Kentucky Kernel Sports SEC Poll: football week 6


Jack Weaver

Ole Miss wide receiver Jordan Watkins (11) is tackled during the No. 7 Kentucky vs. No. 14 Ole Miss football game on Saturday, Oct. 1, 2022, at Vaught Hemingway Stadium in Oxford, Mississippi. Ole Miss won 22-19. Photo by Jack Weaver | Staff

Sports Staff

The Kentucky Kernel Sports SEC Poll is a weekly series that provides all members of the Kentucky Kernel Sports desk a chance to vote on how the SEC football teams stack up against each other using the AP Poll style/Borda count voting method.
Each voter filled out an individual form ranking all teams 1-14 and teams received points based on their placement on each bracket.
Votes are the personal opinions of individual writers and do not reflect the opinions of the Kentucky Kernel as a whole.

This week’s poll is counting all week four matchups, starting on Sept. 27 and ending on Oct. 3.
This week’s voters include:
Sports Editor Cole Parke, Assistant Sports Editors Samantha Money and Ali Cetinok and Reporters Aaron Benjamin, Luke Fetzer, Drew Johnson, Ian Alvano, Tyler Russell and Isaiah Pinto.

No. 14: Vanderbilt Commodores (12 points)

Record: 3-2 (0-1)
Last game: bye week
Previous ranking: No. 13 (dropped one spot)

“Vanderbilt was on a bye week, so they don’t move,” Benjamin said. “After their last loss to Alabama there isn’t much to do with their ranking and they sit for the time being.”
“Unfortunately, a bye week didn’t give the Commodores a chance to prove themselves in my eyes,” Parke said. “Plus, Missouri almost beating Georgia only helps prove Vandy is worse.”
“Vanderbilt is an affirmation in an otherwise chaotic college football world that some things never change,” Johnson said.

Votes cast: six No. 14 votes (Parke, Alvano, Johnson, Pinto, Fetzer, Money) and three No. 13 votes (Cetinok, Russell, Benjamin).


No. 13: Auburn Tigers (23 points)

Record: 3-2 (1-1)
Last game: 21-17 loss against LSU
Previous ranking: tie No. 11 (dropped two spots)

“Blowing a 17-point lead is a sign that you’re a bad team,” Cetinok said. “Auburn is not just a bad team, but a bad program overall right now.”
“Brutal loss for Auburn,” Parke said. “They just couldn’t stop getting in their own way against LSU. Multiple chances to win, but just couldn’t do it.”
“Even though Auburn lost to LSU, they did play an overall better game,” Fetzer said. “That said, (you) can’t let a 17-point lead slip, and Auburn will probably lose their next two to Georgia and Ole Miss.”

Votes cast: three No. 14 votes (Cetinok, Russell, Benjamin), three No. 13 votes (Pinto, Johnson, Money), one No. 12 vote (Parke), one No. 11 vote (Alvano) and one No. 8 vote (Fetzer).


No. 12: Missouri Tigers (26 points)

Record: 2-3 (0-2)
Last game: 26-22 loss against No. 1 Georgia
Previous ranking: No. 14 (up two spots)

“Came close to beating Georgia,” Russell said. “They just couldn’t hold on, but I’m not going to short them for the effort.”
“This team didn’t have a pulse all year until Georgia came to town,” Johnson said. “Fought them down to the wire and emphasized to the country that when you’re playing in the SEC, it truly is any given team, any given week.”
“This team should have beaten Georgia, but blew it,” Parke said. “Missouri just reaffirmed what I already believed: they aren’t a tough team. In fact, they really aren’t even a good team. Georgia played bad enough that any decent team should have been able to steal the win.”

Votes cast: two No. 13 votes (Parke, Fetzer), six No. 12 votes (Alvano, Cetinok, Johnson, Benjamin, Pinto, Money) and one No. 11 vote (Russell).


No. 11: South Carolina Gamecocks (34 points)

Record: 3-2 (0-2)
Last game: 50-10 win over South Carolina State
Previous ranking: tie No. 11 (no change)

“An easy win over SC State puts South Carolina in my top 10,” Benjamin said. “The Gamecocks are going to be put to the test this weekend in Lexington, so we’ll see how they do there for their next ranking.”
“Still not the best team,” Russell said. “50 points on SC State doesn’t mean much.”
“Gamecocks could salvage this season with a win in Lexington, but Spencer Rattler will have to play the game of his life,” Alvano said.

Votes cast: one No. 13 vote (Alvano), two No. 12 votes (Russell, Fetzer), five No. 11 votes (Parke, Cetinok, Johnson, Pinto, Money) and one No. 9 vote (Benjamin).


