Why the Bulldogs should be No. 1 in SEC Power Poll

Does this guy have the best team in the SEC? Most of the conference beat writers think Hugh Freeze does in the Ole Miss Rebels.

ATHENS — I don’t know if you’ve had a chance yet to check out our new sister website, SECcountry.com, but if you haven’t I can tell you it’s worth your while. In the same format that we’re covering Georgia football at DawgNation.com, the AJC is covering SEC football on that site. We have correspondents filing stories on every team in the conference every day.

One of the features therein is the weekly SEC Country Power Poll. Each week we poll SEC beat writers from around the league — including yours truly — and a few national guys and ask them to rank the teams 1 through 14. Ole Miss, as will probably come as no surprise, topped the poll this week, followed by LSU, then Georgia.

For the record, I voted the Bulldogs No. 1 in this week. And I might have been the only one.

As for reasons why, it was pretty simple to me. Going into the games last weekend, I had Georgia as the second highest-rated team in the conference. The Bulldogs beat a division rival by 32 points at home and looked pretty good doing it. The top team went down; UGA moves up. That’s all. Plus, in these sort of regional polls, I feel compelled to represent, err on the side of zip code, I like to say.

As for Ole Miss, yes, the Rebels beat Alabama on the road and that was extremely impressive. But they also benefited from five Crimson Tide turnovers, and many of those were of the “not forced” variety, in my opinion. The Rebels also had a couple of fortuitous offensive plays as well. Again, they were great, and very lucky, too.

And odd as this may sound, I thought Alabama was a bit mismanaged in this game. I thought they ham-handed the quarterback situation from the get-go. I also thought they abandoned the running game way too early. Just a bad day altogether for the Crimson Tide.

This is one of those years I wish Georgia and Ole Miss played because I’d love to see the Bulldogs’ run game versus the acclaimed “Landshark” defense. It’s giving up 20.3 points and 370 yards per game, by the way.

Maybe we will, eventually. If there was ever a year the Rebels could finally break through and get to Atlanta, this would seem to be the one. The schedule sets up well for them.

And the beauty of this thing is it can change week-to-week. Obviously Alabama could change my mind completely when it visits Athens on Oct. 3. As for the Rebels, with Vandy this week in Oxford, it might be Oct. 3 at Florida before we see them challenged again, if then.

Following are my rankings. Tell me where I got it wrong.

CHIP’S SEC POWER POLL

  1. Georgia
  2. Ole Miss
  3.  LSU
  4. Alabama
  5. Texas A&M
  6. Tennessee
  7. Auburn
  8. Missouri
  9. Miss. State
  10. Florida
  11. Arkansas
  12. Kentucky
  13. South Carolina
  14. Vanderbilt
NextUGA-Alabama showdown gets the CBS prime slot
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