Texas A&M (3-1, 1-0 SEC) earned its much-needed third victory and first SEC win, defeating the visiting Auburn Tigers 27-10 behind a second-half rally aided by backup quarterback Max Johnson’s two touchdown passes after starting signal-caller Conner Weigman’s ankle injury pushed him out of the lineup.
Taking on the Arkansas Razorbacks in Week 5 during the annual South West Classic in Arlington, Texas, Tennessee, Florida, Georgia, and Missouri were the only conference programs facing non-conference opponents.
At the same time, the SEC slate was headlined by LSU and Arkansas’s Saturday night QB duel between Tiger’s quarterback Jayden Daniels and Razorbacks quarterback K.J Jefferson, as the Tigers outlasted the visitors 34-31 with a last-second field goal.
As the SEC West is in its final year of existence, five matchups remain for the Aggies, with SEC East opponents, including Tennesee and South Carolina, rounding off the rest of their conference opponents to finish the year.
While Georgia still dominates the conference until further notice, the SEC West is wide open, with every team sustaining at least one loss. To gauge who presently reigns supreme, here is a brief comprehensive ranking of the SEC, focusing on the SEC West for clearer context. Enjoy!
Mississippi State (2-2, 0-2 SEC)
Last game: 37-30 loss to South Carolina
In head coach Zach Arnett’s inaugural season with the Bulldogs, a sudden change in offensive scheme with less focus on the late head coach Mike Leach’s air raid system while running the ball at a higher clip, early wins against SE Louisiana and Arizona were promising.
Still, once conference play came knocking, the LSU Tigers laid an absolute whooping in the form of a 41-14 beating among the Cowbells, and last Saturday, despite quarterback Will Rogers’s 487 yards through the air, South Carolina would outscore the Bulldogs 10-3 in the fourth quarterback to escape with a 37-30 victory. If the defense doesn’t improve, it’s gonna be a long season in Starkville.
Next game: At home vs. Alabama (-14.5)
Auburn Tigers (31-, 0-1 SEC)
Last game: 27-10 loss at Texas A&M
Another first-year head coach in the SEC, offensive mastermind Hugh Freeze, knows what he’s doing based on his resume alone. However, after starting 3-0, which was still suspect after a close 14-10 road win against Cal, everything fell apart against the Aggies on Saturday afternoon. Only trailing 6-3 at halftime, Texas A&M’s surprise defense netted seven sacks and 15 tackles for loss and limited the Tigers to only 54 passing yards among three quarterbacks, all while outscoring the Tigers 21-7 in the second half.
Time will tell how quickly Freeze can get the program back among the top programs in the conference, but this year ain’t it with one of the hardest remaining schedules in the country.
Next game: Georgia (-14.5) at Auburn
Get more Auburn news, analysis, and opinions on AuburnWire.
Arkansas Razorbacks (2-2, 0-1 SEC)
Last game: 34-31 loss at LSU
Razorbacks quarterback K.J. Jefferson is, and always has been, “that dude,” cementing his elite nature in the pocket after passing for 289 yards and three touchdowns against the questionable LSU secondary. Still, due to poor defense, LSU signal caller Jayden Daniels (320 yards, 4 TDs) outdueled the senior, dropping Arkansas to 2-2 with two straight losses. This weekend, the annual South West classic matchup against Texas A&M will likely answer any remaining identity-based questions moving forward.
Next game: Arkansas vs. Texas A&M (-6.5)
Get more Arkansas news, analysis, and opinions on RazorbacksWire.
Texas A&M Aggies (3-1, 1-0 SEC)
Last game: 27-10 home win vs. Auburn
Let’s keep it brief and concise: Texas A&M still has a lot to prove even after their impressive win over Auburn, and outside of quarterback Conner Weigman’s lingering ankle injury without a return timeline, backup Max Johnson is more than capable of leading the Aggies offense behind Bobby Petrino’s play-calling, but after the impressive Aggie defense recorded seven sacks and 15 tackles for loss against the Tigers, is this type of production sustainable? We shall see, starting with the dangerous Arkansas Razorbacks.
Next game: Texas A&M (-6.5) vs. Arkansas
Get more Texas A&M news, analysis, and opinions on AggiesWire.
Ole Miss Rebels (3-1, 0-1 SEC)
Last game: 24-10 loss at Alabama
I’m not gonna lie; it’s a great day anytime Ole Miss head coach Lane Kiffin is humbled on the gridiron. Facing his former boss, Alabama head coach Nick Saban, Kiffin’s usual elite offensive playcalling hit a wall as quarterback Jaxson Dart took a beating in the pocket and on the run, as the Rebels were held to just ten points after scoring 73, 37, and 48 in their last three games.
Hosting the LSU Tigers this Saturday, Kiffin will need Dart to have one of his best games of the season in order to keep up with the Tigers’s high-flying offense.
Next game: LSU (-3.0) at Ole Miss
Alabama Crimson Tide (3-1, 1-0 SEC)
Last game: 24-10 win over Ole Miss
Alabama head coach Nick Saban’s 2023 struggles took a sudden break against the Rebels, as the Tide’s weird quarterback carousel revolved back to opening day starter Jalen Milore, who completed 17-21 for 225 yards and a touchdown, finding enough success against Ole Miss’s secondary while limiting Lane Kiffin’s offense to it’s lowest production all season.
After barely winning on the road against South Florida the week prior, there are still questions at quarterback, but defensively, it looks like Alabama looks like, well, Alabama.
Next game: Alabama (14.5) at Mississippi State
Get more Alabama news, analysis, and opinions on RollTideWire.
LSU Tigers (3-1, 2-0 SEC)
Last game: 34-31 win over Arkansas
LSU started the season on one of the lowest notes, losing 45-24 to Florida State on a neutral field, but after shutting out the critics and focusing on the season at hand, the Tigers opened SEC play with a 41-14 road win over Mississippi State, while recently escaping with a 34-31 shootout over Arkansas last weekend.
Senior quarterback Jayden Daniels (1,296, 12 TD, 2 INT) is playing like the best quarterback in the SEC. Still, with remaining questions in the defensive secondary, LSU may remain the best team in the West division, but the schedule only gets tougher from here on out.
Next game: LSU (-3.0) at Ole Miss
Get more LSU Tigers news, analysis, and opinions on LSUTigersWire.