Alabama Football: SEC Football Week One Power Rankings

Mandatory Credit: Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports /
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Alabama Crimson Tide
Mandatory Credit: Bryan Lynn-USA TODAY Sports /

Last Thursday, the Tennessee Volunteers opened the 2021 SEC football season, hosting the Bowling Green Falcons. Neyland Stadium was filled with enthusiastic Tennessee fans anticipating a much-improved team under Josh Heupel. A 14-6 halftime lead for the Vols brought out some boo-birds in Knoxville.  The Vols ended up winning 38-6. A 32-point win against a team that was 0-5 last season, with the closest loss by 25 points, is not what Tennessee fans wanted.

In our preseason prediction, we projected Vanderbilt and Tennessee would play in November to decide the worst team in the SEC. After week one, Vanderbilt looks to have the future cellar spot locked down.

Week One SEC Football Power Rankings

No. 14 – Vanderbilt Commodores – (last week ranked No. 14) Predicted regular season ceiling – 3 wins

The season could not have started worse for the Commodores. Clark Lea may prove to be an outstanding head coach. It will be hard to tell while he toils in Nashville. An opening game, 23-3 loss to FCS, East Tennessee State is a new low for the Dores. Thinking they might be competitive with Tennessee in November appears foolish.

No. 13 – Mississippi State Bulldogs –  (last week ranked No. 11) Predicted regular season ceiling – 5 wins

Mississippi State had a major comeback to salvage a 35-34 win over Louisiana Tech. Before his team fully engaged, Mike Leach said, each of his position groups were competing to see which one could play the worst. Despite the successful comeback, the Leach system will be frequently challenged by SEC-quality defenders. An Alabama Football trip to Starkville in mid-October should not be a problem.

No. 12 Tennessee Volunteers –  (last week ranked No. 13) Predicted regular season ceiling – 5 wins

The Vols opened with a win over Akron. The game was close at halftime. Akron is such a weak program, the 38-6 Tennessee win does little to enhance the Vols’ credibility. Joe Milton appeared to be an adequate quarterback, with a big arm. Heupel’s high-paced offense might steal a couple of wins. Alabama Football will destroy the Vols in the Homecoming game.

No. 11 South Carolina Gamecocks – (last week ranked No. 12) Predicted regular season ceiling – 5 wins

Beating Eastern Illinois earns an SEC team no cred. For the Gamecocks, the 46-0 win was important in getting the shutout, and more than getting by with a former grad assistant QB. The South Carolina vs. Tennesee winner in October could settle what team ends up at No. 12.