SEC Media Days Football

Kentucky coach Mark Stoops, shown at SEC media days in 2019, will be trying to get his team off to a 2-0 start when it faces Missouri in the first SEC game of the season on Saturday night in Lexington.

SEC Power Rankings

Now that everyone in the SEC has gotten their feet wet with Week 1 games, including one that was huge for the league, the second weekend of the season will give us the first conference matchup when Missouri visits Kentucky. Both schools are eager to take another step in the right direction and prove they can be in the mix in the Eastern Division race behind heavyweights Georgia and Florida early on. Missouri and Kentucky were among the SEC's winners in nonconference play on opening weekend as Mizzou slipped past Central Michigan, which comes to Baton Rouge to face LSU next weekend, by 10 points while Kentucky blasted UL-Monroe. They secured two of the league's wins as the SEC went 12-2 with then-No. 5 Georgia's 10-3 conquest of Clemson being the biggest and best result of the weekend for the conference. The only setbacks were LSU's 38-27 loss at UCLA and Vanderbilt's not-so-shocking 23-3 defeat at the hands of FCS member East Tennessee State.

Sheldon Mickles

1. ALABAMA

RECORD: 1-0

PRV. RANK: 1

THIS WEEK: vs. Mercer, 3 p.m. Saturday

TV: SEC Network

LINE: Alabama by 53½

STORYLINE: Despite destroying Miami with an early offensive outburst and cruising to an easy win, Nick Saban wasn't happy with the Crimson Tide's intensity in practice this week. He doesn't usually run up the score on smaller schools, but to make a point to his team he might have to have no mercy on Mercer.

2. GEORGIA

RECORD: 1-0

PRV. RANK: 2

THIS WEEK: vs. UAB, 2:30 p.m. Saturday

TV: ESPN2

LINE: Georgia by 25½

STORYLINE: Georgia has been touted all spring and summer as a possible CFP participant and the Bulldogs certainly looked the part in the win against Clemson. The defense had a lot of bite in holding the Tigers to a lone field goal — the lowest total in the Dabo Swinney eras and lowest for the school in 14 seasons.

3. TEXAS A&M

RECORD: 1-0

PRV. RANK: 3

THIS WEEK: at Colorado, 2:30 p.m. Saturday

TV: Fox

LINE: Texas A&M by 17

STORYLINE: After a rough start in which it led outmanned Kent State by just 10-3 at halftime, Texas A&M found its footing and rolled to an easy 41-10 victory. Jimbo Fisher's offense, with freshman Haynes King behind center, struggled early but still was able to manage to pick up 595 total yards in a yawner.

4. FLORIDA

RECORD: 1-0

PRV. RANK: 6

THIS WEEK: at South Florida, noon Saturday

TV: ABC

LINE: Florida by 28

STORYLINE: Florida bopped Florida Atlantic in its opener last week and now gets another opportunity to beat up on an instate foe in South Florida. These teams will square off for just the second time, so Florida will be wanting to bow up and knock off a school just down the road, especially after USF fell to NC State 45-0.

5. OLE MISS

RECORD: 1-0

PRV. RANK: 5

THIS WEEK: vs. Austin Peay, 6:30 p.m. Saturday

ONLINE: SEC+/ESPN+

LINE: No line

STORYLINE: So far, so good for the Rebels in their second season under Lane Kiffin, who was not on the sideline for Monday night's 43-24 bashing of Louisville because of a positive COVID test. Kiffin returns this week for Ole Miss' home opener with FCS foe Austin Peay, which should go even better than the Louisville game.

6. KENTUCKY

RECORD: 1-0

PRV. RANK: 7

THIS WEEK: vs. Missouri, 6:30 p.m. Saturday

TV: SEC Network

LINE: Kentucky by 5

STORYLINE: The season started well enough for Mark Stoops and the Wildcats. Their new-look offense was humming and their defense was on point as it was for most of the 2020 season, but it was against UL-Monroe. They're stepping up in weight class in a hurry and will look to continue an upward climb this week.

