SEC Power Rankings: Tide rises, Georgia declines and looking for answers

AUBURN, Ala. — Kirby Smart isn’t about to apologize for a road win at Missouri, even while many wonder what is happening to his Georgia football team.

The same Bulldogs who routed Oregon by a 49-3 count and steamrolled South Carolina 48-6 have looked susceptible in wins over Kent State (39-22) and at Missouri (26-22).

“We have to have some answers ... and we have to get answers for them fast,” Smart said. “It starts with getting some wide receivers healthy and being able to run the ball.”

RELATED: Auburn coach has an interesting reaction to comment on Stetson Bennett

The Bulldogs’ pass game has sputtered of late with Stetson Bennett, as Georgia clearly isn’t the same team with feature receiver A.D. Mitchell out with an ankle injury the past three games and Ladd McConkey missing a step while playing with turf toe.

Smart knows his team didn’t look like a championship club much of the night against an inspired Missouri team that was looking to shock the world.

But the Bulldogs certainly responded like champions, rallying from 22-12 down in the fourth quarter after being held without a TD through three quarters for the first time in Todd Monken’s three years as offensive coordinator.

RELATED: 3 things from Kirby Smart, how Bulldogs are recreating their identity

SEC Power Rankings

Alabama

The Tide showed some grit on the road at Arkansas, blowing out the Hogs even after losing starting QB Bryce Young to a shoulder injury.

RELATED: How Tide found a way to beat Razorbacks despite Bryce Young injury

Georgia

The Bulldogs’ talent kicked in at the end of the road win at Missouri and young leaders like Jamon Dumas-Johnson and Brock Bowers asserted themselves.

RELATED: Looking back at clutch fourth-quarter drives that saved Georgia football season

Ole Miss

The Rebels flexed some defensive muscle by holding Kentucky on downs and forcing a key fumble late, and the offense did the rest in holding serve at home.

Tennessee

The Vols had a bye week, good news in Knoxville which is still celebrating the first win over Florida in six years, and more time for Josh Heupel to dial in some new offensive twists.

LSU

The Bayou Bengals came from 17-0 down to pull out a 21-17 win at Auburn, but QB Jayden Daniels was knocked out of the game. Even if cleared this week, Daniels is taking more hits than he needs to.

Kentucky

It was a disappointing loss at Ole for the Wildcats, who were their own worst enemies with turnovers, missed field goals and botched extra-point snaps. Mark Stoops needs to regain momentum.

Mississippi State

Mike Leach beat Jimbo Fisher and Texas A&M, and then he let him hear about it by mentioning how highly coveted the Aggies recruits were supposed to be.

Arkansas

Sam Pittman’s team has two losses and the season isn’t even half over. A tough schedule includes a road trip to BYU up next.

Texas A&M

The Aggies lost their best receiver and have a daunting road trip to Tuscaloosa on Saturday, where Jimbo Fisher’s harsh comments aimed at Nick Saban are sure to come up again.

Florida

The Gators had a breather against Eastern Washington and now get another home game with Missouri. Quarterback Anthony Richardson gets better with each outing.

Auburn

The Tigers have led by double digits in each of their past five SEC losses, an amazing stat that suggests all they need to do is learn to finish.

RELATED: Harsin’s Tigers let a close one slip away on The Plains

Missouri

The Tigers gave Georgia all it wanted last Saturday night in Columbia, but a shaky offense simply doesn’t pack enough punch to accomplish anything of consequence this season.

South Carolina

The Gamecocks beat South Carolina State last Thursday, giving them two extra days to prepare for what promises to be a tough trip to Lexington.

Vanderbilt

The Commodores had an extra week to prepare for a home game against Ole Miss, but it might not make a difference if Vanderbilt’s line play doesn’t improve.

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