And then there was one.
With its 33-14 win against Texas A&M, Alabama is the SEC’s only unbeaten team — and thus king of the momentum rankings.
The Crimson Tide doesn’t have the market cornered on good vibrations, however. Several other schools are coming into form as the season progresses. A few other teams need a change of direction sooner rather than later.
Here’s a look at the momentum rankings for each SEC school leading up to Week 9:
Rolling: Nick Saban’s squad is 8-0, ranked No. 1 in the Associated Press poll and has a week off to get ready for a trip to Baton Rouge. Life is good.
Neutral: Alabama beat LSU two of the last three times the teams have met in Tiger Stadium. All three were decided by seven points or fewer.
In reverse: Safety Eddie Jackson’s broken leg is not only bad for Alabama, but for college football as well. Get well soon, No. 4.
Neutral: Arkansas looked like a team in need of a rest during Saturday’s loss to Auburn. That’s what it will get this week.
In reverse: There are bad nights, and then there are unmitigated disasters. Giving up 56 points and 543 rushing yards to Auburn qualifies as the latter for the defense.
The offense, particularly the line, deserves some scrutiny as well. Twenty-five rushing yards on 31 carries is awful. The fact that Austin Allen got hit or pressured on more than half of his passing attempts doesn’t bode well for his future, either.
Rolling: For every yin, there’s a yang. As bad as Arkansas’ night was, it was equally positive for the Tigers. Not only is Gus Malzahn’s squad leading the SEC in rushing yards, but quarterback Sean White is tops in the conference in passer rating.
A four-game winning streak has Auburn very much in the mix for the SEC West crown. There’s plenty of work that needs to be done, however.
Neutral: Momentum is a fickle mistress. A slip up in Oxford against the reeling Rebels this weekend would throw cold water on the red-hot Tigers.
Rolling: With two weeks off in October (thanks to Hurricane Matthew) Florida is about as rested and healthy as it can be in advance of “The World’s Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party.”
Quarterback Luke Del Rio should be a bit sharper coming off his knee injury, and three starting defensive linemen should return to action as well.
Neutral: Linebacker Jarrad Davis is an injury doubt. He’d be a big miss for the Gators. Jim McElwain’s team currently holds the inside track to repeat as SEC East champions, but all that changes if Georgia pulls the upset on Saturday.
Neutral: At 4-3, the mood around the program isn’t exactly cheerful. Narrow losses to Tennessee and Vanderbilt could have gone the other way, but wishing for things doesn’t make them come true.
The critics are chirping about Kirby Smart, offensive coordinator Jim Chaney, offensive line coach Sam Pittman and pretty much everyone else not named Jacob Eason.
The good news? The tenor would change in a big way with a win against the hated Gators.
In reverse: After rushing for just 75 yards against Vanderbilt, Georgia faces an even better run defense this week in Jacksonville. It may take a little magic through the air from Eason to make this outdoor cocktail party a cheerful one.
Rolling: Nothing energizes a team like a game-winning field goal. Austin MacGinnis’ 51-yard boot last time out gave the Wildcats a win against Mississippi State — and a healthy boost to their bowl chances.
With a trip to slumping Missouri next on the schedule, Kentucky has the chance to not only pick up its fifth win of the season, but stay in the hunt for an East title, too.
Neutral: A pessimist would point out the Wildcats blew a 10-point fourth-quarter lead and fumbled away a sure touchdown that would have pushed the margin to 17. A win is a win, but it didn’t have to be so dramatic.
Rolling: Welcome back, Leonard Fournette. The junior running back terrorized Ole Miss last week, rushing for 284 yards and 3 touchdowns on a paltry 16 carries. The second-half adjustments from the new coaching regime were also solid, as LSU scored 17 unanswered points after intermission.
Three games into the Ed Orgeron era, the Tigers are averaging 536 yards of offense and 41.7 points per game. If the mandate for him getting the job full time was to revitalize the offense, he’s getting it done.
