SEC Power Poll, final edition

Little question this season ended with not with a bang, but a whimper, for the vaunted SEC.  It’s not the apocalyptic debacle some are portraying it as – the conference finished the bowl season 7-5, which is evidence that there was some depth this year (assuming you want to read much into bowl games that oftentimes come down to little more than discovering which team wants to be there) – but there’s little question that the Alabama and Mississippi schools’ collective flame out was not what we’ve been used to seeing from the conference powerhouses this time of year.  And there will probably be a price to pay in the next preseason polls, once ESPN gets done hammering public perception.

But that’s for next season.  The task at hand it to rank the conference’s collective body of work for the season just finished.  Not an easy one, trust me.  But here goes (teams’ final records in parenthesis).

  1. Alabama (12-2 overall, 7-1 SEC).  A program that defines itself by team depth and quality play found the focus on a star wide receiver and its much-traveled, notorious offensive coordinator.  Saban had better find the time to fix a surprisingly vulnerable secondary.
  2. Georgia (10-3, 6-2).  Claiming the conference’s best bowl win and top-scoring offense, along with every other SEC teams’ flaws, gets the Dawgs the second spot.  And before you accuse me of being a homer, consider that what this really means is that Georgia was the conference’s biggest underachiever.
  3. Mississippi (9-4, 6-2).  Laid a major egg against a very good TCU team, no doubt.  But Ole Miss has a couple of solid wins on the résumé and was really hurt by key injuries.
  4. Mississippi State (10-3, 6-2).  After all is said and done, I’m left with the basic impression of a team not ready for prime time.
  5. Missouri (11-3, 7-1).  A flawed team with a great coach.
  6. Auburn (8-5, 4-4).  Losing to a team with a one-dimensional offense that lost its previous game by 59 points isn’t the best way to convince me you had a good season, Auburn.
  7. Arkansas (7-6, 2-6).  A team that improved as the season went on, and probably should have finished with a conference win or two more than it did.
  8. LSU (8-5, 4-4).  Les Miles ought to be asking himself where he can find a functional quarterback.  Joe Alleva ought to be asking himself whose bright idea was it to pay Cam Cameron $1.3 million this season.
  9. Texas A&M  (8-5, 3-5).  Now we know the limits of how far a team with a truly crappy defense can go in today’s SEC.
  10. Florida (6-5, 4-4).  For all the recruiting hoopla the program enjoys, I’m not convinced this team was really all that talented.
  11. Tennessee (7-6, 3-5).  At least the Vols looked like a team that wanted to go bowling.
  12. South Carolina (7-6, 3-5).  With the bowl game win, Spurrier managed to salvage mediocrity.
  13. Kentucky (5-7, 2-6).  Kentucky would have welcomed the opportunity to salvage some mediocrity for itself.
  14. Vanderbilt (3-9, 0-8).  What is this “mediocrity” you speak of?

29 Comments

Filed under SEC Football

29 responses to “SEC Power Poll, final edition

  1. JasonC

    Can’t really argue with that assessment. I might flip the Mississippi teams since Ole Miss got their teeth kicked in whereas Miss St managed to keep it reasonably close, but other than that, it’s pretty spot on.
    I might also give LSU the “biggest underachiever” distinction, but the Dawgs certainly did give them a run.

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  2. Matt

    Wow. Assuming this is correct, we lost to the 10th and 12th strongest teams in the SEC. Oh, what might’ve been, indeed.

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  3. Lrgk9

    The game we lost to USCe was a encapsulation of a) Defense still groggy with a Grantham hangover, b) Totally blown holding call by the nations worst P5 officiating conference, c) First year starter QB doing his D.J. Shockley vs Ga Tech impersonation.

    The game we lost to Florida was, if you believe the rumors, a result of our unfulfilled expectations of the return of Gurley based on leaks from the AD office (err, table talk).

