Six members of The Plainsman sports staff voted on the conference's pecking order after Week 5.
1. ALABAMA (84 points) High vote: 1 | Low vote: 1
The Crimson Tide continued their early-season domination of lesser opponents on Saturday with a 66-3 demolition of Ole Miss in Bryant-Denny Stadium. Head coach Nick Saban isn't known for running up the score, so the Tide's recent wins of 63 points over the Rebels and 59 points over Vanderbilt should serve as a horrifying message to the rest of the conference. Jalen Hurts looks the part of a Heisman trophy front-runner and, with a dominating defense behind him, Alabama shouldn't be challenged much until the Iron Bowl.
Next game: 10/7 @ Texas A&M (+25.5)
2. GEORGIA (78 points) High vote: 2 | Low vote: 2
The Bulldogs might have hammered the final nail into the head coaching coffin of Tennessee's Butch Jones. A 41-0 victory in Knoxville further cemented Georgia as a playoff-caliber force in the SEC, and the Dawgs were gifted a No. 5 spot in the AP Poll because of it. Jacob Eason may never play again with the emergence of Jake Fromm. Fromm completed just seven passes against Tennessee behind a juggernaut of a run game. It isn't broke, and Kirby Smart won't fix it.
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Next game: 10/7 @ Vanderbilt (+16)
3. AUBURN (72 points) High vote: 3 | Low vote: 3
Before Auburn beat down Mississippi State Saturday night on The Plains, most considered the SEC to be Georgia, Alabama and then the rest. The Tigers' offense appears to be back in full swing, with Jarrett Stidham turning in the most efficient game from an Auburn QB since Cam Newton against the Bulldogs. Auburn has the No. 1 defense in the conference, and the other side of the ball is catching up fast.
Next game: 10/7 vs. Ole Miss (+21)
4. Texas A&M (63 points) High vote: 4 | Low vote: 5
The No. 4 spot is where the "others" start. A matchup in College Station against the Crimson Tide will serve as a nice measuring stick for the progression of Kevin Sumlin's squad, which is quietly 4-1 and undefeated in the conference. The Aggies might not beat Alabama, but a competitive game may affirm A&M as a solid trap-game team.
Next game: 10/7 vs. No. 1 Alabama (-25.5)
5. FLORIDA (61 points) High vote: 4 | Low vote: 6
It may not ever matter who takes the snaps under center for the Gators. No. 21 Florida continues to beat the teams they're supposed to beat behind an above-average defense but a disappointing offense. The Week 1 meltdown against Michigan seems years ago thanks to dramatic victories against Tennessee and Kentucky, and the Gators are actually sitting in first place in the SEC East thanks to a 3-0 record in the conference to Georgia's 2-0. A loss to LSU could happen, and it would most likely set Jim McElwain's seat on fire.
Next game: 10/7 vs. LSU (+5)
6. KENTUCKY (51 points) High vote: 5 | Low vote: 8
The Wildcats again struggled against a low-tier, non-conference opponent in a 24-21 win over Eastern Michigan. The good news for UK is that their next four opponents have a combined 1-9 record in the conference so far. Welcome to 2017's Southeastern Conference.
Next game: 10/7 vs. Missouri (+14.5)
7. MISSISSIPPI STATE (48 points) High vote: 6 | Low vote: 8
After the Bulldogs crushed LSU, 37-7, fans were scrambling to tab State as the third-best team in the conference and a huge threat to the likes of Alabama, Georgia and Auburn. Two of those theories have been silenced, as Mississippi State lost their last two SEC road games to UGA and Auburn by combined score of 80-13. Dan Mullen's squad has a chance to right the ship with a relatively easy schedule from here on out, save a likely smack-down at the hands of Alabama late in the year.
Next game: 10/14 vs. BYU
8. SOUTH CAROLINA (39 points) High vote: 7 | Low vote: 9
The Gamecocks almost beat Texas A&M in College Station. If they had, we might be talking about a Top 5 spot in the conference and a 4-1 record. Instead, we will still wait for Jake Bentley to truly arrive this season and for anyone to replace Deebo Samuel. Will Muschamp's group is going to have to give everything they have to break even at 6-6 by year's end.
Next game: 10/7 vs. Arkansas (-1)
9. LSU (35 points) High vote: 8 | Low vote: 10
Scheduling Troy for a homecoming game probably seemed like a pretty harmless idea.
Next game: 10/7 @ No. 21 Florida (-5)
10. ARKANSAS (31 points) High vote: 7 | Low vote: 12
Bret Bielema lost the "Battle of the Hot Seats" against Texas A&M, but is a favorite this week on the road against South Carolina. It's going to take an upset against the likes of Auburn or Alabama to secure Bielema's job until the end of the year, let alone a bowl appearance for the Razorbacks.
Next game: 10/7 @ South Carolina (+1)
11. VANDERBILT (28 points) High vote: 6 | Low vote: 12
Vandy has been blessed with back-to-back great head coaches in James Franklin and Derrick Mason. Mason is doing his best with the talent he's been able to acquire. At fifth in the SEC East, the Commodores have a chance to finish in the upper levels of the conference, as the team's final six games after Georgia are winnable, if Shurmur can continue to keep them in games. (Ignore Alabama, likely ignore Georgia).
Next game: 10/7 vs. No. 5 Georgia (-16)
12. TENNESSEE (21 points) High vote: 10 | Low vote: 12
Neyland Stadium in Knoxville and Death Valley in Baton Rouge suffered similar fates on Saturday, losing the majority of their fans to unacceptable coaching and execution. We probably should have seen this coming after the Vols barely skated by UMass, and the UT coaching staff literally held up a trash can during the team's opener against Georgia Tech. The East is slightly weaker than the West, therefore not all hope is lost for Butch Jones.
Next game: 10/14 vs. South Carolina
13. OLE MISS (12 points) High vote: 13 | Low vote: 13
The bottom three of the conference have now become as apparent as the top three. Alabama took out some frustrations from the past three seasons against the Rebels, who likely aren't 66 points worse than any team in the country. Auburn has a history of slow starts in 11 a.m. kicks, so Shea Patterson has a chance to put in some work before the No. 5 pass defense in the nation wakes up.
Next game: 10/7 @ No. 12 Auburn (-21)
14. MISSOURI (6 points) High vote: 14 | Low vote: 14
As bad as it may seem, back-to-back games against Idaho and Connecticut in a few weeks is just what Barry Odom and Mizzou need. The tail-end of the Tigers' schedule features only one ranked team as of now, and we've seen how Drew Lock and that offense can explode in an instant. It just hasn't happened against a good team yet.
Next game: 10/7 @ Kentucky (-14.5)
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