Vol fans got a breath of fresh air as Tennessee was on its bye week, but almost every other SEC team was in action on Saturday, and we certainly learned a few things. Here are our stocks entering Week 7.
ALABAMA — STOCK RISING
What? Alabama played a close game?
The Tide were up 24-3 at one point, but let off the gas and escaped College Station with a 27-19 win. Nick Saban was his usual self after the game, telling the media the good things they have been writing about the team is “like rat poison.” It seems as though in Tuscaloosa, the positivity is overwhelming, a stark contrast to here in good ol’ Knoxville. Alabama continues its cakewalk through the SEC West as it hosts Arkansas for homecoming this week.
ARKANSAS — STOCK FALLING
Arkansas continues to decline, and last week’s addition to the decline was a thumping at the hands of South Carolina, 48-22, to fall to 2-3 (0-2 SEC). The offense was able to move the ball, but could not stop turning it over, giving the Gamecocks three defensive touchdowns. Quarterback Austin Allen left the game in the fourth quarter with a shoulder injury, and is a day-to-day prognosis. Backup Cole Kelley will step in again if Allen can’t go. Things don’t get any easier for the Razorbacks with back-to-back games against Alabama and Auburn coming up.
AUBURN — STOCK RISING
Everything seems to be clicking for this Auburn offense. Kerryon Johnson is making his case for the best running back in the SEC, and continued his stellar season Saturday with 204 yards and three touchdowns on 28 carries. The Tigers claimed a 21-point victory over Ole Miss to get to 5-1 (3-0 SEC) and move into the top 10 in the AP Poll. They head to Death Valley this week, which should be their toughest conference test yet.
FLORIDA — STOCK HOLDING
Last week, the Gators’ stock started to rise a little bit following a two-touchdown win over Vanderbilt, but Florida showed us it is an average team, at best, in its 17-16 loss against LSU. The offense struggled mightily after losing Luke Del Rio for the season. A missed extra point proved the difference on the scoreboard, but LSU looked like the better team for pretty much all 60 minutes. The Gators hosts Texas A&M this week in their third straight SEC game in the swamp.
GEORGIA — STOCK RISING
Another week, another in-conference blowout by Georgia. You have to think Kirby Smart is going to stick with Jake Fromm from here on out after a 45-14 victory over Vandy. He was incredibly efficient, throwing for 102 yards and two touchdowns on 7-of-11 passes with no turnovers. Georgia continues to rely on its defense and run game to roll over their opponents, and the Bulldogs are sitting at No. 4 in the AP Poll. Expect the same kind of result this week at home against Missouri for undefeated Georgia
KENTUCKY — STOCK HOLDING
Kentucky is having a good season so far. The Wildcats are 5-1 (2-1 SEC), and are escaping with close wins over mediocre competition, but still getting wins. They were able to out-score Mizzou on Saturday in a 40-34 shootout, and they will get a break this week. So far, Mark Stoops is getting the job done in Lexington this season, but the Wildcats have yet to reach the meat of their schedule. Don’t forget the 2014 season, when Kentucky started 5-1 and went on to lose six straight games to finish 5-7.
LSU — STOCK RISING
The Tigers produced far the biggest turnaround of any SEC team stock in Week 7. The Bayou Bengals looked to be in shambles after losing their homecoming game to Troy, but walked into the Swamp and came away with a one-point victory and revenge after last year’s home defeat to Florida. They move to 4-2 (1-1 SEC), and host red-hot Auburn this week. A win on Saturday would probably have Ed Orgeron winning over some of the fans that wanted him gone two weeks ago.
MISSISSIPPI STATE — STOCK FALLING
The Bulldogs had a much-needed bye week after getting blown out in back-to-back weeks. They are back in Starkville this week against BYU, but Dan Mullen will not have an opportunity to get his first SEC win of the season, and will try to get to 4-2.
MISSOURI — STOCK FALLING
Barry Odom promised he would bring wins to Missouri after losing to Auburn two weeks ago, but that is not going well so far. The Tigers fell again, this time to Kentucky, on Saturday for a fourth-straight loss (1-4, 0-3 SEC). That will probably turn into a fifth-straight loss when they travel to Georgia this week.
OLE MISS — STOCK FALLING
Ole Miss has had a rough couple of weeks by having to play Alabama and Auburn back to back, and the Rebels currently sit at 2-3 (0-2 SEC). The Rebels — I mean, Black Bears — I mean, Landsharks… have a good opportunity at home against Vandy this week, and are looking to get their first SEC win.
SOUTH CAROLINA — STOCK HOLDING
I don’t think we know how good South Carolina is yet. The Gamecocks lost at home to Kentucky and barely escaped Louisiana Tech, but they still sit at 4-2 (2-2 SEC) and are coming off a blowout win against an SEC opponent. We’ll see if Will Muschamp can continue his dominance over Butch Jones this weekend.
TENNESSEE — STOCK FALLING
In Butch Jones’ “best bye week” since he’s been in Knoxville, Tennessee’s best pass-rusher was suspended indefinitely, Jarett Guarantano was named starting quarterback, and there are rumors flying that Quinten Dormady is thinking about transferring. That’s without mentioning we have a new Butch-ism: “leadership reps.” If Tennessee loses to South Carolina to fall to 3-3 and 0-3 in the SEC, it will be interesting to see if John Currie pulls the trigger on firing Jones.
TEXAS A&M — STOCK RISING
Just a few weeks ago, you could have argued that A&M was the biggest dumpster fire in the conference. Now, the Aggies sit at 4-2 (2-1 SEC) and are coming off a good showing against the best team in the country. If Kevin Sumlin gets a win in the Swamp this week, the season will be back on track.
VANDERBILT — STOCK FALLING
The ‘Dores are coming off a brutal three-game stretch that ending with a 45-14 loss at the hands of Georgia. They have fallen to 3-3 (0-3 SEC) after their 3-0 start, but Kyle Shurmur has been a bright spot so far, throwing 12 touchdowns to only one interception so far. Ralph Webb has had difficulty getting going, producing just 245 rush yards and three touchdowns this season. Derek Mason has a big game this week at struggling Ole Miss to try to and avoid a four-game skid.