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Florida remains No. 3 in SEC Power Poll, and Alligator Army's first 2015 ballot

The Gators are still among the SEC's upper tiers.

Chris Graythen/Getty Images

The Week 8 SEC Power Poll is finally out, and it has Florida in a predictable spot: No. 3. The Gators once again take the bronze in the Power Poll, marking their second straight week at No. 3.

And any gain on No. 2 — Alabama, this week, as the Tide slide back to No. 2 and allow LSU to take the top spot — was really incremental: Florida picked up 130 points two weeks ago, and 142 points this week. The difference, one of 12 points, is fully explained by a new voter giving the Gators a third-place vote. That voter was, er, us: We submitted an Alligator Army ballot for the first time in 2015 this week.

Here's how the Power Poll looks for Week 8:

SEC Power Poll, Week 8

Team (First-place votes) Points Change Standard Deviation
1 LSU Tigers (8) 164 +1 0.492
2 Alabama Crimson Tide (4) 160 -1 0.492
3 Florida Gators 142 -- 0.577
4 Ole Miss Rebels 129 +2 0.754
5 Mississippi St. Bulldogs 119 -- 1.165
6 Texas A&M Aggies 99 -2 1.658
7 Georgia Bulldogs 92 -- 1.371
7 Tennessee Volunteers 92 +1 0.888
9 Arkansas Razorbacks 82 -- 0.937
10 Auburn Tigers 58 -- 0.389
11 Kentucky Wildcats 51 -- 0.622
12 South Carolina Gamecocks 28 +1 0.888
13 Vanderbilt Commodores 27 +1 0.622
14 Missouri Tigers 17 -2 0.669

Here's what other voters submitted as comments about the Gators:

I assume that the Gators spent their bye week laughing at the rest of the SEC East.---Garnet and Black Attack

The only thing standing between UF and a trip to Atlanta is a spooky cocktail party and you know damn well that Floridians can handle any nefarious goings on at an outdoor drinking event.---Rock M Nation

And here's how leli and I worked out our vote this week. We're hoping to post our thinking, and a narrative like this one, on Mondays, well before ballots are due at midnight, so you can give us feedback, but I think we reached fine conclusions here.

Andy: So No. 1 is LSU, right?

Leli: Definitely.

Andy: I can't see a good reason to dislodge the Tigers from No. 1. Two weeks from now, though, we'll know a lot more about them.

Leli: They have gotten better each week and are the only team in the SEC still undefeated. Also, Leonard Fournette.

No. 1 LSU

Andy: No. 2: Alabama?

Leli: I could make a case for us or Alabama, really. I think we have the better loss.

Andy: That's certainly true. But I don't think Florida beats Alabama on a neutral field right now. Will Grier gives this team a little bit more than Treon Harris.

Leli: I think Alabama has more upside right now. That defense is very good, as is Derrick Henry. I guess it boils down to whether the Power Poll is resume/results to date or who we believe is the best team. I think it's the latter, so I'd go 'Bama.

Andy: I'm with you on that. Florida gets No. 3, though.

No. 2: Alabama
No. 3: Florida

Andy: No. 4 is ... Mississippi, I guess?

Leli: I guess.

Andy: This gets a whole lot harder after the top three.

Leli: They remembered how to play defense this week against Texas A&M.

Andy: They did, yes. And the offense wasn't bad. And that loss to Memphis doesn't look that bad, really.

Leli: No, Memphis is actually good. They actually ran the ball against Texas A&M, too, which might be more of a product of the Aggies' deficiencies, but still.

Andy: Speaking of those Aggies: It's Mississippi State, A&M, or Georgia in the next three slots, I think.

Leli: I'd have State at No. 5.

Andy: Why?

Leli: I think they have their act together more than a Nick Chubb-less Georgia. I know Texas A&M beat them, but A&M seems to be coming apart, and Mississippi State hammered Kentucky this past weekend.

Andy: And despite what Kentucky hasn't been this year, the Wildcats hadn't really gotten hammered until then.

Leli: No. I watched some of that game and MSU looked quite good. Dak Prescott had three rushing and three passing TDs in that game. That is impressive.

Andy: A veritable Trey Burton line!

Leli: Putting Georgia at No. 5 is fine, I guess. I don't feel strongly either way. I'd have them next anyway.

Andy: Let's do MSU at No. 5, Georgia at No. 6, A&M at No. 7. You're right that the Aggies are reeling.

No. 4: Mississippi
No. 5: Mississippi State
No. 6: Georgia
No. 7: Texas A&M

Leli: Yes, I'd order them as such. Georgia isn't the same without Chubb and I don't know what the deal with the Aggies is. Kyle Allen looked baaaaad

Andy: And their defense just isn't great outside of Myles Garrett.

Leli: I think everyone can run on them. I think we could and our running game has been eh. Look at Ole Miss rushing against them versus other opponents.

