published Wednesday, September 5th, 2012

Greeson: Sept. 5 SEC football rantings/rankings

1. Alabama

Anyone got any other questions about the defending national champs? After destroying then-No. 8-ranked Michigan last week, Alabama assumed the No. 1 spot in the polls. It will take a good-sized upset to knock the Tide off -- Alabama has been favored in every game since the 2009 SEC title game. There are toddlers out there who have never known Alabama as an underdog; and depending on what happens in November in Baton Rouge, they may start school before that trend changes.

Saturday: vs. Western Kentucky, 3:30 (WDSI)

2. LSU

The Honey Badger will take the LSU classes that he wants. Tyrann Mathieu -- a Heisman finalist last year who earned the Honey Badger nickname -- was booted from the Tigers football team last month. Instead of transferring, Mathieu has enrolled in classes at LSU. Tigers coach Les Miles was evasive Tuesday when asked if Mathieu could return after the season. Everyone knows Miles will take the Honey Badger back if he wants.

Saturday: vs. Washington, 7 (ESPN)

3. Georgia

Apparently the Bulldogs play "old-man football." At least that's what Missouri defensive tackle Sheldon Richardson said on social media this week. Two quick things: One, it was not surprising that Richardson was kept out of the Tigers' media event this week; two, some of the worst whippings college kids get are from old guys.

Saturday: at Missouri, 7:45 (ESPN2)

4. Arkansas

No Bobby Petrino, no problem. At least that was how Tyler Wilson looked against Jacksonville State last week. Wilson averaged better than 22 yards per completion, throwing for 327 yards and three scores in the 49-24 win. That said, the Arkansas defense looked a little shaky -- allowing 163 first-half yards.

Saturday: vs. La.-Monroe, 7 (ESPNU)

5. Tennessee

The high-flying Vols' passing game was electric in last Friday's win over N.C. State. It also served as a distraction from another subpar rushing effort. Tennessee is going to live and die on the right arm of quarterback Tyler Bray -- and that's fine. But without a semblance of a running game, that chore will be doubly difficult in the weeks ahead.

Saturday: vs. Georgia State, 4 (PPV)

6. South Carolina

If the Gamecocks are counting on 6-foot, 208-pound quarterback Connor Shaw to be their second-leading rusher, then backup quarterback Dylan Thompson better become more comfortable in the offense than he looked in last week's win. And soon.

Saturday: vs. East Carolina, 12:21 (WDSI)

7. Texas A&M

It's hard to know if not playing last week will hurt the Aggies, who had their game against Louisiana Tech washed away by Hurricane Isaac. It's also tough to know if there will be any extra motivation for the Gators after the random billboard showed up in Gainesville, Fla., with the words "Howdy Gainesville: You've been annexed by Aggie Nation the best academics & cleanest program in the SEC, WHOOP! Real football. Real tradition." Welcome to the show, guys.

Saturday: vs. Florida, 3:30 (ESPN)

8. Missouri

Big-lipping defensive tackles aside, the Tigers' fun-and-run spread is better than the Buffalo spread that had surprising success against Georgia last week. James Franklin the quarterback has skills.

Saturday: vs. Georgia, 7:45 (ESPN2)

9. Florida

Jeff Driskel, who was 10-of-16 for 114 yards and a touchdown in last Saturday's 27-14 win over Bowling Green, has grabbed control of the quarterback job.

Saturday: at Texas A&M, 3:30 (ESPN)

10. Mississippi State

After MSU thumped Jackson State last week, this week's visit from Auburn is huge. A Bulldogs win likely means a 5-0 start -- MSU's next three are Troy, South Alabama and Kentucky -- before Tennessee comes calling Oct. 13.

Saturday: vs. Auburn, noon (ESPN)

11. Ole Miss

Sure, it was against Central Arkansas, which did score 27 points against the Rebels, but Hugh Freeze's offense allowed for junior college transfer Bo Wallace to shine. Wallace threw for 264 and ran for 82 in his debut

Saturday: vs. UTEP, 7 (FSN)

12. Auburn

Auburn sophomore center Reese Dismukes will be back this week for the SEC opener at Mississippi State. Dismukes, who started every game as a freshman last fall, missed the opening loss against Clemson because of a public intoxication charge. Dismukes' absence was felt, but it was hardly the biggest culprit for the two-hand-touch Tigers, who missed a slew of tackles as Clemson ran 87 plays in the 26-19 win.

Saturday: at Mississippi State, noon (ESPN)

13. Vanderbilt

Northwestern dual-threat quarterback Kain Coulter played through bruised ribs in the Wildcats' thrilling opening win. Considering the way the Commodores battered Connor Shaw last week, NU backup quarterback Trevor Siemian better be loose.

Saturday: at Northwestern, 8 (Big Ten)

14. Kentucky

Former Chattooga (Ga.) High School star Senorise Perry rushed for 108 yards and a 47-yard touchdown for Louisville in Sunday's thumping of Kentucky. Hey, the Cats are a solid seven-point pick over Kent State, but it's now only five weeks and two days from this morning until Midnight Madness on Friday, Oct. 12, in Rupp.

Saturday: vs. Kent State, 7:30 (CSS)

about Jay Greeson...

Jay was named the Sports Editor of the Times Free Press in 2003 and started with the newspaper in May 2002 as the Deputy Sports Editor. He was born and raised in Smyrna, Ga., and graduated from Auburn University before starting his newspaper career in 1997 with the Newnan (Ga.) Times Herald. Stops in Clayton and Henry counties in Georgia and two years as the Sports Editor of the Marietta (Ga.) Daily Journal preceded Jay’s ...

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