AUBURN, Ala. – I need a break from the words “Gene Chizik”, “sources”, “buyout”, “decommit”, “Bobby Petrino”, “sources” again, “Kirby Smart”, “Jetgate”, “SportsbyBrooks”, “Charles Barkley”, “show cause penalty” and “sources” a third time just because, yeah, seriously, it’s getting repetitive.
We interrupt this lead-in to inform you because I successfully used all those words in one sentence, and tagged this blog post as such, this is now the eighth-highest clicked article in Internet history. (The first seven all just list the word ‘Tebow’ over and over again.)
Anyway, you’ll find none of those words in my final SEC Power Rankings of the year. Enjoy the reprieve. I know I will. It won’t last long.
By the way, unless a new coach is named Friday (don’t do it, Auburn), I will be at the SEC Championship Game in Atlanta, joined by L-E preps writer David Mitchell (@leprepsports) and supplementing the already-fine coverage of Mark Edwards (who covers Alabama at @DailyEdwards) and Seth Emerson (Georgia, @SethEmerson). So follow along for that.
It should be a fantastic game. At least, I was told so by reports from an unnamed source with information close to the situation.
Aaron Brenner, Columbus Ledger-Enquirer
**All rankings BCS**
1) No. 2 Alabama (11-1, 7-1 SEC); Last week, 1
Last week: beat Auburn 49-0
The back eight seems impenetrable. There’s really any number of ‘player of the year’ candidates on this team, which I will go ahead and name for each of the SEC squads. C.J. Mosley, Dee Milliner, Robert Lester, it’s just an uber-dominant defense. Good luck out there, Aaron Murray.
Next: SEC Championship Game vs. No. 3 Georgia (11-1, 7-1), 3 p.m. CT | CBS
Player of the Year: C.J. Mosley, jr., LB
Bowl prediction: BCS National Championship
2) No. 3 Georgia (11-1, 7-1); LW, 2
Last week: beat Georgia Tech 42-10
Oh, but Murray will have plenty of help. Todd Gurley’s the SEC’s best back, Keith Marshall’s the best backup back in the league, Jarvis Jones is maybe the best linebacker in the country. This should be a phenomenal game at the Georgia Dome.
Next: SEC Championship Game vs. No. 2 Alabama (11-1, 7-1), 3 p.m. CT | CBS
Player of the Year: Aaron Murray, jr., QB
Bowl prediction: Capital One Bowl
3) No. 9 Texas A&M (10-2, 6-2 SEC); LW, 3
Last week: beat Missouri 59-29
Manziel, not Boyziel. Despite not speaking once to the media during the year, he’ll handle himself brilliantly in New York City a week from Saturday.
Player of the Year: Johnny Manziel, fr., QB
Bowl prediction: Cotton Bowl
4) No. 4 Florida (11-1, 7-1); LW, 5
Last week: beat No. 10 Florida State 37-26
The Gators have not allowed a single rushing gain longer than 24 yards all year. Filthy. And now they just hung 37 on the Seminoles in Tallahassee? You earned your Sugar Bowl trip.
Player of the Year: Marcus Roberson, so., DB
Bowl prediction: Sugar Bowl
5) No. 7 LSU (10-2, 6-2); LW, 4
Last week: beat Arkansas 20-13
So it sounds like Les Miles will not leave the Bayou for a ridiculous, bluff-type offer at Arkansas. Hopefully LSU gave Miles that raise because he earned it, not because a desperate league rival wants to play poker. Said LSU athletic director Joe Alleva Wednesday: “It’s been my plan all along to give coach a longer contract, and that’s what we’re doing.”
Player of the Year: Kevin Minter, jr., LB
Bowl prediction: Outback Bowl
6) No. 10 South Carolina (10-2, 6-2); LW, 6
Last week: beat No. 11 Clemson 27-17
The Gators and Gamecocks are basically twins this year. Except, well, Florida won the matchup. Which is why South Carolina is the sixth best team in its own conference, and can’t even book a New Year’s Day date in a historically top-heavy league.
Player of the Year: Jadeveon Clowney, so., DE
Bowl prediction: Chick-Fil-A Bowl
*****big gap here*****
7) Vanderbilt (8-4, 5-3); LW, 7
Last week: beat Wake Forest 55-21
If I were to tell you two teams in the SEC have six-game overall winning streaks (currently the longest in the conference), and gave you five guesses, I bet many of you would miss one. Georgia is one. The other is not Texas A&M, it’s not LSU, it’s not South Carolina. The Vanderbilt Commodores have not lost since losing gamely to Florida on Oct. 13. They’ll trounce someone in a lesser bowl.
Player of the Year: Jordan Matthews, jr., WR
Bowl prediction: Gator Bowl
Last week: beat Mississippi State 41-24
Great bounceback effort after a three-game losing streak, sealing that long-awaited bowl eligibility. How about Bo Wallace, teetering on losing his job earlier this year, and responding by throwing five touchdowns in his biggest game of the year?
Player of the Year: Donte Moncrief, so., WR
Bowl prediction: Liberty Bowl
9) Mississippi State (8-4, 4-4); LW, 8
Last week: lost to Ole Miss 41-24
Chad Bumphis, 12 TDs. For a defensive conference, this certainly was a year for top receivers. Very little momentum though for the Bulldogs, losers of four in their past five.
Player of the Year: Darius Slay, sr., DB
Bowl prediction: Music City Bowl
10) Arkansas (4-8, 2-6); LW, 10
Last week: lost to No. 7 LSU 20-13
Eight months, the school has had, to make a decision on a long-term hire. Offering Les Miles the world shows you where the Razorbacks are at. This is by far the weakest of the three remaining SEC openings.
Player of the Year: Cobi Hamilton, sr., WR
11) Missouri (5-7, 2-6); LW, 11
Last week: lost to No. 9 Texas A&M 59-29
Talk about slinking away quietly. Not a lot of positives to build on going into year two of SEC football. Maybe the Big Ten should have gotten a longer look.
Player of the Year: Kendial Lawrence, sr., RB
12) Tennessee (5-7, 1-7); LW, 12
Last week: beat Kentucky 37-17
Next season hinges heavily on Tyler Bray’s decision whether or not to return.
Player of the Year: Cordarrelle Patterson, jr., WR
13) Auburn (3-9, 0-8); LW, 13
Last week: lost to No. 2 Alabama 49-0
“The Auburn people don’t deserve that.” said a certain former head coach. Was he talking about the three-hour slaughter just finished on the field, or the three-month disaster preceding it?
Player of the Year: Tre Mason, so., RB
14) Kentucky (2-10, 0-8); LW, 14
Last week: lost to Tennessee 37-17
Best of luck, Mark Stoops. If you last three years, it’ll be a modern marvel.
Player of the Year: Avery Williamson, jr., LB