No. 10: Texas A&M Aggies (37 points)

Record: 3-2 (1-1)
Last game: 42-24 loss at Mississippi State
Previous ranking: No. 6 (four spot drop)

“This team plays like it has no heart,” Parke said. “I don’t know what the Aggies need, but they don’t have it. So much talent is going to waste the way they’re playing this season.”
“Texas A&M is a mess,” Alvano said. “Tons of pressure and panic in college station right now and Jimbo (Fisher)’s seat is getting warmer and warmer by the minute.”
“A truly dismal showing for the Aggies,” Fetzer said. “Outclassed in every way and the ‘overrated’ notions now hold merit. A&M is not a good team, and the former top-10 team will slowly fade to the bottom of the SEC West.”

Votes cast: one No. 11 vote (Fetzer), three No. 10 votes (Johnson, Benjamin, Cetinok), three No. 9 votes (Alvano, Pinto, Money) and two No. 8 votes (Parke, Russell).


No. 9: Florida Gators (48 points)

Record: 3-2 (0-2)
Last game: 52-17 win over Eastern Washington
Previous ranking: No. 9 (no change)

“We didn’t learn much from Florida’s win over EWU, but they still have potential to play spoiler in the SEC for teams aiming for New Year’s Six bowls,” Johnson said.
“There may be some potential for Florida after introducing quarterback Jalen Kitna,” Money said.
“Much like South Carolina, the Gators picked up an easy win,” Benjamin said. “Eastern Washington was no match for Florida, but I don’t think it means a lot.”

Votes cast: one No. 11 vote (Benjamin), six No. 10 votes (Pinto, Fetzer, Money, Parke, Russell, Alvano), one No. 9 vote (Cetinok) and one No. 7 vote (Johnson).


No. 8: Arkansas Razorbacks (66 points)

Record: 3-2 (1-2)
Last game: 49-26 loss to No. 2 Alabama
Previous ranking: No. 7 (dropped one spot)

“Scored 26 on Bama, but gave up 49,” Russell said. “Not the best, but I don’t think anybody below them deserves to be ranked higher.”
“Couldn’t overcome Alabama, but I thought they put in a good effort,” Money said.
“I know Arkansas played Alabama, but the game was lost after the Tide went up 28-7,” Fetzer said. “They need to rebound against Mississippi.”

Votes cast: one No. 9 vote (Fetzer), four No. 8 votes (Money, Cetinok, Johnson, Alvano) and four No. 7 votes (Pinto, Benjamin, Parke, Russell).


No. 7: LSU Tigers (67 points)

Record: 4-1 (2-0)
Last game: 21-17 win at Auburn
Previous ranking: No. 8 (up one spot)

“LSU has a big opportunity this week hosting Tennessee,” Alvano said. “A victory would really spice things up in the SEC.”
“I’m high on this LSU team,” Cetinok said. “I don’t care how dysfunctional that Auburn program is, coming from a 17-0 deficit to win 21-17 in hostile SEC territory is hard to do. Jaylen Daniel’s injury is certainly something to keep an eye on, but this team is gaining momentum more and more each week.”
“I’m skeptical,” Parke said. “They’ve done what they’ve needed to so far, but I’m not sure I’m willing to buy LSU stock yet.”

Votes cast: three No. 9 votes (Parke, Russell, Johnson), two No. 8 votes (Benjamin, Pinto), one No. 7 vote (Cetinok) and three No. 6 votes (Alvano, Money, Fetzer).


No. 6: Mississippi State Bulldogs (78 points)

Record: 4-1 (1-1)
Last game: 42-24 win over No. 17 Texas A&M
Previous ranking: No. 10 (up four spots)

“Will Rogers looks golden right now,” Russell said. “They beat No. 17 Texas A&M and I think Mississippi State is getting better every game.”
“When this offense is clicking, no one can stop the Bulldogs,” Cetinok said. “This team still has a lot of challenges to face being in the West but don’t look now as this might be the best Egg Bowl in recent times as they take on Ole Miss later this year.”
“I’ll admit my mistakes in ranking Mississippi State so low last week,” Alvano said. “The Bulldogs’ offense looked superb against Texas A&M. Biggest jump for me in the poll and it’s not even close.”

Votes cast: three No. 7 votes (Alvano, Fetzer, Money) and six No. 6 votes (Parke, Russell, Cetinok, Johnson, Benjamin, Pinto).