    The game we lost to Georgia Tech was the result of two freshman running backs not protecting the ball at the one yard line.

    The offensive coordinator we lost was to a combination of: 1) Parsimonious history of our AD office, 2) If you believe the rumors, a result of our OC hearing that the HC might be fired and the unofficial contact of a possible replacement coach by our AD office (err, table talk); 3) Our OC getting a chance to interview for a 1.3 – 1.5 million dollar a year job and hitting a home run (I mean – who among us wouldn’t take that job?).

    We are what we are and we ain’t what we ain’t, Gotta stop wishing for good luck and knocking on wood…

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  4. dawgfan

    SEC football is the best. I am already looking forward to ALL of the SEC games in 2015! They are all meaningful and intense games. Even Vandy will be improved and might just put up a fight come September.

    No matter what the “espn experts” say, the other conferences are no where top to bottom even close to the SEC.

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  5. Tronan

    At the beginning of the season, I think most of us would have pegged Bama as the best and UGA as second best in the conference. There were some typically strange developments throughout the season that made a mess of ranking teams 2 through 12, but the Senator’s final reckoning seems right.

    While I don’t think anyone would have predicted UGA to go undefeated, damn, it wasn’t such an impossible task in retrospect. To quote Matt, “Oh, what might’ve been.”

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  6. sectionzalum

    i’m really amazed only 3 teams in the conference managed 10 wins, even after the bowls.

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    • Russ

      Four teams won 10+, but yeah, I get your drift. Especially with both Mississippi teams being ranked in the top 5 midway through the season.

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  7. WF dawg

    I agree with UGA at #2. I might put MIZZ 3, Miss St 4, and Ole Miss 5, but even that’s a close call.

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  8. According to the Bammers pre-season, the Tide was the biggest underachievers. They were going 15-0 and were going to beat everyone 55-(-3). The WWL made everyone think Bama was ready to take on the Seahawks for the Lombardi Trophy instead of the CFP trophy.

    Seriously, I thought we would win 10 or 11 before the season and that’s where we ended up. Am I satisfied? No but a top 10 finish will be nothing to sneeze at. Oh, what might have been …

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    • Brandon (Version 1)

      I think our record is about what people expected pre-season, maybe a little better. I think folks got their hopes up after the Clemson game and when they saw how weak the East was. We were awfully close. The defense made great strides but 7 plus years of bad coaching on that side of the ball can’t be exorcised in a spring, summer, and 1 game, and that’s what bit us against South Carolina. I think bad habits built up over those years snuck up on us again in the Florida game because our defensive players relaxed and thought they would dominate UF’s bad offense but just by putting on their uniforms. Pruitt will get that out of them but you can’t undo years of bad coaching and habits that fast, just like Martinez didn’t undo all of Van Gorder’s work in a year (nor Grantham Strong’s). Against GT we fumbled twice on the one and lost to a very good team, you are almost always going to lose to a very good team when you fumble twice on the one.

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      • Brandon (Version 1)

        The end of the next to last sentence should say “just like Martinez didn’t undo all of Van Gorder’s GOOD work in a year (nor Grantham, Strong’s).

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  9. Skeptic Dawg

    Mizzou, Miss State and Ole Miss should be placed higher than the Dawgs. Led the SEC in scoring? Great! That and 50 bucks get you into the Belk Bowl. Following 3 losses, 2 of which were to mediocre football teams at best, boasting of scoring titles rings a tad hollow. This team certainly underachieved on multiple fronts, offense included at times.

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    • So? Name me a team other than ‘Bama without similar warts. Ole Miss lost more games than Georgia did.

      Missouri lost at home to Georgia 34-0, but should be placed higher? Ho-kay.

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      • Skeptic Dawg

        Yes, Mizzou should be placed higher than the Dawgs if you are looking at the season as a whole. The Dawgs accomplished a whooping zero, nothing, nodda this season. Mizzou did what was needed down the stretch to win the East and finished with 1 conference loss. That is light years beyond what the Dawgs did. If you are ranking teams based on head to head competition, then both Carolina and Florida should be ahead of Georgia.

