No one in the SEC can match the momentum of Alabama and Texas A&M.
When Sunday rolls around, only one of them will be undefeated. That collision is the highlight of the schedule this week, but there are plenty of other teams and players to track on Saturday.
Here’s where the league stands as we look at the momentum rankings for each SEC school leading up to Week 8:
Rolling: When a team’s defense and special teams have scored as many touchdowns (11) as its opponents, success tends to follow.
Neutral: This is the fourth time since the 2010 season that Alabama has started a season with at least seven consecutive wins. Speaking of streaks, the win last week against Tennessee was the 10th in a row in that series.
In reverse: About the only thing that isn’t going Alabama’s way in advance of the clash with Texas A&M is the spread. As 18.5-point favorites, players and coaches will need to guard against overconfidence.
Rolling: Austin Allen was efficient, tossing three touchdown passes. Rawleigh Williams III benefited from strong offensive line play to rush for 180 yards in the win against Ole Miss.
Neutral: The trip to Auburn this week represents the first true SEC road game for the Razorbacks this season. Staying positive in front of a hostile crowd could be key.
In reverse: Tight end Jeremy Sprinkle was wearing a walking boot earlier this week, and his status for Saturday is still in doubt.
Rolling: The Tigers enjoyed a bye week, which should allow running back Kerryon Johnson and center Xavier Dampeer to return to the lineup. Arkansas, on the other hand, will play for the eighth consecutive week.
Neutral: Auburn has won three of its last four games coming off a bye, with the last loss coming against Arkansas in 2012.
In reverse: The Tigers had a week to rest and are riding a three-game winning streak. It’s pretty positive on the Plains now.
Rolling: The Gators arrive at their scheduled bye week on the heels of a defense-dominated 40-14 triumph against Missouri.
Neutral: Quarterback Luke Del Rio returned from a knee injury but didn’t exactly set the world on fire (236 yards, 1 TD, 3 INT). Another week of practice and healing will only help him.
In reverse: One bye week is good. Thanks to Hurricane Matthew, the Gators will have two in October. There could be a rest vs. rust issue in play when Florida meets Georgia next weekend.
Rolling: It would take a true optimist to find the bright spots in a loss to Vanderbilt at Sanford Stadium. Jacob Eason threw for 346 yards and a score without turning the ball over. That’s pretty good.
Neutral: The Bulldogs are 4-3 overall and 2-3 in the league. DawgNation’s Chip Towers correctly points out that, were it not for a Hail Mary and an inability to gain 3 feet on a running play, they easily could be 6-1.
In reverse: With many Georgia fans already calling this a lost season, having a bye week is not the best way to raise everyone’s mood. A win against Florida next weekend in Jacksonville, however, would do nicely.
Rolling: After a win against Vanderbilt and a bye week, the Wildcats return to action Saturday at home against Mississippi State.
Neutral: Stephen Johnson II was forced into action when Drew Barker went down with a back injury. He’s done some nice things with his speed and athleticism, but the Wildcats don’t have a passing touchdown since Johnson tossed three in Week 3.
In reverse: Fans keep calling for Mark Stoops’ head during his coaching show. A win this week would calm that down a bit and inch the Wildcats closer to an elusive bowl bid.
Rolling: A stagnant first half for LSU last week melted away under what was likely a large number of gravel-voiced profanities. A far better second half led to a 45-10 win against Southern Miss.
Two games with interim coach Ed Orgeron and offensive coordinator Steve Ensminger have produced 87 points, and some guy named Leonard Fournette hasn’t appeared in either of them.
In reverse: Missouri and Southern Miss aren’t as talented as the opponent this week. Ole Miss, despite its struggles, will be a test for the new regime on Saturday night in Death Valley.
Rolling: Linebacker Leo Lewis had a dozen tackles in the overtime loss at BYU.
In reverse: Despite leading on three occasions and having the ball in Cougars territory late in regulation, the Bulldogs left Provo with their fourth loss of the season.
This always was going to be something of a rebuilding year, but the near misses against BYU and South Alabama have Dan Mullen’s squad in danger of missing a bowl game.
Rolling: After three weeks (and 2 losses) away from Faurot Field, the Tigers have a home game this week against Middle Tennessee.
Neutral: Damarea Crockett rushed for 145 yards in the loss to Florida. He has 390 yards and three touchdowns in what’s becoming a strong true-freshman campaign.
In reverse: After a hot start, quarterback Drew Lock has regressed. His starting spot is under scrutiny. A win this weekend would not only snap a two-game slide but also help Lock’s confidence.
Rolling: Tight end Evan Engram continues to improve his NFL draft stock. He hauled in seven passes for 111 yards and a score in the loss at Arkansas.
In reverse: Ole Miss is 3-3 and still ranked in the AP Top 25. The good news is that, with a little luck and more consistency, the Rebels could be undefeated. The bad news is that Bill Parcells had it right when he said, “You are what your record says you are.”
Chad Kelly has been a little off at times this season. Anything less than his best exposes a defense that ranks last in the SEC in yards allowed per game.
Rolling: The Gamecocks have dropped three games in a row, but they will try to revitalize the league’s worst offense on Saturday against Massachusetts.
Neutral: The offensive struggles have raised the possibility of burning quarterback Jake Bentley’s redshirt. Fun fact: Despite his early enrollment, he’s actually 6 months older than Brandon McIlwain.
In reverse: It’s never good when parents show up on social media to scold reporters for writing about their children. Yet, that’s what happened this week when McIlwain’s mother, Lena, took 247Sports’ JC Shurburtt to task for his piece on the freshman quarterback.
The key part of the rant was “to justify making the switch to the coach’s son” in reference to Bentley, who is the son of assistant coach Bobby Bentley. Not a great look.
Rolling: With 17 players who have started at least one game for the Volunteers nursing some sort of injury, this is a fine time for a week off.
Neutral: With consecutive losses, Tennessee suddenly needs a little help to overtake Florida in the SEC East race.
In reverse: The Volunteers need to spend this week getting healthy. A visit to South Carolina looms after the bye week, and they’ll be eager to begin a new winning streak.
Rolling: You wouldn’t know it by looking at the spread, but the Aggies exit their bye week with a 6-0 record and plenty of momentum as they get set to visit Alabama.
There are two active quarterbacks who can say they’ve beaten Alabama, and one of them will start for the Aggies this week.
Trevor Knight, who won the Sugar Bowl against the Tide as an Oklahoma freshman, has thrown for 1,500 yards and nine touchdowns. He has 502 yards and nine touchdowns on the ground.
Rolling: The Commodores’ bowl hopes were on life support after a 20-13 loss against Kentucky, but the upset win at Georgia has that pulse going more steadily.
That victory snapped a two-game losing streak and was the first for Vanderbilt against Georgia since 2006.
At 3-4, Vanderbilt hosts FCS foe Tennessee State this week with a chance to grab win No. 4. That would leave it needing two wins in its last four games to reach automatic bowl eligibility.