No. 7: Texas A&M

Andy: Okay. Do we push them behind anyone in the back of the pack? Because the back of the pack is Kentucky, Auburn, Vanderbilt, South Carolina, and Missouri. And woo boy is that a bad assortment of teams.

Leli: I think they might get there eventually. But before that is Arkansas and Tennessee

Andy: Arkansas did almost beat A&M. And wouldn't both those teams beat A&M tomorrow?

Leli: Both those teams still have closing out game issues so I'm not positive, A&M beat MSU but the Aggies seem like a different team now. They do still have five wins, and that ASU one looks better than it did at one point ... but I can't shake this thought that they might be about to spiral

Andy: True. But maybe every team just morphs into a different one by October. I'm cool with whatever order of A&M/Arkansas/Tennessee, now that I think about it. I liked what Tennessee was able to do against Alabama more than Arkansas just barely beating Auburn.

Leli: Yeah, really the way I think of this is in tiers. And that is the next tier. Then it's just placement arguments within the tier.

I'd put Tennessee above Arkansas right now. And, yes, I know the result of their head to head. Tennessee is not a bad team. The Vols have lost some heartbreakers this year and been the victim of some questionable coaching decisions, but they are undeniably talented. Arkansas is kind of in that same category, but Tennessee has been more impressive its last two games than Arkansas has been.

Andy: Yeah, I'm with you on that. Arkansas's best win is ... uh.

Leli: Tennessee?

Andy: Haha, yes. Tennessee's is at least Georgia. Do we reward the head-to-head or the way they've played more recently? I say the latter.

Leli: I agree. I'd have Tennessee before Arkansas. But it's a thin margin.

Andy: Okay. And then A&M?

Leli: I'd have it Aggies, Vols, Razorbacks. But I'm OK if you want to move A&M down. Again, I think they get there eventuall.

Andy: I think, if we're rewarding recent play, they have to be there now. Let them move up if they can.

No. 7: Tennessee
No. 8: Arkansas
No. 9: Texas A&M

Andy: And now for that last pack.

Leli: Kentucky should be leading the final group.

Andy: Ahead of the Auburn team it lost to two weeks ago? And despite that shelling by MSU?

Leli: I have been impressed by nothing Auburn has done, but those are good points. I had Auburn next but we could switch them.

Andy: We're splitting hairs, but those two are still a sight better than the bottom three. This is the bottom step of the basement stairs.

Leli: The shelling by MSU is more the deciding factor for me than the loss to Auburn.

Andy: I think that's fair. Auburn, then Kentucky, and that's a tier.

No. 10: Auburn
No. 11: Kentucky

Andy: Now: How on earth do we differentiate these bad teams?

Leli: Here is my order: Vandy, Missouri, South Carolina

Andy: Vandy did beat the other two about as unimpressively as you can.

Leli: But they did it at least! Oh, wait, South Carolina beat Vandy. It was hideous, though

Andy: Yeeeikes. I forgot Vandy again!

Leli: This is harder to rank than I anticipated

Andy: You see why I didn't do this until now?

Leli: Haha, yeah. I don't want to go off records alone.

Andy: It does seem fair to have South Carolina last, and South Carolina does seem even worse than Missouri, because Missouri has a defense.

Leli: I know South Carolina and Vandy have losing records and Missouri doesn't. Yet.

Andy: But Missouri's offense is by far the worst unit in the SEC.

Leli: Yes, that was my next point. And we can commiserate with that, can't we? Missouri has a good defense and a hindrance on offense.

Andy: I mean, yeah — but it was never even close to this bad under Will Muschamp. Florida's worst game under Muschamp featured an offensive touchdown. Missouri's gone three weeks without any touchdown.

Leli: Vandy's defense is good, too. South Carolina: What's the strength of that team? I'll hang up and listen...

Andy: Shawn Elliott yells a lot. That's what I have.

Leli: So South Carolina would be the end for me. I'd put Vandy above Missouri right now not just for the head to head but also because they have scored a touchdown in the last three games. (Missouri beat South Carolina 24-10. That's how bad South Carolina is.)

Andy: That definitely seems fair. But I don't think anyone would bet on Vandy against any other team in the SEC.

Leli: No.

Andy: I think we're good with Vandy at No. 12. Missouri's definitely worse right now.

Leli: They could win out and win the east, right?

Andy: Sure could! It would take some help, but, hey, it could happen!

No. 12: Vanderbilt
No. 13: Missouri
No. 14: South Carolina

Leli: I feel bad for Missouri's defense.

Andy: You know what's crazy? If Missouri's defense plays a little better against Georgia, it wins that game. A pick-six that could've been got stopped at the 1. They dropped a couple other picks, too.

Leli: I still feel for them. Because you get an interception to the 1 and the offense can't punch it in!?

Andy: Florida's defense scored more touchdowns on Missouri than Missouri's offense has since October 4. That is a true fact. And it may not be the saddest one about Missouri's offense right now.