Videos by OutKick
Texas and Oklahoma are both joining the SEC.
That change won’t come into effect until 2022 at the earliest, and the current transition year isn’t even set until 2025. But with the Sooners and Longhorns both projected to have top 25 teams, I thought it would be fun to make some hypothetical SEC power rankings.
The rankings below are based solely off 2021 teams, not the future status of each program.
16. Vanderbilt Commodores
This one isn’t overly complicated. As much as many of us would love to see Vanderbilt climb any SEC power rankings list, the fact remains that the Commodores are the clear-cut bottom dwellers of the conference. Unfortunately, that holds true once again in 2021.
15. South Carolina Gamecocks
There are some out there who believe South Carolina could surprise us. Considering the 1-2 punch at running back with Kevin Harris and Mar’Shawn Lloyd — on top of an impressive, deep defensive front — I wouldn’t be shocked if they exceeded expectations. But I’m just not on board yet.
14. Tennessee Volunteers
There just isn’t much depth in Knoxville right now. There’s some talent, sure, but this league is built on depth. I can see Tennessee finishing with a better record than some of the teams in front of them, but that would be the result of playing in the East rather than the West. I guess it depends on how the divisions would be shaken up with the two new arrivals.
13. Arkansas Razorbacks
Surprisingly, I believe Arkansas will once again be a tough football team. You wouldn’t think it since I have them at No. 13, but that’s mostly due to the depth of the West. I wouldn’t be shocked if the Razorbacks got only 4-5 wins, but they’d be one of history’s better sub-.500 teams.
12. Mississippi State Bulldogs
If things finally click for Mike Leach’s offense, I could absolutely see Mississippi State finishing as a top 10 SEC team, even with Texas and Oklahoma in the mix. I like Will Rogers, and I love Jaden Walley. I’m just not ready to claim a significant leap in production. We’ll see.
11. Auburn Tigers
Auburn would be a top 10 SEC squad had it not been for the two additions. Unfortunately, their arrival would spell trouble for Bryan Harsin in his first season. The coaching staff is well put together, and there’s still plenty of talent on The Plains. At the end of the day, the success — or lack thereof — will come down to Bo Nix.
10. Missouri Tigers
In a league without Texas and Oklahoma, it wouldn’t shock me if Missouri finished second in the SEC East. With those two schools in the mix for these hypothetical power rankings, the Tigers still check in as a top 10 team in the SEC. Connor Bazelak doesn’t have a ton of talent around him, but that might not matter.
9. Florida Gators
Florida needs to be careful. After finishing with the third-best conference record and going to the SEC Championship Game in 2020, this team wouldn’t currently be in the top half of my 2021 conference power rankings, if Texas and Oklahoma were included.
8. Kentucky Wildcats
I love Kentucky’s makeup this season. Whether it’s Beau Allen, Will Levis or Joey Gatewood, I believe the Wildcats get improved quarterback play in 2021. Combine that with a veteran offensive line, two impressive running backs and a strong defense, I think they’re capable of being the No. 2 team in the East.
7. Ole Miss Rebels
Ole Miss owns its identity well. The Rebels understand they need at least some improved play on defense, but the 2020 approach will remain the same: try to score every time the offense gets the football. Even with Elijah Moore and Kenny Yeboah gone, this is a lethal offensive group.
6. Texas Longhorns
For this hypothetical scenario, Texas would still find itself in a decent position after the switch to the SEC. Being a top 6 squad in a dominate 16-team super conference would likely mean a top 25 ranking. If Casey Thompson can continue to play like he did in his lone start last year, that ranking would be warranted, especially with Steve Sarkisian now leading the offense.
5. LSU Tigers
After a 5-5 finish in 2020, seeing LSU ranked in the top 5 here might be a surprise. But like most everyone else, I’m expecting the Tigers to bounce back this year. Regardless of who wins the QB competition between Myles Brennan and Max Johnson, I’m a believer in the offense. This team’s success could come down to improvement on defense.
