Here’s the SEC’s Week 13 report card, filled with some high marks and a few failing grades:


Tennessee: A

The Volunteers’ 53-28 thumping of Vanderbilt included points from all three phases of the game, but we’re singling out the offense because Tennessee absolutely had its way with a very respectable Commodores defense. The Vols’ 523 yards of offense is the most Vanderbilt has given up all season, and their 53 points is the most Tennessee has scored against an SEC opponent since 2003. The Vols finished with 331 yards on the ground, led by 120 from Jalen Hurd and 99 from Alvin Kamara. Meanwhile, Joshua Dobbs threw for 140, ran for 93 and accounted for three scores.

Ole Miss: A

With all due respect to Brandon Allen, the hottest quarterback in the conference over the final month of the season is the Rebels’ Chad Kelly. The junior led Ole Miss to a 38-27 win over rival Mississippi State on Saturday, passing for 236, rushing for 74, and accounting for three total touchdowns. Just as importantly, he didn’t turn the ball over. After throwing multiple interceptions in three straight games in the middle of the season, Kelly has thrown zero in the Rebels’ last three contests. Ole Miss also got sound production in the running game aside from Kelly, as Jaylen Walton posted a game-high 93 yards on 16 carries. .

Missouri: F

It’s unfortunate Gary Pinkel’s career had to end this way, but a season marked by offensive futility may have reached its nadir in the finale. Though the sloppy weather played a role, the Tigers were unable to move the ball whatsoever against the worst statistical defense  in the SEC. Missouri finished with just 171 yards of total offense, making the Tigers the first Arkansas opponent since UTEP in the season opener to fail to reach 300 yards.



A Tigers defense that seemed to be going through the motions in consecutive losses to Arkansas and Ole Miss played inspired football Saturday against Texas A&M. Showing a spark unseen since being methodically taken apart by Alabama on Nov. 7, LSU defenders swarmed Aggies ball carriers, blanketed receivers in coverage and kept quarterback Kyle Allen on the move all night. The Tigers finished with four sacks, five hurries, three turnovers and allowed just 89 rushing yards on 33 carries.

Alabama: B-plus

It’s indicative of how dominant the Tide defense has been that Saturday’s performance is generally regarded as something a little less than great. Auburn was able to move the ball for stretches, especially in the first half, but once Alabama clamped down on the running game, the Tigers’ hopes dwindled quickly. The Tide gave up just 260 total yards, 77 of which came on a twice-tipped touchdown pass in the third quarter that kept Auburn within striking distance until late in the game.


Florida: D

It’s unlikely that it would’ve made a difference Saturday given Treon Harris’ ongoing struggles at quarterback, but the Gators’ inability to reliably convert field goal chances continues to haunt Florida. Despite a 27-2 final against Florida State, the Gators defense kept Florida in the game until the fourth quarter, but a missed 51-yard field goal and another attempt that was blocked were damaging. Florida has struggled to move the ball since losing starting quarterback Will Grier to suspension. That’s made each scoring opportunity all the more precious, but the Gators are just 7 of 14 on field goal attempts this season.


Arkansas: A

The Hogs didn’t do anything flashy in their 28-3 win over Missouri. In fact, Friday’s win was the opposite of exciting — and one gets the feeling that’s just the way Bret Bielema intended it. With cold, rainy conditions hampering the passing game, Arkansas opted to run right at Missouri’s stout front seven, feeding Alex Collins and backup tailback Kody Walker a combined 44 times for 207 yards. The pounding had the desired effect, as the Hogs maintained possession for more than 40 minutes, and the Tigers’ sputtering offense never had much of a chance to get on track.

Kentucky: F

When a team surrenders a 21-0 lead, there are often multiple culprits. When a team gives up a 21-0 lead and gets blown out 38-3 the rest of the way — against its primary rival, no less — it’s clear everything that could’ve gone wrong did. In Kentucky’s 38-24 loss to Louisville on Saturday, that includes injuries, turnovers, poor execution, and yes, a failure of the coaching staff. When the Cardinals made a switch at quarterback, Kentucky seemingly had no answer, allowing Lamar Jackson to rush for 186 of Lousiville’s 314 yards on the ground. The end result is the Wildcats will miss the postseason for the fifth straight season.


Save for a a few details, the final week of the regular season went about as expected. Alabama locked up the SEC West and will face a Florida team limping into Atlanta after a humbling loss to Florida State.

The Gators’ second loss of the season makes it clear that it’s Bama or bust for the SEC in this year’s playoffs. If Florida were to pull the upset in the conference title game, it’s hard to imagine a scenario in which the SEC gets a representative in the final four.