SEC Football: Bama Hammer Week Zero SEC Power Rankings

(Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
(Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images) /
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SEC football
BATON ROUGE, LA – NOVEMBER 05: Head coach Nick Saban of the Alabama Crimson Tide shakes hands with head coach Ed Orgeron of the LSU Tigers after their 10-0 win at Tiger Stadium on November 5, 2016 in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images) /

No. 3 LSU Bengal Tigers – AP Preseason Ranking – No. 6

Can Ed Orgeron field a nationally-competitive team? They’ve had a couple of big wins the last two seasons (breaking UCF’s win streak made all of us feel better) and making DC Dave Aranda one of the highest-paid assistants in the country has made the Tigers a perennially elite defensive team, but the real question remains: will Coach O get out of the way of the offense?

Hiring former Saints’ assistant Joe Brady as the passing game coordinator could be a step in the right direction, but most felt nabbing Matt Canada two seasons ago would yield better results, too. Orgeron, like his predecessor, believes that you can win with ground-and-pound in an age of RPOs, so it’ll be interesting to see if quarterback Joe Burrow takes a major step forward in 2019. Time will tell, but at least the Tigers can rely upon their defense.

No. 4 – Texas A&M Aggies – AP Preseason Ranking No. 12

There aren’t too many teams this year that can say they have to go up against four of the top six AP preseason teams in the country. Texas A&M is one of those teams. They get No. 2 Alabama at home in 2019, but must travel to No. 1 Clemson in week two and go to Athens and Baton Rouge to round out their final two games of the regular season. It doesn’t get more daunting than that.

However, with the return of quarterback Kellen Mond, all of its top wideouts and a strong defensive front, there’s hope for the Aggies in head coach Jimbo’s Fisher second year. Losing to Clemson obviously doesn’t hurt its chances in the SEC, but winning two out of the other three games would go a long way in keeping them competitive in the West.

No. 5 – Auburn Tigers – AP Preseason Ranking No. 16

Gus has chosen the true freshman over the redshirt freshman at quarterback. There was a time when Gus was viewed as such an offensive wizard, an inexperienced QB was no biggie. Recent seasons have tarnished his reputation. This season, true to Auburn’s DNA, anything could happen.

The defense will be good, the defensive line, great. Returning the entire offensive line is hailed on the Plains but how much better will they be with age? What Gus has going for him more than anything is the Tigers are hard to beat in Auburn, where both Georgia and Alabama must do battle.

The trip to Texas to take on Oregon will either be a big boost for the Tigers OR an early bubble buster.  If, and it is a big IF, Oregon can block Auburn’s defensive front, the Tigers could be in trouble.