4. Texas A&M Aggies
If Texas A&M had a proven commodity at quarterback, a lot of people would be predicting them to win the SEC West. The defense returns most of its starters from a year ago, and there’s enough talent and experience returning on offense to provide hope. I believe Haynes King or Zach Calzada can do enough to make this a top 10 team nationally in 2021.
2b. Georgia Bulldogs
I went back and forth between Georgia and Oklahoma for the No. 2 spot. There are arguments to be made for both, but I think all three of these top teams are true national title contenders. I’ve taken the injury to George Pickens into consideration, but the Dawgs still are good enough to finish higher than this.
2a. Oklahoma Sooners
The defensive improvements shown late down the stretch last season allowed Oklahoma to tie Georgia for No. 2 on this list. Well, that and all those reinforcements from the 2021 recruiting class, as well as the transfers from Tennessee. Between Spencer Rattler and JT Daniels, I’m still taking Rattler due to his ceiling.
1. Alabama Crimson Tide
Under Nick Saban, Alabama has proven that they can reload instead of rebuilding. If the Tide didn’t have that reputation, there’s no way they’d check into the top spot here after the offensive losses from a season ago. Bryce Young is a future star though, and the defense should be one of the best in the country.
New FanDuel Sportsbook users can make their first bet risk-free up to $1,000. If the bet loses, the FanDuel Sportsbook will refund you in site credit. New users can lock in this offer NOW by clicking this link.
Follow Clint Lamb on Twitter @ClintRLamb.
7 CommentsLeave a Reply
I’d put Ole Miss head of Texas with Corral and that offense the Rebs are returning. I’d also hold off putting OU at 2a until we see how they hold up to this new schedule. This schedule is a different animal. There are good teams in the big 12, but the difference in the SEC is that the lower half of the league are not gimmies like other conferences(except Vandy). You have to show up every week with your A game in the SEC or you’ll find yourself with 3-4 losses in a hurry. Defense adjusts quickly, ask Mike Leach. I know as a UT fan. We can’t show up with our B- game most weeks, which is why we enjoy the cellar.
I’d hold off on thinking that OU isn’t still OU despite being in a different league now. The SEC is still top heavy considering a very average an unproven Texas squad comes in at 6th in this article. Think about that for a minute, 6th. I do agree that the SEC week in and week out is a snakepit and I do respect and enjoy SEC football but lets stop making the case that OU isn’t THAT good because we aren’t used to playing Kentucky, Arkansas Vandebilt and Miss State. OU will no doubt have a more difficult schedule but why do the other teams in the SEC now not have to consider thier schedule more difficult? Adding OU and TX just created more losses potentially for teams like LSU, Florida and even Alabama.
Agreed, Texas finishes middle of the pack most years in the Big 12 so the fact the power rankings have them at 6th says something.
Got to agree with you. texas is too high by one maybe two slots. sooners defense is built for B12 offenses. You can only outscore teams for so long before it catches up to you. (Looking at you Lane)
Sooners defense WAS built for Big12 offenses. Thats like saying that SEC defenses are built for SEC offenses without understanding how both have evolved. OU’s defenses under riley have been terrible under Mike Stoops. Alex Grinch has completely changed the makeup of the defense with both scheme and size of player. Id believe your argument if it was still 2018.
Alabama had by their standards one of the worst defenses in decade or more and still won the Natty. Woody Hayes style defense is a thing of the past.
Here we go with the SEC is awesome bull shit. Its 2/3 teams every year that are really good just like every other conference. I would love to play Vandy, UK, South Carolina, Miss St, Ole Miss, Tennessee, Arkansas and Missouri every year. Throw in LSU and Auburn every 3/4th year and that’s 10 of the current 14 who aren’t that are average to below average. Alabama is who they are, Georgia has re-established itself and A&M is much improved with Jimbo. You overestimate how good the football is in the SEC because you are a fan of the conference and that’s all we hear from MSESPN, and you underestimate just how good Oklahoma’s players are in comparison to the rest of the nation.