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SEC preseason power rankings

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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.

Let’s go…

The king

1. Alabama

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?

Championship caliber

2. Georgia
3. Texas A&M
4. South Carolina
5. Florida
6. LSU

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

7. Vanderbilt
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
10. Missouri

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.

Related: Is Pinkel facing his final audition at Missouri?

New regimes with tough schedules

11. Auburn
12. Arkansas
13. Tennessee
14. Kentucky

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.

Photo Credit: Derick E. Hingle-US PRESSWIRE





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Comments 10

  1. KCAHT
    Commented : 8 months ago

    TAMU won’t have Johnny football this year more than likely, and even if he does play I don’t think the team has his back at all. He has been a huge distraction the entire off season TAMU will be fortunate to win 7 or 8 with or without #2. LSU lost 11 underclassmen 11, you don’t just automatically replace that kind of talent. The Tiger offense is going to be good but their defense has a ton of question marks. LSU doesn’t run the kind of offense to overcome big deficits 8 or 9 wins will be a good year for the Tigers. Arkansas and MSU will be the bottom dwellers of the west this year 4 or 5 wins will be about right for them. MSU’s coach will begin to feel the heat this year. Arkansas hired a a Nick Saban type coach to a program that can’t get Alabama talent good luck with that. Alabama lost 4 of their 5 starting offensive linemen am I the only person in America who sees this as a problem? Bama will lose 2 this year. AJ McCarron will be picking himself up off the ground this year multiple times, TJ Yeldon will not find nearly as many holes in the defense this year as well. Auburn I believe will be “most improved” I expect 8 or 9 wins from those guys on the plains, the cupboard is still full of talent down there Gus Malzhoun will have those guys clicking on all cylinders quickly. Finally Ole Miss, 19 returning starters a passionate head coach and players that belive in him. A few key freshmen that will make an immediate impact where depth was a problem last year. Ole Miss and Alabama will decide the west expect no less than 10 wins from the Rebels this fall, and a possible trip to Atlanta.

    • While I love your bold pick in Ole Miss here we all know this is at least a year early to be stated. And… Disagree on Bama comment and State and Arkansas for the obvious reasons. Mizzou isn’t a stretch nor is LSU and A&M so guess you were about 50% on the mark there.

      • Thanks Addison, I like the way Jon uses levels in his discussion but here are the facts, Zoucat are you listening? : Missouri last year against GA was ahead till the 4th quarter, that’s two quarters after Franklin got his second injury. Missouri last year against Vanderbilt scored on every possession till Vandy knee tackled Franklin out of the game in the 1st quarter and Missouri still made it a 4 point game. Missouri AT Florida was a one score game and Florida’s own television men wouldn’t put Missouri in a different level. So put Alabama, South Carolina, and aTm in a different level based on last year but don’t try to sell anything lower than than. I re-watched the Ole Miss games this winter, and just look at the scores. Ole Miss also has to be on the second level to start the year, not the third. NOW DON’T ANYONE BE SHOCKED HERE BECAUSE IT IS A NEW YEAR AND ALL THESE TEAMS COULD CHANGE DRAMATICALLY.

    • What are you smoking? Because I wouldn’t mind having some of that, Bama will have talent on the line they might not be as experienced but the talent is there. Also you forget that besides yeldon we will also have Derrick Henry a freak on a leash about to be let loose.. 6’4 235 pounds running a 4.3 not anything to play with with. And even though ole miss is returning a lot of starters your defense will really have to step up. That being said I believe ole miss will be 8-4 or 7-5

  2. If Missouri finishes 7th, in the top half of the SEC, that would be a pretty good turn around from last year. but anything less than a 9th place finish would make me wonder if we’re going to be able to compete in this league. as far as Alabama losing 4 starting linemen, no I really don’t see that as an issue for Alabama. not one that got 10 or 12 more the same make and model.

  3. Ole Miss is easily a much better team than Vanderbilt. I would probably but MSU over Vandy. But my prediction on the Ole Miss/Vandy game, the Ole Miss will win 31-10. Ole Miss’ offense is much, much better than Vandy’s offense. Vandy is starting a new QB and RB, and lost their second best receiver. Ole Miss returns a QB that threw for 3,000 yds and Ole Miss probably has the deepest and most talented WR corp and a slew of talented young RB’s. Ole Miss front seven on D is much more talented that Vandy’s, plus Ole Miss has more depth. The only position group that Vandy has the edge in is the secondary. So look for Ole Miss to pull away from Vandy in the second half. The only way Vandy wins is if Ole Miss turns the ball over. It’s also the first game of the year, so each team my play sloppy in the first half. But either way Ole Miss wins this game. Ole Miss would have the advantage in a shootout also.

    • Hey Army, welcome over here, I am not seeing a difference between Vandy and Ole Miss, but Miss State could be starting an inch or two behind the blocks: I’m not going to be shocked if any of the three have a great year

      • Yea I hear that a lot from ppl. When I look at those teams from a talent stand point Ole Miss is clearly the most talented, then Miss St and Vandy. I’m not a MSU fan. But even thou they haven’t really beat any top SEC schools, they are still a pretty decent team. Vandy is a good team also. But they will be starting a new QB and RB, plus a few guys on the DL. Ole Miss pretty much returns their whole team.

  4. I think Aurburn will be a lot better than 11th in the sec, if their coach does a half way decent job easily 7-5 and Vandy could shock the east because they have been a bit down lately

    • could be right, of course we really don’t have a 1 thru 14 finish, we have a two different 1-7 finishes with a couple of crossovers to help us guess how a 14 game round robin would have come out.