It’s been a month since I released my SEC preseason power rankings. That was based on zero actual information about how the teams would look and was very vibes heavy. At this point, all eight SEC teams have competed at least four times, and it’s much easier to tell who the top teams are shaping to be in the conference. This will be shorter than the preseason rankings since it’s just a quick update on how everyone’s doing. All opinions are my own and are based on what I’ve seen and read about each team.
#8 Georgia (preseason #7, #8 in SEC by average)
Oh no, Georgia, what are you doing? Georgia’s got great freshmen. They may even have one of the best freshmen groups in the entire country. They don’t have health again, having lost multiple people, including star 5th year Haley de Jong, to injury. This has been a pattern over the last few years in Athens and it’s starting to become a major concern. I think they can turn it around, but until they show it, they’re at the bottom.
#7 Auburn (preseason #6, #7 in SEC by average)
That’s what I was expecting. This is what Auburn should look like: a worse team than the last two years. They’re still competitive, but they aren’t doing as well as I would like them to. Olivia Greaves finally made her college debut Friday, so hopefully she’s in there for them. The biggest reason they’re ahead of Georgia is that they don’t have nearly as many key injuries.
#6 Missouri (preseason #5, #5 in SEC by average)
I have never had so little to say about a team I watched in depth. I rescored Missouri’s performance against LSU and I cannot tell you anything that memorable about it. Missouri looks fine. They’re about as good as they usually are, and that’s fine enough when there are a couple of teams who haven’t pieced together anything too great just yet.
#5 Arkansas (preseason #8, #6 in SEC by average)
I was dead wrong about this team in the preseason. This is a team that’s got a really good feistiness. They’re dangerous to anybody that faces them, just ask Alabama. The performance Friday against LSU was a fluke, but any team who manages to score a 196 counting a fall when judges are being tight on floor and vault should feel good. The sophomores look like they’ve grown, the vault lineup is promising and the floor lineup is top-notch. Kudos to Jordyn Wieber and her staff.
#4 Alabama (preseason #2, #4 in SEC by average)
This is why I didn’t like defending Alabama: it could blow up in my face. Bama’s got a penchant for slow starts that become strong finishes, so I’ll give them a pass. That said, their only home win came against a Mizzou team off their mojo and they got smoked by Kentucky in their own building. That’s not something I expected to happen with a team this talented. The talent is there, the ability is there, but the consistency is missing. I expect them to climb these rankings through the rest of February.
#3 Florida (preseason #3, #3 in SEC by average)
The Gators have improved their score in each of their four meets this season. However, they haven’t scored at least a 197.500 in any of those meets, the first time Florida’s failed to reach that mark in any of their first four meets since 2010, a season in which just four teams had an RQS, the old name for the NQS, above 197. That’s not good. No Kayla and no Trin has made Florida a dull team. They lost their first SEC home meet since 2019 when Bama came in and swept them up, and they barely beat Georgia Friday night. This isn’t the Florida of old, but there’s always the chance they could bite at any moment. If they keep improving every week, they’ll be as formidable as we’ve gotten used to.
#2 LSU (preseason #1, #1 in SEC by average)
Surprise! Until LSU has a great performance on the road, they’re not the top team in the SEC. I’ll detail my thoughts on Friday’s meet more in the recap, but suffice to say that was not a program-record worthy performance. It was great, but it wasn’t the greatest. LSU’s only road dual meet went pretty poorly, and the other road meet only had two high quality rotations. They have more talent than any other SEC team, but that talent hasn’t put together a road meet that makes me think of them as great.
#1 Kentucky (preseason #4, #2 in SEC by average)
Kentucky is a different beast than before. Their performances in the first three meets were decent, but the last two meets have shown a new side to this team: fearlessness. They got run out of the PMAC because they failed to execute at a high level, and they’ve refused to do that the last two weeks. They set a program record in their home opener with a 197.950 and went on the road the following week to beat Bama in Tuscaloosa, a thing they’d never done in their 50-year history. Raena Worley has gotten a 10 on floor in consecutive meets, and this is probably just the start of her quest to make up for the 10s she should’ve earned earlier in her career. That road meet was the difference for me, though Kentucky has a nasty habit of falling in March, especially at SECs. It’ll be interesting to see how this plays out.
Over the next month, expect things to solidify. If Alabama’s the team they ought to be, they’ll figure out their kinks. If Georgia’s not the team they’ve been the last couple years, they’ll get more consistent and find their footing. Things are heating up, so who will rise and who will fall?