Final SEC Football Power Rankings Before 2012-2013 Bowl Season

With Week 14 (Championship Weekend) in the books, it’s time to reveal the final SEC Football Power Rankings before the always action-packed college football bowl season.

In these rankings, you’ll see each team’s conference and overall records, as well as game-by-game results for each team from the regular season.  In addition, wherever a program is ranked right now in my latest list of the Top 25 teams is where you’ll find them ranked under each team’s résumé.

For example, when Florida won 20-17 at College Station in Week 2, Texas A&M was outside of the Top 25 in all of the major polls, albeit the Aggies are No. 9 at the moment.  So don’t start screaming when you discover that the Gators beat the ninth-ranked Aggies in the second week of the season.

Photo Via whatifsports.com

1. Alabama Crimson Tide (8-1, 12-1): There’s a reason that quarterback A.J. McCarron was considered one of the Heisman front-runners in October and November, as it wasn’t until Nov. 10 when he threw his first interception of the season.  Through 13 games, he’s thrown for 2,669 yards and 26 TDs to just three INTs at a 66.8 completion rate (191/286).

Perhaps even more impressive than the performance of McCarron this season has been this team’s ability to continue to produce such an excellent defense (despite losing several stars to the 2012 NFL Draft) and great ground game (Eddie Lacy and T.J. Yeldon chalked up 304 rushing yards and three touchdowns combined against Georgia), as well as appear in the BCS National Championship to pursue their third national title in four years.

Résumé: Won 41-14 vs. No. 20 Michigan, Won 35-0 vs. Western Kentucky, Won 52-0 at Arkansas, Won 40-7 vs. Florida Atlantic, Won 33-14 vs. Ole Miss, Won 42-10 at Missouri, Won 44-13 at Tennessee, Won 38-7 vs. Mississippi State, Won 21-17 at No. 8 LSU, Lost 24-29 vs. No. 9 Texas A&M, Won 49-0 vs. Western Carolina, Won 49-0 vs. Auburn, Won 32-28 vs. No. 3 Georgia

 

2. Georgia Bulldogs (7-2, 11-2): This team may not have had the best body of work in the conference, but the Bulldogs played their hearts out and would be headed to the big stage on Jan. 7 in Miami, FL if things had ended a little differently in the final seconds of one of the most entertaining conference championships in SEC history.

Instead, Aaron Murray and company will battle the Nebraska Cornhuskers in the Capital One Bowl, which is clearly—and very simply—a slap in the face.

Résumé: Won 45-23 vs. Buffalo, Won 41-20 at Missouri, Won 56-20 vs. Florida Atlantic, Won 48-3 vs. No. 22 Vanderbilt, Won 51-44 vs. Tennessee, Lost 7-35 at No. 11 South Carolina, Won 29-24 at Kentucky, Won 17-9 vs. No. 4 Florida, Won 37-10 vs. Ole Miss, Won 38-0 at Auburn, Won 45-14 vs. Georgia Southern, Won 42-10 vs. Georgia Tech, Lost 28-32 vs. No. 2 Alabama

 

No. 3 Florida Gators (7-1, 11-1): Not to put down what this team accomplished this season, but the Bulldogs deserved to remain in the third spot in the BCS standings and play in a BCS bowl.  That’s not to say that the Gators didn’t have the best body of work of any team in the country or that they don’t deserve to play in a BCS bowl game as well.

In fact, it’s a damn shame that Florida has to face Louisville in the Sugar Bowl.  While the Cardinals had a great season and should play in rather big bowl game, an SEC team should be represented in all five of the BCS bowls.

