All good things must come to an end, and so it is the case for one of the most satisfying seasons in my memory. Well… except for one minor detail. Then again, there are about 126 or so programs that would love to change places with Georgia, and that includes 12 in the SEC.
- Alabama. The Sabanator abides.
- Georgia. Per Brian Fremeau, Georgia’s excellence stemmed from a remarkable consistency: “The Bulldogs had eight single-game opponent-adjusted victories that ranked in the 90th percentile or better this year, including five of the top-50 single game performances in college football.”
- Auburn. From beating the top two teams in the conference back-to-back to watching those same two teams duke it out for the national title… what a special year for you, Tigers. Hey, at least you won the SEC West!
- Mississippi State. A nice year that got Dan Mullen a shiny new job at Florida.
- LSU. Really, it’s hard to figure out where this program goes. Too much talent to be entirely irrelevant, not enough coaching to be consistently excellent seems to be a safe take for now.
- South Carolina. Say what you will, Boom is a decent coach who is capable of squeezing as much as he can out of a program to make it competitive, but is limited by his inability to find an offensive coordinator who can take things to the next level.
- Texas A&M. If there’s a conference program that really ought to be better than it is, it’s this one.
- Missouri. Nice second half run fueled by a mediocre schedule. The question from here is how the change at offensive coordinator affects that momentum.
- Ole Miss. Considering everything, Matt Luke did one of the better coaching jobs in the SEC this season.
- Kentucky. The conference mirage. If I could have ranked the Wildcats lower, I would have… which ought to tell you a lot about the bottom quarter of the SEC.
- Florida. An awful year. What remains to be seen is how far in the ditch McElwain left the Gatormobile. From here, it looks like more than a one-year repair job lies ahead.
- Arkansas. If Bert’s eight-figure buyout after Arky’s nothing-burger of a season doesn’t tell you how out of whack coaches’ contracts are, nothing will.
- Vanderbilt. They’ll always have the Tennessee game.
- Tennessee. If you’re not a Vol fan, this has been a season to revel in.
And there you have it. College football’s two best teams, followed by several good ones, a few mediocrities and then some genuinely terrible programs. I think the ragging on the conference this year was a little undeserved. Overall, the SEC wasn’t that bad. The problem in perception was due to two traditional powers, Florida and Tennessee, being that bad.