SEC Power Rankings: Postseason Edition
With only the bowls left to be decided, let's take a look at how things shaped up in the SEC this season and rank the teams accordingly:
14. Kentucky - It was a miserable first season for new Kentucky coach Mark Stoops, but on the bright side, he's put together an outstanding 2014 recruiting class. Will that translate into wins? We'll have to wait and see.
13. Arkansas - Bret Bielema's first year at the helm for the Razorbacks could have been better. Much better. Arkansas ran the table in reverse in conference play and lost eight games in a row after a 3-0 start to the season. They showed signs of improvement over the last month or so of the season, so expect this team to bounce back and take a few steps forward next season.
12. Florida - It's safe to say that no one expected the mighty Gators to be sitting here two spots away from the bottom before this season began. But injuries and horrendous offense sent Florida spiraling, and they were never able to recover. With changes already being made to the staff, Will Muschamp's last stand begins.
11. Tennessee - The Vols' signature moment on the season was their win over South Carolina in mid-October. Other than that though, it was a pretty disappointing year for Butch Jones and company.....right? Keep this in mind -- Tennessee played six games this season against teams that were ranked in the Top 11 in the country at the time. It was simply a brutal schedule to face, but with Jones already compiling a Top 5 recruiting class, the turn-around should come soon.
10. Mississippi State - Mississippi State played some solid football to end the season. They gave Texas A&M and Alabama all they could handle for a while, which showed their potential. The bowl-clinching win over Ole Miss in the season finale will go down as the biggest moment of the season for the Bulldogs, and now they await their bowl fate.
9. Ole Miss - The team above might have won the head-to-head matchup, but Ole Miss still had the better season overall. Aside from the blowout in Tuscaloosa, the Rebels found themselves with chances to win with a few plays here or there in the games that they did lose. They limped to the finish with losses to Mizzou and Mississippi State, however, Hugh Freeze definitely has this team heading in the right direction.
8. Vanderbilt - Make it three straight bowl appearances for the Commodores, which is something that has never been done before in program history. James Franklin's stock continues to rise around the country, but at least for now, he seems committed to building Vandy into a consistent winner. So far, so good.
7. Texas A&M - Had Texas A&M not given up 30+ points per game this season, it probably could have been something special. Kevin Sumlin staying at the school and not leaving for USC was a huge positive. Obviously though, Johnny Manziel's decision on whether or not he will enter the NFL draft is next on the agenda.
6. Georgia - If you think about it, Georgia is a play away from impacting the entire national championship picture. The Bulldogs were able to overcome injuries to finish with a solid 8-4 record, but they weren't able to overcome fate in the Auburn game. If you add that to the close losses to Clemson and Vanderbilt, we could be talking about this team in an entirely different way right now.
5. LSU - It almost felt like LSU flew under the radar all year long. There was nothing fancy about the Tigers this season -- they just simply went out and won football games. Zach Mettenberger's progress under new offensive coordinator Cam Cameron was incredible, but unfortunately he won't see action in the team's bowl game due to a torn ACL.
4. South Carolina - The Ol' Ball Coach did a fine coaching job in leading the Gamecocks to a 10-win season. Of course, the one that stands out the most was the Connor Shaw-led double overtime win over Missouri in Columbia. A Top 10 finish and a chance to win 11 games with a bowl victory; the Gamecocks just keep rolling right along.
3. Missouri - Sure, the Tigers had no answer whatsoever for the Auburn rushing attack on Saturday and gave up 59 points in the process. But, let's not discount what Gary Pinkel's squad did this season. They were a double overtime loss away from entering the SEC championship undefeated, which is rather unbelievable when you consider that this team finished 5-7 a year ago.
2. Alabama - Nick Saban's team has to wonder what might have been. If not for the play of the century on the Plains, Alabama would likely be sitting Auburn's spot and preparing to play for the national championship. Football can be a cruel game and never was that any more evident than it was in the Iron Bowl.
1. Auburn - All miraculous plays aside, the performance that Auburn put on the SEC title game was one for the ages. That seems to be a common theme with a lot of things that the Tigers have done this season. The Auburn run game, led by Tre Mason, was absolutely dominant. My guess is that they won't be that dominant against a physical Florida State defense, but picking against the Tigers after what they've done over the past month would be downright silly.
What are your thoughts on the final SEC power rankings for the season? Can Auburn beat Florida State and win the national championship? Let us know by commenting below! For more college football talk, follow @FanIQ or myself on Twitter!