Résumé: Won 27-14 vs. Bowling Green, Won 20-17 at No. 9 Texas A&M, Won 37-20 at Tennessee, Won 38-0 vs. Kentucky, Won 14-6 vs. No. 8 LSU, Won 31-17 at No. 22 Vanderbilt, Won 44-11 vs. No. 11 South Carolina, Lost 9-17 at No. 3 Georgia, Won 14-7 vs. Missouri, Won 27-20 vs. Louisiana-Lafayette, Won 23-0 vs. Jacksonville State, Won 37-26 at No. 10 Florida State

 

4. LSU Tigers (6-2, 10-2): After falling to the Tide, the Tigers capped off their season with pride, pouncing on the Bulldogs of Mississippi State prior to pulling off hard-fought wins over Ole Miss and Arkansas.

Though the Tigers should be headed to a BCS bowl in my mind (like four of the other top teams in the SEC), they’ll face an arch rival of another top team from the SEC and a comparable opponent in a cat-fight—the Clemson Tigers.

Résumé: Won 41-14 vs. North Texas, Won 41-3 vs. Washington, Won 63-14 vs. Idaho, Won 12-10 at Auburn, Won 38-22 vs. Towson, Lost 6-14 at No. 4 Florida, Won 23-21 vs. No. 11 South Carolina, Won 24-19 at No. 9 Texas A&M, Lost 17-21 vs. No. 2 Alabama, Won 37-17 vs. Mississippi State, Won 41-35 vs. Ole Miss, Won 20-13 at Arkansas

 

5. Texas A&M Aggies (6-2, 10-2): Raise your hand if you thought that in its first season Texas A&M would be able to make a monumental statement that it could compete with the elite in the best conference in college football.

If you still think that QB Johnny Manziel shouldn’t hoist the Heisman Trophy after beating the top-ranked Tide (at the time) in Tuscaloosa and helping his team finish the season in the Top 10, check out his stellar numbers below.

In his freshman season against SEC competition, Johnny Football completed 273 of 400 passes for 3,419 yards with 24 touchdowns to just eight interceptions.  He also added 1,181 yards and 19 TDs on the ground on 174 carries.

Résumé: Lost 17-20 vs. No. 4 Florida, Won 48-3 at SMU, Won 70-14 vs. S. Carolina St., Won 58-10 vs. Arkansas, Won 30-27 at Ole Miss, Won 59-57 at Louisiana Tech, Lost 19-24 vs. No. 8 LSU, Won 63-21 at Auburn, Won 38-13 at Mississippi State, Won 29-24 at No. 2 Alabama, Won 47-28 vs. Sam Houston State, Won 59-29 vs. Missouri

 

6. South Carolina Gamecocks (6-2, 10-2): The only two blemishes on the top team in the SEC that’s outside of the Top 10 (in my latest poll) came at the hands of the LSU Tigers and Florida Gators back-to-back on the road.

After losing Marcus Lattimore in the thrilling victory over Tennessee, this team wrapped up the season on a high note and will battle the Michigan Wolverines in the Outback Bowl.

Résumé: Won 17-13 at No. 22 Vanderbilt, Won 48-10 vs. East Carolina, Won 49-6 vs. UAB, Won 31-10 vs. Missouri, Won 38-17 at Kentucky, Won 35-7 vs. No. 3 Georgia, Lost 21-23 at No. 8 LSU, Lost 11-44 at No. 4 Florida, Won 38-35 vs. Tennessee, Won 38-20 vs. Arkansas, Won 24-7 vs. Wofford, Won 27-17 at No. 13 Clemson

 

7. Vanderbilt Commodores (5-3, 8-4): Despite finishing the season without a win over a Top 25 team (though Ole Miss just missed the cut), these Commodores were in nearly every game and made my final list of the Top 25 teams, not to mention ended their regular season on a six-game winning streak by an average of 24 points per game (38.1 PF to 14.1 PA).

Résumé: Lost 13-17 vs. No. 11 South Carolina, Lost 13-23 at Northwestern, Won 58-0 vs. Presbyterian, Lost 3-48 at No. 3 Georgia, Won 19-15 at Missouri, Lost 17-31 vs. No. 4 Florida, Won 17-13 vs. Auburn, Won 49-7 vs. Massachusetts, Won 40-0 at Kentucky, Won 27-26 at Ole Miss, Won 41-18 vs. Tennessee, Won 55-21 at Wake Forest

 

No. 8 Ole Miss Rebels (3-5, 6-6): After not having much of anything to hang their hat on through the first five weeks, the Rebels found some swagger under first-year coach Hugh Freeze.