No. 5: Kentucky Wildcats (91 points)

Record: 4-1 (1-1)
Last game: 22-19 loss at No. 14 Ole Miss
Previous ranking: No. 4 (dropped one spot)

“Kentucky doesn’t change in my books,” Parke said. “The only thing Oxford showed for me was that UK was exactly the same flawed yet talented squad I thought it was. Not a great game in Ole Miss but if Kentucky could’ve gotten out of its own way even once that’s probably a different result.”
“I’m not going to beat up Kentucky for a hard road loss against an undefeated top 15 team, but that was probably one of the worst games I’ve ever seen the kicking unit have,” Cetinok said. “If this team wants to be what many think it could be, Will Levis will have to play better.”
“Still a good team despite the tough loss,” Russell said. “A controversial missed targeting call and costly mistakes cost the Wildcats. (Despite this), UK is still better than Ole Miss.”

Votes cast: eight No. 5 votes (Parke, Alvano, Cetinok, Johnson, Benjamin, Pinto, Fetzer, Money) and one No. 4 vote (Russell).


No. 4: Ole Miss Rebels (100 points)

Record: 5-0 (1-0)
Last game: 22-19 win over No. 7 Kentucky
Previous ranking: No. 5 (up one spot)

“Ole Miss proved that as an undefeated team it is a growing threat in the SEC after their win over Kentucky this weekend,” Money said.
“After beating Kentucky in Oxford, Ole Miss makes the jump,” Pinto said. “Held Kentucky to just 19 points and sealed the game with a strip sack.”
“(Ole Miss) beat No. 7 Kentucky, but Kentucky lost that game themselves,” Russell said. “I still think UK is better.”

Votes cast: one No. 5 vote (Russell), six No. 4 votes (Parke, Alvano, Cetinok, Johnson, Pinto, Fetzer) and two No. 3 votes (Benjamin, Money).


No. 3: Tennessee Volunteers (106 points)

Record: 4-0 (1-0)
Last game: bye week
Previous ranking: No. 3 (no change)

“Tennessee has the best offense in the nation with Hendon Hooker at the helm,” Pinto said. “Hooker is a threat with his legs too alongside two solid backs in Jaylen Wright and Jabari Small. Additionally, Tennessee’s defense is strong. Currently leading the SEC with eight takeaways so far this season.”
“Bye week for the Vols,” Parke said. “I’m still bought into the hype. I think Tennessee is legit.”
“With the off week I couldn’t move Tennessee up,” Benjamin said. “Tennessee and Ole Miss battling for the third and fourth spots in the SEC will be an interesting battle to follow in the coming weeks.”

Votes cast: two No. 4 votes (Money, Benjamin) and seven No. 3 votes (Pinto, Fetzer, Johnson, Cetinok, Alvano, Russell, Parke).


No. 2: Georgia Bulldogs (119 points)

Record: 5-0 (2-0)
Last game: 26-22 win at Missouri
Previous ranking: No. 1 (dropped one spot)

“You simply can’t look that bad against Missouri and stay No. 1,” Parke said. “It just can’t happen. Sure, Georgia won and stayed undefeated but truthfully, they really didn’t deserve to. The Bulldogs are very lucky that Missouri was not a better team.”
“I said last week Georgia was the best team in the country,” Alvano said. “Well, maybe they’re second best. At this point Georgia and Bama may flip every week until they play in the SEC Championship.”
“Every team makes mistakes and we definitely saw that over the weekend at Missouri,” Money said. “I feel confident Georgia will recover next week.”

Votes cast: seven No. 2 votes (Parke, Russell, Alvano, Cetinok, Johnson, Benjamin, Fetzer) and two No. 1 votes (Pinto, Money).


No. 1: Alabama Crimson Tide (124 points)

Record: 5-0 (2-0)
Last game: 49-26 win at No. 20 Arkansas
Previous ranking: No. 2 (up one spot)

“Arkansas has never beat a Saban-led Alabama team,” Cetinok said. “(The Tide) showed them who’s boss once again despite flirting with the idea of losing early, with the only concern being Bryce Young’s injury. That said, Jalen Milroe is more than capable… if Bill O’Brian actually lets him run plays that is.”
“Losing Bryce Young and still beating Arkansas by 20-plus shows the incredible depth and talent this roster has,” Johnson said.
“Georgia’s near disaster moves Alabama to No. 1 for me,” Benjamin said. “They played a really good game against the Hogs without star Bryce Young for most of the game.”

Votes cast: two No. 2 votes (Pinto, Money) and seven No. 1 votes (Parke, Russell, Alvano, Cetinok, Johnson, Benjamin, Fetzer).