Auburn has made up a fair amount of ground in my estimation, though you can only do so much when you’re playing UMass. We didn’t learn too terribly much about the questions around the Tigers’ skill level and defensive prowess. They did what they needed to do, however, and blew out a lesser opponent. They’re much closer to fifth on the list than they were at this point last time I ranked these teams.
It’s not the Hogs’ fault per se that they slid a spot in the rankings; rather, it’s a testament to how good one team that jumped them looked. In any case, the Razorbacks took care of business against Western Carolina, as they should have. KJ Jefferson looked the part of an experienced SEC quarterback, but his offensive line looked downright porous—something that might prove to be an issue when the competition ratchets up.
In my last rankings, I had three questions about the Tigers: one, has Jaylen Daniels hit his ceiling? Two, is moving Perkins to a true LB the right decision? And three, is the corner position deep and skilled enough? Looks like all of these questions were answered in exactly the way Tiger fans would not want them to be, given their performance against the Seminoles. They’re closer to three than they are to five on this list, but for the moment, I don’t see them as a true division contender.
Yes, it was just Mercer, but the Rebel offense put up one heck of a showing in game one. It doesn’t matter who you’re playing; when you break 70 points, that’s an achievement of execution. Jaxson Dart is establishing himself as the man in that three-QB room, and Quinshon Judkins is still Quinshon Judkins. Still, though, I don’t trust them enough to think that they won’t inexplicably mess up and lose to a lesser team somewhere along the way.
Listen, I know what I just said about Auburn and UMass. But I was a different man back then. Seriously, though, this Texas A&M football team did well to answer their biggest question for the 2023 season with the offensive explosion they showcased. Some questions still remain around the Aggies, however, chiefly around their rushing defense. Week 2 will provide an opportunity to answer those questions for the Texas A&M football program, as they make the journey to Miami.
Could Milroe really be the answer for the Tide? If he isn’t, it certainly won’t be Middle Tennessee that shows us otherwise. This week’s contest against Texas is hopefully one where he’ll shine, but I’m still skeptical long-term. Regardless, though, Alabama will be top dog until proven otherwise.