SEC Football: Contenders & Pretenders Regular Season Wrap


Paul Abell-USA TODAY Sports

While C&P took a week off, a putrid bowl lineup was trotted out. Celebrating mediocrity by allowing a 6-6 team to a bowl game should be frowned upon. At least the BCS Championship Game will be worth its salt this year.

1. Alabama (Last ranking: 2) Alabama surpasses Texas A&M and checks in at No. 1. It is the sad plight of not playing on the last weekend on the regular season for Aggies. The Alabama nation had a few heart-stopping moments against Georgia in the SEC Championship Game, but the Tide pulled out a 32-28 victory. Alabama gets the opportunity to defend last years BCS Championship against Notre Dame on January 7. Next game: Notre Dame in the BCS National Championship Game

2. Georgia (Last ranking: 3) Why move Georgia up after a loss? Didja watch that game on Saturday? Oh, and count C&P among those who think it is absurd that a team that would have been in the BCS Championship if there had been twenty more seconds on the clock gets bumped down to the Capital One Bowl. Of course, Alabama used a Capital One stomping of Michigan State to catapult itself into consecutive BCS Title appearances. Woe is Nebraska in this matchup. Next game: Nebraska in the Capital One Bowl

3. Texas A&M (Last ranking: 1) Texas A&M is one of the nice surprises for the college football season. The Aggies have a 10-2 record heading into the Cotton Bowl against Oklahoma. The game will renew an old Big 12 rivalry and has the makings to be a scoring fest. Next game: Oklahoma in the Cotton Bowl

4. Florida (Last ranking: 6) Florida gets a bump after dropping 24 points on FSU in the fourth quarter two weeks ago, and then backing into a BCS bowl against Louisville. The Gators have had a great season, and the storylines will be flying about Louisville head coach Charlie Strong assuming Strong is still the Cardinals coach at game time. Next game: Louisville in the Sugar Bowl

5. South Carolina (Last ranking: 6) South Carolina ended the season at 10-2 after a victory over rival Clemson. The Gamecocks draw Michigan in the Outback Bowl. The Wolverines have losses to two undefeated teams, and Alabama. Given the injury issues South Carolina has had to overcome, this game will be a good one. Next game: Michigan in the Outback Bowl

6. LSU (Last ranking: 4) LSU tried really hard to lose to Arkansas during Rivalry week. The Tigers did win, and finish the regular season with a 10-2 record. LSU got Clemson in the Chick-fil-A bowl. The SEC’s Tigers will bring the defense, the ACC’s Tigers will bring the offense. Sadly, the ACC is laughable so this game should be over quickly. Next game: Clemson in the Chick-fil-A bowl

7. Vanderbilt (Last ranking: 7) Vanderbilt went 8-4. To review: Vanderbilt went 8-4. The superlatives for head coach James Franklin should flow freely throughout the offseason. The new contract, and the accompanying raise, has already begun to flow into Franklin’s bank account. Speaking of new contracts, C&P could use one. With a raise. Vanderbilt plays NC State in the Music City Bowl to cap off the season. Next game: NC State in the Music City Bowl

8. Ole Miss (Last ranking: 9) Ole Miss won the Egg bowl soundly and clinched a bowl bid at 6-6. C&P stands by his pronouncement that 6-6 teams should not go bowling, and refuses to give Ole Miss any further text. Next game: Pittsburgh in the BBVA Compass Bowl

9. Mississippi State (Last ranking: 8) Mississippi State ended the season at 8-4, but lost to Ole Miss to close out the season. State gets to play Northwestern in the Gator Bowl. If there was a bowl where the SEC will drop a game, it is this one. Mississippi State has barely had a pulse against teams that are worth their shoulder pads on the schedule this year. Next game: Northwestern in the Gator Bowl

10. Missouri (Last ranking: 10) Missouri finished its first season in the SEC with a 5-7 record. Sheldon Richardson’s crack about “Old man football” becomes more ridiculous by the day.

11. Arkansas (Last ranking: 12) Arkansas played LSU tough in John L. Smith’s last game. The Razorbacks finish the season 4-8. Thankfully, that debacle is over. Bring on Brett Bielema, formerly of Wisconsin. The question C&P has: Does Bielema complain when the SEC tries to poach his recruits? He already whined when Urban Meyer did it in the Big 10.

12. Tennessee (Last ranking: 11) The Vols beat Kentucky to finish the season 5-7. Tennessee is still without a head football coach, but astonishingly enough, the defense has gotten better. Of course, actually touching an offensive player with the ball should not be considered real improvement. Tennessee AD Dave Hart has his work cut out for him on this hire.

13. Kentucky (Last ranking: 14) Yes, Kentucky lost to Tennessee. Yes, their 2-10 record is worse than Auburn’s 3-9. Yes, C&P should be unbiased. No, C&P cannot pass up this opportunity for a few laughs at Auburn fans’ expense. Hence, Kentucky gets a bump and Auburn gets a downgrade. The Wildcats have a new coach in Mark Stoops who says Kentucky can compete in the SEC. C&P will leave it at that.

14. Auburn (Last week: 13) 3-9. BUT THE GUS BUS IS BACK!