Eleven weeks of the shortest season in sports are gone and it seems cruel that college football season is nearly behind us.

Two regular season weekends remain, followed by conference championship weekend, Army-Navy weekend, bowl games and of course, the College Football Playoff. With No. 2 Ohio State and No. 3 Michigan set to play in 2 weeks, it seems likely the SEC will get 2 teams into the Playoff as long as Tennessee takes care of business down the stretch.

The Volunteers certainly looked the part Saturday, running Missouri out of the building 66-24. Of course, it all may be academic the way Georgia is playing. Kirby Smart’s defense is coming on strong and the Dawgs continue to field the best offense no one ever talks about despite the fact Georgia is averaging 40.6 points per game. 

On the list, there’s still movement, with a genuine battle at the top between a defensive captain and a Heisman Trophy candidate quarterback. The first 2 years of “The List,” a Heisman-winner at receiver placed first following the SEC Championship Game in 2020, while Georgia linebacker Nakobe Dean surged ahead to top the list last season following the College Football Playoff. Who will join them at the top in 2022? Last week’s list is here. As always, honorable mentions are first and they are limited to 2 per school.

Honorable Mention: Will Anderson Jr., Edge (Alabama); Byron Young, DL (Alabama); Ricky Stromberg, C (Arkansas); Drew Sanders, LB (Arkansas); Tank Bigsby, RB (Auburn); Owen Pappoe, LB (Auburn); Ventrell Miller, LB (Florida); Austin Barber, OT (Florida); Stetson Bennett, QB (Georgia); Malaki Starks, S (Georgia); Keidron Smith, CB (Kentucky); Jordan Wright, LB/Edge (Kentucky);  Mekhi Wingo, DT (LSU);  Jayden Daniels, QB (LSU); Emmanuel Forbes, CB (Mississippi State); Nathaniel Watson, LB (Mississippi State); Ty’Ron Hopper, LB (Missouri); Luther Burden III, WR (Missouri); Nick Broeker, OL (Ole Miss); Jonathan Mingo, WR (Ole Miss); Jordan Burch, DL (South Carolina); MarShawn Lloyd, RB (South Carolina);  Devon Achane, RB (Texas A&M); Antonio Johnson, S (Texas A&M); Brandon Turnage, CB (Tennessee); Cooper Mays, C (Tennessee); Anfernee Orji, LB (Vanderbilt); Will Sheppard, WR (Vanderbilt).

10. BJ Ojulari, Edge (LSU)

Ojulari replaces Mekhi Wingo, LSU’s dominant defensive tackle, in this week’s list after registering 7 tackles (1 for loss), a quarterback hurry and 4 pressures against Arkansas. Ojulari also recovered 2 fumbles to help LSU secure the Golden Boot. LSU is in the thick of the College Football Playoff discussion, and Brian Kelly’s team has done it with defense, limiting a good Arkansas offense to just 10 points, erasing Ole Miss by holding their high-octane attack to 20, and doing just enough to frustrate Alabama and win in overtime.

At the center of it all is Ojulari, who can play with a hand in the ground or high and is fast enough to cover most running backs in the league in the passing game. Ojulari is very difficult to scheme against, and LSU does a nice job of moving him around and making opposing offensive coordinators account for him on each snap.

9. Jalen Carter, DL (Georgia)

Carter enters the list for the first time after dominating Mississippi State to the tune of 7 tackles (2 for loss, including a sack), 3 pressures and a quarterback hurry. Consistently in the top 10 of NFL Mock Drafts, Carter missed much of the season after suffering an injury against Oregon, but he has made the Georgia defense lethal since his return, adding a huge mismatch to Georgia’s front that has helped the Dawgs weather the absence of Nolan Smith. Carter ranks 3rd among all interior defensive linemen, and first in the Power 5, per Pro Football Focus, impressive considering he also has taken 40% of his snaps on the outside.

8. Brock Bowers, TE (Georgia)

Bowers’ drop isn’t really about what he’s failed to do. It’s just that others on this list have been more impactful. The Georgia tight end did catch 5 passes in Saturday’s 45-19 rout of Mississippi State, including this touchdown grab.

He continues to be Georgia’s biggest mismatch on offense schematically as well, and a huge reason the Dawgs appear poised to defend their national championship.

7. Jalin Hyatt, WR (Tennessee)

The Volunteers’ playmaker was back to his dominant self against Missouri, hauling in 7 passes for 146 yards and a touchdown in Tennessee’s record-breaking shellacking of the Tigers. It helps when a coverage bust leaves you this open:

But Hyatt has been open against coverage all year too, as evidenced by his nearly 400-yard lead in SEC receiving yards.

