Rivalry. Week.

How many on-field scuffles did we see this week? How many underdogs kept games closer than they had any right to?

College football is incredible. Rivalry Week is the peak of the insanity of this sport we all love.

Unfortunately, it’s also the end of the regular season. This year, the SEC enters conference championship weekend with 2 legit College Football Playoff contenders and some other contenders for top bowls.

Here’s a look at where things stand in our final SEC power rankings of the 2023 season:

14. Vanderbilt (2-10 overall, 0-8 in SEC)

Previous ranking: 14
This week: 48-24 L at No. 21 Tennessee

Vanderbilt started 2-0 this year and then ended 2023 on a casual 10-game losing streak. The Commodores were outscored 434-274 through the regular season. This was an awful team, and the SEC record reflects that. There’s not much hope of a turnaround in 2024, either. Clark Lea is going to have to search for competent players in the portal.

13. Arkansas (4-8, 1-7)

Previous ranking: 13
This week: 48-14 L vs. No. 9 Mizzou

A miserable season comes to an end for the Hogs. Sam Pittman will keep his job heading into 2024, but he’ll enter on one of the hottest seats in the conference (alongside Billy Napier at Florida). Fans will expect to get back to a bowl game, but 6 wins likely isn’t going to make many in Hog Nation overly happy. Pittman has some key hires to make and needs to land some top talent via the portal.

12. Mississippi State (5-7, 1-7)

Previous ranking: 12
This week: 17-7 L vs. No. 12 Ole Miss

Mississippi State’s offense was putrid this year. The Bulldogs scored 262 points and were the only team in the conference to score fewer points than Vanderbilt (274). Considering how much recently fired coach Zach Arnett hurt this offense, it’s no surprise he got less than a full year in charge of the program. Whoever the Bulldogs hire next, I’d expect them to be an offensive-minded head coach.

11. South Carolina (5-7, 3-5)

Previous ranking: 9
This week: 16-7 L vs. No. 24 Clemson

This was a rivalry game for bowl eligibility and the Gamecocks came up woefully short. The offensive line has been atrocious all year. Spencer Rattler had no time to throw. The defense actually played fairly well, but it wasn’t enough to get the Gamecocks their sixth win. This season should leave a sour taste in the mouths of everyone in South Carolina’s fan base.

10. Florida (5-7, 3-5)

Previous ranking: 8
This week: 24-15 L vs. No. 5 Florida State

Florida put a scare into the Seminoles, but ultimately couldn’t pull off the Playoff-altering upset. The Gators will look back at this season and kick themselves for losing to Arkansas. That was the game that should have gotten them to 6 wins. It was in The Swamp. It was against a struggling Razorbacks squad. Instead, Billy Napier will now enter 2024 on an extremely hot seat.

9. Auburn (6-6, 3-5)

Previous ranking: 11
This week: 27-24 L vs. No. 8 Alabama

I don’t know what to do with the Tigers. They lost to New Mexico State last week, but took Alabama to the wire this week. I’ll put them at No. 9, because they haven’t played either Florida or South Carolina this season, but I’d take them to beat both the Gamecocks and Gators on a neutral field tomorrow. They also have 6 wins, so they’ll be playing somewhere this postseason. We’ll see if Hugh Freeze can end Year 1 on The Plains on a high note.

8. Kentucky (7-5, 3-5)

Previous ranking: 10
This week: 38-31 W at No. 10 Louisville

Mark Stoops absolutely owns Louisville. The Wildcats hit the road against a top-10 team and emerged with a thrilling win. It appears Stoops will continue to own the Wildcats’ rivals, as reports that he was leaving for Texas A&M didn’t turn out to be accurate.

7. Texas A&M (7-5, 4-4)

Previous ranking: 7
This week: 42-30 L at No. 14 LSU

Is the Mark Stoops era soon to hit College Station? Not so fast, my friend! The Aggies have apparently learned nothing from Tennessee’s head coaching search a few years ago. The search for Jimbo Fisher’s replacement continues, and now there’s even more pressure to get the right guy in place.

6. Tennessee (8-4, 4-4)

Previous ranking: 6
This week: 48-24 W vs. Vanderbilt

Joe Milton III had perhaps his best game as a Vol. The Vols finished the regular season with 8 wins. That’s not where they thought they’d be, but it’s a good, solid season. Now they’ll have a chance for win No. 9 in a bowl game. There’s a lot to like about this team moving into the future, too. The 2024 season will be a big one for Josh Heupel.

5. LSU (9-3, 6-2)

Previous ranking: 5
This week: 42-30 W over Texas A&M

Jayden Daniels should win the Heisman Trophy. He’s accounted for 50 total touchdowns and it isn’t even December. He has been absolutely incredible all year long, making plays with both his arm and his feet. Malik Nabers should get serious consideration for the Biletnikoff Award. He needs 23 yards in LSU’s bowl game to break LSU’s all-time receiving yards record (held by Josh Reed). This wasn’t the regular season LSU fans envisioned after last year, but this is still a darn good offense.

4. Ole Miss (10-2, 6-2)

Previous ranking: 4
This week: 17-7 W at Mississippi State

It wasn’t pretty, but then, the Egg Bowl rarely is. The important thing is that the Rebels kept their poise in a tough road environment and got the victory. This is the second 10-win regular season in school history, and both have come under coach Lane Kiffin. He’s doing an incredible job in Oxford, and the Rebels will once again be heading to a great bowl game.

3. Mizzou (10-2, 6-2)

Previous ranking: 3
This week: 48-14 W at Arkansas

What a fun team this has been to watch. Of course, it’s still a very Mizzou season to have. Naturally, the Tigers scored a spot in the top 12 the year before the Playoff expanded to 12 teams. Either way, a trip to a New Year’s 6 bowl game will be exciting for Eli Drinkwitz and this program. I expect most of the top players to play in this bowl game, too, so perhaps Mizzou can put an end to its recent bowl slump.

2. Alabama (11-1, 8-0)

Previous ranking: 2
This week: 27-24 W at Auburn

Yes, it took a heroic 4th-and-31 Hail Mary from Jalen Milroe to Isaiah Bond for Alabama to beat Auburn in the Iron Bowl, but crazy things always happen at Jordan-Hare Stadium when these 2 rivals meet. The important thing? The Tide finished the SEC season unblemished and still have slim Playoff hopes. There’s a lot the Tide need to clean up before next weekend against Georgia in the SEC title game, though.

1. Georgia (12-0, 8-0)

Previous ranking: 1
This week: 31-23 W at Georgia Tech

What do we have here? Another top team struggling on the road against an inferior opponent? Well, to be fair, if we only judged CFP contenders based on Week 13 road performances, Mizzou would be in the Playoff. The fact of the matter is that Georgia took care of business. It hasn’t been as pretty as it was last year, but 12-0 is 12-0 no matter how you slice it. Now it’ll be about getting Brock Bowers healthy for next weekend when the Bulldogs meet Alabama in Atlanta.