7. MISSOURI

RECORD: 1-0

PRV. RANK: 8

THIS WEEK: at Kentucky, 6:30 p.m. Saturday

TV: SEC Network

LINE: Kentucky by 5

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STORYLINE: OK, Missouri got a little bit of a scare from Central Michigan, which pulled to within a field goal twice in the final 12 minutes of the game, but the Tigers were able to survive. That's the most important thing. But they allowed 468 yards in the win, which they'll have to work on now that SEC play is starting.

8. AUBURN

RECORD: 1-0

PRV. RANK: 9

THIS WEEK: vs. Alabama State, 11 a.m. Saturday

TV: SEC Network

LINE: No Line

STORYLINE: After flexing its muscles in a 60-10 trouncing of Akron, Auburn should have an even easier time against Alabama State. It'll be a nice second warmup for Auburn, which visits No. 11 Penn State next Saturday night. Gaining even more confidence in an easy win over ASU could go a long way for Bryan Harsin's Tigers.

9. LSU

RECORD: 0-1

PRV. RANK: 4

THIS WEEK: vs. McNeese State, 7 p.m. Saturday

ONLINE: SEC+/ESPN+

LINE: No line

STORYLINE: LSU's loss to UCLA was shocking to some people, but the Tigers had some problems going into its opener. So working on those problems over the next two weeks is paramount. McNeese could give the Tigers some problems in their home opener, but it's going to be a long season unless they get answers ... quickly.

10. MISSISSIPPI STATE

RECORD: 1-0

PRV. RANK: 10

THIS WEEK: vs. NC State, 6 p.m. Saturday

TV: ESPN2

LINE: NC State by 2½

STORYLINE: Mississippi State had to stage a furious rally to beat Louisiana Tech in its opener, but NC State poses a much bigger challenge for the Bulldogs. Both teams can put up some points and yards as NC State piled up 525 yards in hammering South Florida 45-0; State had 435 yards in its 35-34 comeback win over Tech.

11. ARKANSAS

RECORD: 1-0

PRV. RANK: 11

THIS WEEK: vs. Texas, 6 p.m. Saturday

TV: ESPN

LINE: Texas by 6½

STORYLINE: This is a reunion game as the teams met on the football field for 60 consecutive seasons from 1932-91 before Arkansas left the Southwest Conference to join the SEC. They've played five times since then, but with Texas joining the SEC in a few years this gives both schools a chance to get reacquainted with one another.

12. TENNESSEE

RECORD: 1-0

PRV. RANK: 12

THIS WEEK: vs. Pittsburgh, 11 a.m. Saturday

TV: ESPN

LINE: Pittsburgh by 1½

STORYLINE: Tennessee got off to a good start against Bowling Green and never looked back. We're going to get a better idea of what the Volunteers will be, or eventually could be, this season with the game against ACC member Pitt. UT coach Josh Heupel knows what to expect after playing Pitt in 2018 and '19 when he coached at UCF.

13. SOUTH CAROLINA

RECORD: 1-0

PRV. RANK: 13

THIS WEEK: at East Carolina, 11 a.m. Saturday

TV: ESPN2

LINE: East Carolina by 1

STORYLINE: Unlike Vanderbilt, South Carolina took care of business against FCS foe Eastern Illinois in its opener. Rookie coach Shane Beamer and his Gamecocks cruised to a 46-0 win, but the task gets a little bit tougher this week with a road matchup against East Carolina (with Georgia on deck). ECU fell to Charlotte 33-19 in its opener.

14. VANDERBILT

RECORD: 0-1

PRV. RANK: 14

THIS WEEK: at Colorado State, 9 p.m. Saturday

TV: CBS Sports Network

LINE: Colorado State by 7

STORYLINE: Even though they were playing their first game under first-year coach Clark Lea, Vandy didn't put up much of a fight in falling to East Tennessee State after scoring the game's first points on a 53-yard field goal. It doesn't get easier this week for the Commodores, who have to play a high-altitude game vs. Colorado State.

Email Sheldon Mickles at smickles@theadvocate.com