My SEC Power Poll ballot, Week 13

I’m going to outsource the intro here to Chase Stuart, who I think does a nice job of summarizing the state of the conference at this late point in the schedule:

For a long time, the refrain among SEC folks was “there are no off weeks in the SEC.” If no team emerged with a perfect record, that was simply a testament to the depth of the conference. But this year has to go down as one of the most predictable seasons in the history of the SEC — or any other conference. There are six excellent teams representing the First Class of the conference: Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Texas A&M, LSU, and South Carolina.

There are four genuinely terrible teams: Auburn, Kentucky, Tennessee, and Arkansas are the cellar dwellers, or Lower Class members. That leaves a lean, two-tiered middle class. Vanderbilt stands alone as an upper-middle class member, with the three M schools of the conference (Mississippi, Missouri, and Mississippi State) are lower-middle class schools. As it turned out, there are caste systems with more mobility than the SEC had in 2012. With 14 teams playing 8 conference games each, that leaves 56 conference games for the SEC. Here is what happened:

  • The First Class (Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Texas A&M, LSU, and South Carolina) went 30-0 in games against the rest of the conference, with 21 of those wins coming by at least 14 points.
  • The Upper Middle Class (Vanderbilt) was equally predictable, going 0-3 against the First Class and 5-0 against everyone else.
  • The Lower Middle Class (MSU, Mississippi and Missouri) went 0-12 against the First Class, with 9 losses coming by at least 19 points. They also went 0-2 against the Upper Middle Class, but finished 8-0 against the Lower Class, with 6 of those wins coming by double digits.
  • The Bottom Class (Auburn, Kentucky, Tennessee, and Arkansas) finished 0-26 against the rest of the conference, with 18 of those losses coming by double digits.

As I’ve commented before, the conference seems more stratified this year than it has been.  What’s interesting, though, is that some of the doormats have moved up in the world this year, while a couple of teams which were thought to be competitive blew up.

It’s also worth noting that the West no longer appears to be as dominant over the East as it was a year ago.

  1. Alabama.  The surest bet about last week’s games was that Alabama was going to beat Auburn by a greater margin than Georgia did.
  2. Georgia.  Mark Richt has lost control over needing help to win a national title.
  3. Texas A&M.  The Aggies treated Missouri as if they’d been in the SEC for years.
  4. Florida.  The Gators have only played one game this season in which they came out on the short end of the turnover margin stick.  They lost that game.
  5. LSU.  Late in the season, the Tigers seem to have lost a bit of their edge.
  6. South Carolina.  This marks the second straight year the ‘Cocks have dropped a spot in the division standings.
  7. Vanderbilt.  With this program’s history, making the second bowl game under James Franklin is an even more impressive feat than making the first one was.
  8. Mississippi.  I know he won’t win, but getting this Ole Miss team to a bowl game ought to garner Hugh Freeze some serious consideration for SEC coach of the year honors.
  9. Mississippi State.  So now Dan Mullen gets to experience life on the other side of the new hot-shot in town coin.
  10. Missouri.  Where would you like to have that warmest seat in the SEC delivered to, Coach Pinkel?
  11. Arkansas.  Exactly what is the school going to have John L. Smith consulting about during the rest of his contract?  Investment tips?
  12. Tennessee.  The Vols get their first conference win of the season.  Assuming you count Kentucky as a conference team, that is.
  13. Auburn.  You’ve got a program that fires coaches who go undefeated, has to battle the Process in Tuscaloosa and has the NCAA sniffing around.  That’s a helluva sales pitch to make to the guy who succeeds Chizik.
  14. Kentucky.  Not that Kentucky wouldn’t trade places with Auburn.

38 Comments

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38 responses to “My SEC Power Poll ballot, Week 13

  1. There is so much I want to say. I like the statement about Auburn the best. Statements 1) and 2) are brilliant and one question…Did you minor in English?.

  2. Uglydawg

    What a fine read to go with my coffee and toast. Life is good!

  3. Hogbody Spradlin

    I don’t see all the A&M is the Ritz love. One big win. Two big losses. Maybe ahead of LSU, but not Florida.

  4. David

    A&M over Florida?