Neutral: Two of those three opponents, Ole Miss and Missouri, rank outside the top 100 nationally in rush defense. A greater challenge, in the form of Alabama, lies ahead in Week 10.
In reverse: If the wheels were coming off after the overtime loss to BYU, the engine fell out in Lexington. The Bulldogs defense was shredded by land and by air by the Wildcats, and only Kentucky miscues (see above) made this game as close as it was.
A Google search today found a cost-benefit analysis of firing Dan Mullen — an unthinkable prospect a few months ago. The knives are out in Starkville. Since the Bulldogs are only likely to be favored once in a five-game run to finish the season, things may get worse before they get better.
For the record, firing Mullen would be silly. But stranger things have happened.
In reverse: Middle Tennessee State isn’t a bad team, but the Blue Raiders shouldn’t be wrecking Homecoming at an SEC school.
A combination of defensive injuries, penalties and turnovers doomed Missouri in a 51-45 loss, and coach Barry Odom is looking for answers.
“There’s no way in the world we’re going to play as inconsistent as we did on Saturday and win a game,” he said. “Our margin for error is zero.”
To make matters worse, linebacker Michael Scherer and defensive lineman Terry Beckner Jr. suffered torn ACLs in the loss and are out for the season.
In reverse: Remember when the Rebels had big first-half leads against Florida State and Alabama? Their 3-4 overall record feels like a long way from the beginning of the season, when inconsistency was just beginning to be an issue for them.
Perhaps Tuesday’s players-only meeting will snap Ole Miss out of its funk. It needs better play from its defense, particularly the linebacking corps, if it hopes to slow down Auburn’s potent ground game this weekend.
With four interceptions in his last three games, the Rebels could use a bit of a rebound from Chad Kelly as well.
Rolling: Quarterback Jake Bentley’s redshirt is gone, but he replaced it with a win over UMass in his first start. He was 17 of 26 for 201 yards and 2 touchdowns and didn’t look overawed by the occasion.
Another true freshman, Rico Dowdle, led the team in rushing with 87 yards and a score. Youth is being served in Will Muschamp’s first season, and that only helps on the recruiting trail.
Neutral: The win snapped a three-game slide for the Gamecocks and moved them to 3-4 overall. Three wins in the final five games are needed to become bowl eligible. That quest begins at home with a visit from Tennessee, which is coming off a bye.
Rolling: This week, Arkansas needs a bye. Last week, Tennessee needed one. The Volunteers’ injury list had gotten far too long, and that took a toll in back-to-back losses to Texas A&M and Alabama.
There will still be some players missing from the starting lineup, but a few others are getting healthy:
Tennessee players back at practice:
— Jesse Re Simonton (@JesseReSimonton) October 25, 2016
In reverse: “Sandstorm” is playing over the loudspeakers at Tennessee’s practices this week, which is fitting since “Rocky Top” is the tune of choice for South Carolina workouts this week.
Muschamp had a 4-0 record against the Volunteers during his tenure at Florida. He’ll be looking to continue that good fortune in his new gig. Tennessee has won three of the last four meetings, but the margin for all four is a combined 11 points.
Neutral: The Aggies were the most recent team to run into the juggernaut that is the Crimson Tide, but it wasn’t a terrible performance. It was a one-score game deep into the third quarter, which is better than most have fared against the defending national champions.
The stage is still set for a remarkable season for Kevin Sumlin’s crew. The season finale against LSU is the only game left on the schedule featuring a foe with a winning record. Should chaos reign in a couple of other Power 5 conferences, the Aggies could still have a shot at the playoff.
Rolling: Scheduling an FCS opponent like Tennessee State is designed to give a team a stress-free win that helps pave the way to a bowl berth. Vanderbilt’s 35-17 victory did just that.
Ralph Webb and Khari Blasingame each topped 100 yards on the ground for the Commodores, with Blasingame finding the end zone three times.
The win marked the first time in the Derek Mason era that his team has won back-to-back games. That’s a nice stat to take into a bye week.