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        • I’m judging teams on their entire bodies of work. You’re judging them based on your disapproval of the Georgia program.

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          • Skeptic Dawg

            Maybe, but Mizzou has a much better body of work this season. They were able to beat UT, USC and UF this season. Georgia did take the Tigers behind the woodshed, but that was their only SEC blemish. Additionally, the Tigers were able to hold their water down the stretch, something the Dawgs failed to do. Winning the East has to count for something, right?

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  10. Macallanlover

    Hard to quibble with that assessment of ranking the teams Senator, the toughest call is the Mississippi schools, probably a dead heat. Good comments from all but one poster, who isn’t really attempting to be honest. As for the most underachieving award, again a tough call, but SC, Florida, and Miss State are all crowded at the top to me but that is based on expectations not necessarily the ability they actually showed. I think we surprised ourselves against upside expectations because we entered 2014 with a lot of questions. That will not be true for 2015, this may be the highest preseason optimism we will have had since 2008….hoping for a better result than we had that season.

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    • Auburn will be improved with Muskrat and Will’s Robinson. Run, Danger Danger.

      UT will be improved if you believe the Recruiting Rankings.

      Bama is coming to town.

      And UF is always, with USCe a problem.

      Plus, we again have a first year QB.
      Not to mention a first year OC and the master Grey Suit AD abides.

      Can Ya hear Larry Munson now?

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      • Macallanlover

        I hear you, there will be pounds of sweat from me some of those games approach. But can’t we enjoy the dreams of off-seasons before Larry’s justified worrying is laid on us?

        Like everyone else, I would love for us to play at top level in every single game and walk away with all Ws but I am pretty happy to know that we can compete with everyone on that schedule, in no game should we be more than a FG underdog. That is about all anyone can expect, of all programs UGA’s fans should be aware of the fine line between achieving your dreams and just missing out. At least until Spring practice, I am going to remain worry free.

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  11. charlottedawg

    I think this sounds about right. I’d move Missouri up a smidge as they did go 7-1 in conference, won the east, & 11 games including their bowl against a ranked opponent.

    At the expense of sounding like a total homer I think Georgia would’ve beaten Alabama on a neutral field. Our problem this year was the opposite of years past, looked awesome against good teams, didn’t show up against bad ones, tech is the exception.

    Also the sec was overrated, there I said it. Horrible bowl record for the west and the east went 0-4 against the ACC the last week of the season.

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  12. WF dawg

    Games I’d like to see played right now: Miss. St. vs. Mizzou and Auburn vs. Arkansas. Also, UGA vs. Bama.

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  13. GoldToe

    Here’s my rankings:
    1- Bama- 12-2
    2- Missourri 11-3 King of the East 2 years running means something
    3- Miss St- 10-3
    4- Ole Miss 9-4 west was better than east, some really impressive wins
    5- Georgia 10-3 2 really bad losses, lucky to be No 5
    6- T A/M, LSU, Aub– 8 win teams
    7- Ark, Tenn, SC, Fla–7 win teams (UF would have beaten the team that got canceled)
    8- Ketnucky- 5 wins
    9- Vanderbilt- 3 wins

    Top Tier:
    Bama, Missourri, Ole Miss, Miss St, Georgia

    Middle Tier:
    Texas A/M, Auburn, LSU, Ark,

    Bottom Tier:
    TN, SC, UF, Ky, Vandy

    But for 2015 pre-season:
    1- Bama
    2- Missourri
    3- T A/M (+Chavis)
    4- Ole Miss
    5- Miss St
    6- Aub (+Muschamp)
    7- Georgia
    8- LSU
    9- SC
    10- TN
    11- Ark
    12- UF
    13- Ky
    14- Vandy

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