Where LSU Football lands in spring SEC power rankings

Mandatory Credit: Stephen Lew-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Stephen Lew-USA TODAY Sports /
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LSU Football
Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports /

10. Missouri Tigers

Missouri performed much better under Eliah Drinkwitz in 2020 than I thought they would. Under Drinkwitz, the Tigers’ offense improved from No. 93 in the nation (in 2019) to No. 78. I would expect another big improvement in 2021. Missouri is a team that could finish sixth in the SEC East or they could finish third — it’s anyone’s guess.

9. Mississippi State Bulldogs

This is where I think Mississippi State will pretty much reside in SEC power rankings under Mike Leach. I think the Bulldogs will pull off some surprising upsets under Leach (like they did against LSU last season), and then there will be weeks where they lay a massive egg (like they did against Kentucky when Mississippi State scored only 2 points). Leach has more experience than some of the coaches below him on this list, which is why I give the Bulldogs the nod over Arkansas and Mizzou.

8. Kentucky Wildcats

I think Mark Stoops is one of the most underrated coaches in the country. Stoops is 49-50 at Kentucky since 2013. That’s an impressive record for a program that’s historically been a cellar dweller in the SEC East. Kentucky went 5-6 in 2020, destroying Tennessee and South Carolina, and playing Georgia extremely close (UK lost 14-3 to UGA). Kentucky is probably never going to win the SEC East under Stoops (or any other coach), but the days of the Wildcats being an automatic win are over (as long as Stoops remains in Lexington).

7. Auburn Tigers

I’m not really sure how to view Auburn. The program has talent. And they weren’t terrible last season (they went 6-5 with wins against Ole Miss, LSU, and Kentucky). But the Tigers decided that Gus Malzahn wasn’t the coach who is going to return Auburn to the national championship picture. Is Bryan Harsin an upgrade over Malzahn? That’s impossible to know right now. Harsin did well at Boise State, but he’s never coached in the SEC.

6. Ole Miss Rebels

Regardless of what the record says, Ole Miss is going to be fun with Lane Kiffin at the helm. The Rebels went 5-5 last season, including a loss against Alabama where Ole Miss put up 48 points (but they gave up 63). In 2019, the Rebels had the No. 82 offense in the country. In Kiffin’s first season, the offense improved to the No. 14 offense in the country. I’d expect the offense to continue to improve under Kiffin.