My guess is this morning you’re wondering why South Carolina dropped all the way from No. 6 to No. 13 Sunday after losing to a highly ranked team on the road.
The answers are sample size and circumstance. The Gamecocks (1-1) clearly had to go below Georgia coming off a 41-30 loss to the Bulldogs (1-1). And Georgia clearly has to go below Clemson, which beat the Bulldogs 38-35 two weeks ago.
Many voters, myself included, have a hard time ranking the once-beaten Bulldogs ahead of undefeated teams like Oregon, Ohio State, Stanford, Texas A&M, etc., therefore Georgia ends up at No. 9 this week.
For the record, I dropped the Gamecocks seven spots in my poll, from No. 4 to No. 11. South Carolina was ranked as high as No. 8 and as low as No. 16 this week by Associated Press voters. The Gamecocks are the nation’s second-highest ranked one-loss team behind the Bulldogs.
Steve Spurrier didn’t sound Sunday like a guy who was worried about his team’s national ranking: “We’re not a very good team right now. We don’t have to worry about any kind of divisions, SEC championships. We’re worried about going to a bowl game right now, that’s what we need to worry about, winning seven games, eight games, if we can.”
Elsewhere in the SEC, it’s Alabama-Texas A&M week. The No. 1 Crimson Tide and No. 6 Aggies are the conference’s highest ranked teams, and everyone in the country has been waiting for this rematch since Texas A&M beat Alabama 29-24 last year in Tuscaloosa. Except, maybe for Aggies quarterback Johnny Manziel.
“It feels like another game, feels like week three of the season,” said Manziel, who is third in the SEC in total offense (287.5 yards per game) despite being suspended from the first half of the season opener.
You know who is really excited this is Alabama-Texas A&M week? New Kentucky coach Mark Stoops, who is about the get blasted by No. 7 Louisville, which, coupled with a season-opening loss to Western Kentucky, will mean the Wildcats can finish no higher than third in the Kentucky state championship this year.
You know who may not be as happy? Ole Miss coach Hugh Freeze. The Rebels have a legitimate shot to go to Austin, Texas, and beat the Longhorns on Saturday. While Texas is unranked after giving up 550 rushing yards in a loss to BYU this week, a win like that would take Freeze’s rebuilding project up another level.
SEC stat of the week: Florida, which lost to Miami 21-16 on Saturday, has scored only half of its red zone trips this year and is a decisive last in the SEC in red zone offense.
Vanderbilt head coach James Franklin holds his weekly news conference today so there will be a lot of talk about the Gamecocks in Nashville later today. We’ll make sure to tell you here what they say, so check back soon.