  5. Brandon

    I understand what Mr. Stuart is saying about stratification but it also bears noting that there are anomolies outside the conference that make you wonder, things like bottom class Kentucky beating this year’s potential BCS buster Kent State by 33, lowly Tennessee blowing out N.C. State who went 7-5 overall, and 4-4 in the ACC, these school’s are paupers in our conference but would be at least lower middle class in most.

    • Mayor of Dawgtown

      Well, if you want to get all philosophical about it, UT would WIN the MAC and probably be ACC Coastal Champs. Same with Vandy, Missy State and probably Ole Miss. They each would probably win C-USA, too.

  6. Rocket Dawg

    I for one am already sick of the “we beat better teams we deserve a shot” meme about Florida. You want a shot? Win your division and play in the SECCG, otherwise shut your jorts wearing pie holes.

  7. Going undefeated at Auburn shortens your tenure… apparently.

  8. Senator, I think you took a bit of what he wrote out of context. He was using the tiered system in the conference to make the point that Bama and UGA are somehow overrated because we played less games against the top tier teams relative to A&M, USC, UF, and LSU. He has Oregon, who had one “challenge” game and lost it above all the SEC teams, which is preposterous as we know. By his own logic, wouldn’t that make UF the number one team in america.

    At any rate, the fact that UT had an awful in conference record did not make it an off week for anyone. UF won by the most (relative to east bretheren UGA and USC), but they trailed at the latest point in the game. USC won by the least amount but never trailed. UGA won but never trailed in the second half. UT had a 6 week stretch that included UGA, UF, USC, and Bama. I dare you to find any team that faced a 6 week stretch like that. the only other one was Mizzou who faced the stretch over 6 weeks and was only competitive in ONE of the the games against the 4 elite teams.

    There were only two “off’ weeks on SEC schedules this year, which were Auburn and Kentucky. The rest of the conference represented the same type of land mines with which we are all familiar, which is to say, “if you screw around, you could get into a tough battle that you did not anticipate”. LSU against Arkansas and Ole Miss serves as exhibit A & B of my point.

    While the “elite” of the conference is perhaps NOT a deadly as it has ever been, I am NOT at all convinced that had our defense been ready to play from game one and we showed up against USC that the nation would be giving us a LOT of respect right now. We appear to be as complete a team as any in the country. The challenge is we have three CONCERNS that could really hurt us. Two of them (and maybe a third) would go away with a win over Bama. We do NOT have a great or dominant OL. Given that OL play is so fundamental to being consistent on offense, and particularly against good defenses, I worry. Second, we just can’t dismiss the USC game’s lack of emotion, toughness, and leadership because we played well against UF because we KNOW that performances like that have happened before in the last 5 years. Third, we don’t have a reliable place kicker. If you are blowing people out, it does not matter. I really worry about that this week.

    • Out of context or not, isn’t it an accurate description of the SEC?

      • in broad principle yes, but I think he is being a bit simplistic in assuming that the record was what it was due to the incompetence of the lower. Is it because the top 6 teams are that much more complete OR because the bottom teams are that much worse. I tend to think he did not give enough credit to Vandy, which gave USC and UF fits. I think he underrates how much better coached the elite teams were this year in being able to “fight through” tough games that could have been losses (UT v UGA, USC, and UF, LSU over Ole Miss and Arky, UF over Missou with post UGA hangover)

      • Cojones

        Loved the use of the caste system to drive the point home. Chase Stuart caught the disparity in teams and displayed his catch well. You represented his findings simplistically in an SEC-culture envelope.

        • You were an English Major…?

          • Dog in Fla

            Until he got high. And then he became a scientist

            • Now Now the Senator did some work for me a while back. I have to say I was pleasantly pleased.

              • Dog in Fla

                The alignment of your post appeared to me to be you asking Cojones, not Bluto, if he were an English major :) Besides, I am remotely aware that Bluto is not a scientist. I have no reason to believe that Bluto gets high or affiliates with anybody who gets high or just so happens to be a member of the Communist Party. However, Cojones is another matter entirely insofar as getting high or being a scientist, or both, are concerned based upon his previous posting habits which are not only suspicious in nature but also appear to be made while he may or may not be under the influence of synthetic or natural substances

                • Laughing so hard my stomach hurts. You guys are so entertaining. I need this between decorating this house by Wednesday. Cause then I get to go to the house at Sand Destin to decorate for New Years.

  9. PTC DAWG

    I know it’s your poll and all, but AU and KY don’t deserve to be ranked…