The halfway point of the 2020 Southeastern Conference football season is here. Four teams in the conference are in the AP Top-10, contenders and pretenders are emerging as the push for the playoffs start to heat up. Here are the current SEC standings with a couple notes on each team.
1. #2 Alabama (5-0)
The Crimson Tide have shown that they’re the team to beat, they remain the only unbeaten team in the conference. Quarterback Mac Jones and running back Najee Harris have the Tide offense rolling this season, a large contribution to the team’s success. The Tide average 48.4 points per game, which leads the conference. They are one of two teams in the SEC that average over 500 yards per game, with the other being Ole Miss.
2. #8 Texas A&M (3-1)
Outside of a beatdown in Bryant Denny Stadium in Week 2 to Alabama, the Aggies have found ways to win football games. Jimbo Fisher’s squad knocked off then-ranked No. 4 Florida three weeks ago and beat Mississippi State in Starkville in their last game. Kellen Mond has thrown just two interceptions this season, tied for second best in the conference.
3. Auburn (3-2)
Auburn was ranked in the Top-10 in the preseason, but road losses to Georgia and South Carolina caused Auburn to quickly drop out of the rankings altogether. However, the Tigers have found a new star at running back in Tank Bigsby, who week in and week out continues to dominate SEC defenses. Bigsby has rushed for over 100 yards in each of the last three games, and has turned into an Auburn fan favorite.
4. Arkansas (2-2)
Transfer quarterback Felipe Franks has sparked an Arkansas program that hasn’t had this kind of energy in years. The Razorbacks had not won a conference game since 2017 entering the season. In their first four games thus far, they have two. Defensively, the Hogs have declared 2020 a no-fly zone. They lead the league in interceptions with 10 this season.
5. LSU (2-2)
Similar to Auburn, the defending national champions started the season in the AP Top-10. The Tigers fell out of the rankings after losing their opening game to Mississippi State at home and on the road to Missouri two weeks later. However, LSU looked more like past teams last week in its 52-24 victory over South Carolina, a sign that things might be improving.
6. Mississippi State (1-3)
After a Week 1 victory in Baton Rouge, Mississippi State looked like a serious threat in not only the SEC West, but the overall conference. Since that victory, the Bulldogs have fallen off, losing three straight games where the offense has failed to score more than 14 points in each of them. The only team that has scored less points than Mike Leach’s air raid offense is Vanderbilt.
7. Ole Miss (1-4)
The Rebels lone victory this season came after Kentucky missed an extra point in overtime, winning 42-41. Quarterback Matt Corral is second in the conference in passing yards, only trailing Mac Jones. However, Corral has thrown nine interceptions this far into the season, with only K.J. Costello of Mississippi State ahead of him with 10.
1. #5 Georgia (3-1)
Despite the loss in Tuscaloosa to No. 2 Alabama, the Bulldogs are still serious contenders for the college football playoffs. Dan Lanning’s defense is the best in the SEC, they’ve allowed 78 points so far, an average of 19.5 points per game. The offense isn’t doing so bad, either. “The Mailman”, as quarterback Stetson Bennett IV is nicknamed, has delivered consistent passes for the offense since he came onto the scene in the second half of the Arkansas game.
2. #10 Florida (2-1)
The Gators will take the field on Saturday following a near three-week hiatus from playing due to positive COVID-19 tests within the program. Ranked 10th in the nation, quarterback Kyle Trask has the best touchdown to interception ratio in the conference. The senior is putting up career numbers, completing 71.8% of his passes with 14 touchdowns and one interception.
3. Missouri (2-2)
After beginning the season 0-2, Missouri has reached the halfway point on a high note, winning its previous two games. The Tigers’ biggest games of the season will be their next two, a road trip to No. 10 Florida followed by a home game against No. 5 Georgia. Missouri is the only team in the SEC without an interception this season.
4. Kentucky (2-3)
So far this season, Kentucky has been inconsistent in its success. When that success does come around, though, it’s in dominating fashion. The Wildcats began the season 0-2 with losses at Auburn and a heartbreaking defeat against Ole Miss. The next two games, Kentucky outscored its opponents 58-9. It looked as if the Wildcats had rediscovered the same success with Terry Wilson Jr. taking snaps as they had in 2018. However a loss against Missouri put a bump in the road and Kentucky is under .500 at the halfway mark.
5. Tennessee (2-3)
The season started off bright for Tennessee, as quarterback Jarrett Guarantano led the Vols to two straight wins to start the season. The offense looked productive and the defense was playing well enough to give the team a chance to win. The Volunteers even led at halftime 21-17 against then No. 3 Georgia. They lost that game 44-21. Since halftime of the Georgia game, Tennessee has been outscored 109-24 by its opponents, and the Volunteers have lost three straight.
6. South Carolina (2-3)
The Gamecocks score more points than anyone in the SEC East, yet sit near the bottom of the standings. That may have something to do with the average of 30 points per game that the South Carolina defense allows. The Gamecocks showed flashes of defensive improvement in the Top-25 win against Auburn, but were exposed by LSU a week later. Inconsistency has been a common theme for South Carolina so far this season, and will need to improve if the Gamecocks want to finish above .500.
7. Vanderbilt (0-3)
Outside of Alabama and Georgia, there’s a wide range of average teams where week in and week out the games have been competitive. Then there’s Vanderbilt, the clear bottom dwellers of this season, where points are scarce and wins are unheard of thus far. Vanderbilt is at the bottom of nearly every statistical category, averaging 8.6 points per game on offense while allowing an average of 33 points per game defensively.