6. Quinshon Judkins, RB (Ole Miss)

The Ole Miss freshman was sensational in the Rebels’ narrow loss to Alabama, running for 135 yards and 2 touchdowns in defeat. Judkins leads the SEC in rushing, with 1,171 yards, and ranks second in the country in missed tackles forced, with 61, trailing only Bijan Robinson of Texas. Judkins also leads the Power 5 in explosive runs of 20 yards or more, with 14 such runs. His battle with LSU’s Harold Perkins Jr. (below) for SEC Freshman of the Year will be fascinating.

5. Harold Perkins Jr., LB (LSU)

A true freshman. Wow.

Perkins dominated Arkansas, tying an LSU single-game record with 4 sacks in the Tigers’ 13-10 win.

Perkins Jr. now ranks 2nd in the SEC in sacks, with 8, a staggering number considering LSU kept the freshman off the field for large swaths of the game against FSU and Auburn. The Tigers have now corrected those bizarre personnel choices, and the freshman is a big reason the Tigers’ defense is now one of the nation’s most improved, having made a 60-spot leap from their woeful 2021 defense into the top 35 in the country in total defense in 2022. A veteran NFL scout with nearly 50 years in football told me he “hasn’t seen a linebacker this dominant since FSU’s Derrick Brooks or Florida’s Wilbur Marshall,” who each went on to become NFL All-Pros and Super Bowl champions as professionals.

4. O’Cyrus Torrence, OL (Florida)

Torrence, who grades out as the nation’s best offensive lineman, per Pro Football Focus, is on the verge of becoming just the second offensive lineman in 5 years to finish a season with a run-block grade over 91. His current grade of 90.9 in that category makes him the nation’s best run-blocker this season. Sometimes the holes Torrence creates with his quick hands and initial burst are the stuff of video games, like the one he opened up on this 85-yard Trevor Etienne touchdown run against South Carolina on Saturday.

Torrence is the largest reason Florida has the SEC’s most explosive run game and the Gators rank 2nd nationally in yards per attempt on the ground. He’ll be a first-round pick when he enters the NFL Draft as a result.

3. Bryce Young, QB (Alabama)

The reigning Heisman winner keeps winning games it doesn’t look like Alabama can win.

This past week, he guided Alabama to a furious comeback win over Ole Miss, throwing for 209 yards and 3 touchdowns, twice rallying the Tide from 10-point deficits. On the season, Young ranks 4th in the SEC in passing yards, 3rd in touchdown passes (22), and 5th in efficiency, and he’s done it despite a rebuilt, young receiver corps and an erratic offensive line that has surrendered the 4th-most pressures in the SEC. Alabama won’t be a College Football Playoff team in 2022, but a 10-2 campaign should find Young safely in the New Year’s 6 as he closes his third (and likely final) campaign on the Capstone.

2. Christopher Smith, S (Georgia)

The nation’s best safety had 5 tackles and 2 pass deflections in Georgia’s 45-19 win at Mississippi State. He remains the most invaluable piece on Kirby Smart’s outstanding defense, having registered a team-high 517 snaps this season, per Pro Football Focus. While his 36 tackles, 2 interceptions, and a sack aren’t eye-popping numbers, there’s something to be said for being the on-field general of a defense that ranks 2nd in SP+ defensive efficiency and 6th nationally in total defense. Almost certain to be an All-American, Smith’s steady, smart play is the heart and soul of Georgia’s push to repeat as national champions.

1. Hendon Hooker, QB (Tennessee)

The way to bounce back from your first true disappointment as a Volunteer in 2022 is to light up Missouri for 66 points — the most any Vols team has scored in an SEC game. Hooker threw for 355 yards and 3 touchdowns, refilling the tank in his Heisman campaign in the process.

Hooker leads the Power 5 in games with more than 400 yards of offense accounted for in 2022, and did it again Saturday with 405 yards of total offense. When he was done, he led the Tennessee band in Rocky Top, celebrating his Senior Day in Knoxville in style.

While the Volunteers aren’t going to Atlanta, the College Football Playoff is almost a lock if Tennessee simply wins its final 2 games of the season, beginning Saturday with a trip to Columbia to play a suddenly struggling South Carolina. All of that is enough to push the Vols’ star quarterback to the top of the list again after Week 11.