The Southeastern Conferences is one of the premier conferences in college football, and we finally got a full slate of games from the conference. Some teams performed as expected, such as Tennessee blowing out Virginia in Joe Milton's 2023 debut. Some teams underperformed compared to expectations, such as Florida never being able to catch up to Utah. And some teams were unable to maintain a level of intensity throughout the entire game, such as LSU's second-half collapse against Florida State.
Who was the best? Who has a lot of room for improvement heading into Week 2? SEC power rankings after Week 1 are here.
1. Tennessee (1-0)
The Volunteers picked up right where they left off last season offensively, earning the conference's only Power Five win of the weekend. Joe Milton III had 201 yards and accounted for five touchdowns for the Vols, earning himself SEC Co-Player of the Week honors. Tennessee's run game also looked good, with starter Jaylen Wright having 115 yards on 12 carries. Tennessee looks as if they'll have another one of the top offenses in the country this season.
2. Georgia (1-0)
The Georgia Bulldogs are the two-time defending national champions for a reason, and they had a good showing in quarterback Carson Beck's debut. Although they started slow, Georgia ended up winning the game 48-7. Beck had somewhat of a quiet debut, completing 21 passes on 31 attempts with 294 yards but only one touchdown. Most of the Bulldogs' scoring came on what could be considered their bread and butter: the running game. Beck, Roderick Robinson II and Brock Bowers all had rushing touchdowns.
3. Alabama (1-0)
All offseason, Alabama had question marks on offense. Could Jalen Milroe be the guy at quarterback? Who's going to step up in the run game? Do they have a top receiving threat? Alabama laid all those questions to rest Saturday, putting up a 56-7 win over Middle Tennessee State. Milroe was the first player in Crimson Tide history to throw for three touchdowns and rush for two in the same game, earning himself SEC Co-Player of the Week honors. The two most important building blocks for Alabama: They had just two penalties and zero turnovers. Keeping those numbers low will be vital for the Crimson Tide as they host Texas in Week 2.
4. Texas A&M (1-0)
Conner Weigman and Evan Stewart look to be a problem for opposing defenses this season, as the Aggies beat Football Bowl Subdivision opponent New Mexico 52-10 on Saturday. Weigman totaled five touchdowns for the Aggies, with two of them going to Stewart. The Aggies have a test in Week 2, traveling to Miami for a rematch of last year's game in College Station.
5. Vanderbilt (2-0)
Vanderbilt is the only SEC team with the luxury of claiming to be 2-0, thanks to a win over visiting Hawaii in Week 0. However, the Commodores also played well in Week 1 against Alabama A&M, with starting quarterback AJ Swann accounting for three touchdowns. Next, the Commodores will face their first test of the season, traveling to Wake Forest. Good news for Vanderbilt: They only need two more wins to surpass their projected win total from Vegas — 3.5.
6. Ole Miss (1-0)
Coach Lane Kiffin is always one who likes to put up points, and that was no different Saturday as the Rebels beat up Mercer 73-7. Starting quarterback Jaxson Dart accounted for 334 passing yards and four touchdowns. Kiffin and the Rebels will face a much tougher opponent this week, traveling to New Orleans to take on the Tulane Green Wave.
7. Arkansas (1-0)
The Razorbacks' offense looked promising to start quarterback KJ Jefferson's final season. Jefferson accounted for four total touchdowns (three passing, one rushing). And running back Raheim "Rocket" Sanders, whom many project as the top back in the upcoming NFL Draft, also had two touchdowns on the ground. The Razorbacks forced five turnovers and look to capitalize on a turnover-heavy defense to be competitors this season. Arkansas will face Kent State for its second of three games to start the season at home.
8. Kentucky (1-0)
Coach Mark Stoops' Wildcats boast a 44-14 win over Ball State, being led by 21 points scored via special teams. Alex Raynor was 3-for-3 on field goals and 5-for-5 on extra points. Meanwhile, Barion Brown had a 99-yard kickoff return for a touchdown. Is the special teams' success sustainable? Kentucky will have a chance to prove it against Eastern Kentucky this week. Quarterback Devin Leary also had a quiet Wildcat debut, throwing for 241 yards, one touchdown and one pick.
9. Auburn (1-0)
Could coach Hugh Freeze have drawn up a better start to his career on the Plains? The Tigers handled UMass 59-14. Payton Thorne struggled to pass, with just 141 yards and a touchdown. So the Tigers' run game looks to be their primary threat this season, with four players accounting for rushing touchdowns on Saturday (including backup quarterback Robby Ashford totaling three). The Tigers have a big road trip ahead of them, going all the way out to California to take on the Golden Bears.
10. Mississippi State (1-0)
The Bulldogs put up an all-around good performance against Southeast Louisiana. Will Rogers began his fourth year at State with 227 yards and two passing touchdowns. Meanwhile, Jo'Quavious Marks rushed for 127 yards and two scores on the ground. Mississippi State will host the Arizona Wildcats this week and is looking for a 2-0 start before playing host to the defending SEC West champions, LSU.
11. Missouri (1-0)
In what possibly could be considered the most "vanilla" performance of the week, Missouri had a solid rushing attack, with running back Cody Schrader accounting for 138 yards and a score on the ground. Three players, including quarterback Brady Cook, accounted for scores on the ground en route to a 35-10 win over South Dakota. In Week 2, the Tigers will look to feast on whatever leftovers Alabama left of Middle Tennessee State.
12. South Carolina (0-1)
There was a lot of hype around this team heading into 2023, and while it may not necessarily have been misplaced yet, Mack Brown and Drake Maye for North Carolina quickly silenced Gamecock fans with a 31-17 win. Gamecocks quarterback Spencer Rattler accounted for 353 passing yards and was sacked nine times by the Tar Heels. After spending the week licking their wounds, South Carolina will look to get their first win of the season against Furman before heading to Athens for Week 3.
13. Florida (0-1)
The Gators went up against Utah in a rematch of last year's battle in the Swamp. The Gators escaped with a three-point win in 2022 but weren't so lucky in 2023. Utah came out and scored a touchdown on their first play of the game, and they never looked back as they beat the Gators 24-11. Florida returns home to take on McNeese in Week 2.
14. LSU (0-1)
Good news, Florida fans. If you thought you had the worst Week 1 showing, you're in luck, because LSU had a complete collapse in the second half of their game against Florida State. After taking a three-point lead into halftime, LSU was outscored by 31 in the second half; and the Seminoles, led by Michigan State transfer Keon Coleman's three touchdowns, made LSU quit on the field with a 45-24 win. Tigers head coach Brian Kelly after the game questioned if LSU was the type of team he thought they were.
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