November 27th, 2013 03:06 PM║ Posted By: John Pennington ║ Permalink
║ Schools: Alabama, Arkansas, Auburn, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, LSU, Mississippi State, Missouri, Ole Miss, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas A&M, Vanderbilt
Tags: Bowl Contender, Georgia, National Title Contender, SEC
With the final regular-season weekend of SEC play set to kickoff tomorrow, we thought we’d get a jump on this week’s MrSEC.com Power Rankings. Below you’ll find our quickie views on every team in the conference based on what they’ve accomplished and where they currently sit in the league’s standings.
As usual, we’ve assigned each league team to one of four categories… and one of those categories has been re-named in a salute to tomorrow’s holiday. Please remember that schools are listed alphabetically within each category.
There’s been some shifting this week as the good squads have continued to separate themselves from the bad…
National Title Contender
Alabama (11-0 overall, 7-0 SEC) — Kudos Nick Saban’s team for exceeding our expectations. We didn’t foresee the Tide avoiding injury and bad luck for a third-consecutive year — two things that must be avoided in order to compete for a national crown. The Tide struggled mightily against Texas A&M back in September, allowing 42 points to the Aggies. Bama has only allowed 50 points in the nine games since that day in College Station. Think about that.
Auburn (10-1 overall, 6-1 SEC) — Gus Malzahn has gotten maximum results from his Tigers in his first year back on the Plains and he deserves much consideration for SEC Coach of the Year honors. But. When it comes to the Iron Bowl, there will be some Tiger fans out there who’ll view 2013 as a let down if Malzahn can’t put the cherry on top of the season with an upset of Bama. And, yes, those folks would be nuts, but we are talking about the Iron Bowl here. If AU can spring the upset, we could see the biggest “surprise!” SEC Championship Game ever…
Missouri (10-1 overall, 6-1 SEC) — That’s because the only guy with a better Coach of the Year resume than Malzahn might be waiting on the other sideline in Atlanta. Missouri — a much more physical team than people give them credit for — will attempt to lock up an SEC East title against Texas A&M on Saturday. The Aggie offense can certainly provide problems, but it’s hard to imagine A&M’s defense stopping Mizzouri (or anyone else). If Gary Pinkel’s team protects the football, pencil the Tigers into the title game in just their second year in the league.
Top 25 Contender
LSU (8-3 overall, 7-0 SEC) — OK, we didn’t see that coming. We picked LSU, yes, but a 34-10 pasting of Texas A&M? The Aggies had scored 40 on every other team they’d played and the Tigers had already lost to Georgia, Ole Miss and Alabama. As can be said about a couple of injury-riddled teams in the league, fans on the Bayou have to wonder what 2013 might have looked like had 10 underclassmen not left early for the pro game last year.
South Carolina (9-2 overall, 6-2 SEC) — If you want to play the “what if” game, consider where Carolina might be had it not fallen on a last-second field goal to Tennessee. USC would be in the top five and very much alive in the national championship picture (with a break or two). Steve Spurrier’s team might not be dominant, but it is battle-tested: nine-point loss to Georgia, three-point win over UCF, seven-point win over Kentucky, two-point loss to Tennessee, three-point overtime win over Missouri, five-point win over Florida. The Cocks may not be great, but they’re obviously awfully darn good.
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