- Ranking the head coaches
- Ranking the SEC’s best players by position
- Ranking the SEC football stadiums
With the season just eight days away, let’s rank the 14 teams. Here are January’s final rankings 1-14, as the SEC posted five 10-win teams and five six-win teams in 2012. The league was rather top heavy, and I expect more parity in 2013.
Again, these power rankings are where teams enter the season, and they will undoubtedly change soon.
Alabama is the king of the SEC and college football. Nick Saban has a talented and experienced team returning to Tuscaloosa that’s gunning for a third straight national championship. You are witnessing greatness, no matter if you love ‘em or hate ‘em. The gap between Alabama and everyone else isn’t as big as perceived, but the drop off between the SEC and other conferences is far greater.
Related: What’s going to stop Bama in 2013?
3. Texas A&M
4. South Carolina
Below Alabama, there’s a cluster of five teams in the mix ready to jump at one mishap by the Tide. Although they’re ranked in an order here, you can almost justify ranking any team No. 2-6, certainly No. 2-4. All five are in the hunt for a national championship. Georgia and TAMU are a lot alike, but the Bulldogs’ offense is so explosive and so balanced. Clemson will be a great test. Texas A&M is in the No. 3 slot, and they remind me of the 2010 Auburn Tigers. South Carolina and Florida follow close behind Texas A&M, as the Gators could have the best defense in the SEC. Lastly, LSU brings up the rear of the big six, and they are going to have to prove doubters wrong.
Related: View the 2014 SEC football schedule
Early to the party
8. Ole Miss
Vanderbilt and Ole Miss own the next level, with each trying desperately to crack the big three in the East and West divisions. These two teams square off next week, and the winner has the best chance for a nine- or 10-win season. Both programs can’t afford to lose and still have a successful season in their eyes. The Commodores are probably a little bit better of a football team entering the season.
Related: Is Ole Miss a contender in the West?
The next level
9. Mississippi State
Mississippi State and Missouri are two teams who enter the season searching for an identity. MSU finished just 1-4 down the stretch after they started 7-0 and were ranked as high as #13. Missouri didn’t have the type of SEC splash they had hoped by only winning two conference games and missing a bowl game. The Tigers have much to prove in 2013.
New regimes with tough schedules
The four programs that replaced their coaches bring up the bottom four entering 2013. Auburn and Gus Malzahn should have the quickest turnaround of the new coaches, while Butch Jones, Bret Bielema and Mark Stoops will also be gunning for a bowl game. I assess the short-term and long-term impact of the new coaches here.
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