Down-the-stretch, this team began playing with confidence, making smart adjustments and displaying an uncommon amount of resiliency with week-to-week improvement.  The Rebels battled for four quarters in their final three tests, as expected, and came away with the win over the in-state rival Bulldogs to become bowl-eligible.  The team will play Pitt on Jan. 5.

Résumé: Won 49-27 vs. Central Arkansas, Won 28-10 vs. UTEP, Lost 31-66 vs. No. 21 Texas, Won 39-0 at Tulane, Lost 14-33 at No. 2 Alabama, Lost 27-30 vs. No. 9 Texas A&M, Won 41-20 vs. Auburn, Won 30-27 at Arkansas, Lost 10-37 at No. 3 Georgia, Lost 26-27 vs. No. 22 Vanderbilt, Lost 35-41 at No. 8 LSU, Won 41-24 vs. Mississippi State

 

No. 9 Mississippi State Bulldogs (4-4, 8-4): With no wins against any any teams from FBS schools (outside of Middle Tennessee State, which lost at Arkansas State 45-0 on Saturday), it’s a clear indication that the Bulldogs’ record was deflated from so much cupcake competition, especially early on in the regular season.  However, this team would probably be pretty close to the top of any other conference in college football.  Their test this bowl season will be a worthy opponent: the Northwestern Wildcats.

Résumé: Won 56-9 vs. Jackson State, Won 28-10 vs. Auburn, Won 30-24 at Troy, Won 30-10 vs. South Alabama, Won 27-14 at Kentucky, Won 41-31 vs. Tennessee, Won 45-3 vs. Middle Tennessee, Lost 7-38 at No. 2 Alabama, Lost 13-38 vs. No. 9 Texas A&M, Lost 17-37 at No. 8 LSU, Won 45-14 vs. Arkansas, Lost 24-41 at Ole Miss

 

No. 10 Arkansas Razorbacks (2-6, 4-8): In addition to the coaching scandal, this talented team and its fans suffered several types of tough losses this season—four of which by single-digits, two between 18-31 points and two more by seven to eight touchdowns.  Making matters worse, they entered the year with such high hopes of a potential national title.

Hey, there…there… there’s always next year.

Résumé: Won 49-24 vs. Jacksonville State, Lost 31-34 vs. Louisiana-Monroe, Lost 0-52 vs. No. 2 Alabama, Lost 26-35 vs. Rutgers, Lost 10-58 at No. 9 Texas A&M, Won 24-7 at Auburn, Won 49-7 vs. Kentucky, Lost 27-30 vs. Ole Miss, Won 19-15 vs. Tulsa, Lost 20-38 at No. 11 South Carolina, Lost 14-45 at Mississippi State, Lost 13-20 at No. 8 LSU

 

No. 11 Missouri Tigers (2-6, 5-7): These Tigers looked tough when they went up against teams outside of the SEC, but looked more like possums against conference competition.  But just because Texas A&M exceeded expectations by leaps and bounds doesn’t mean Mizzou can’t do so soon, too.

Résumé: Won 62-10 vs. SE Louisiana, Lost 20-41 vs. No. 3 Georgia, Won 24-20 vs. Arizona State, Lost 10-31 at No. 11 South Carolina, Won 21-16 at UCF, Lost 15-19 vs. No. 22 Vanderbilt, Lost 10-42 vs. No. 2 Alabama, Won 33-10 vs. Kentucky, Lost 7-14 at No. 4 Florida, Won 51-48 at Tennessee, Lost 27-31 vs. Syracuse, Lost 29-59 at No. 9 Texas A&M

 

No. 12 Tennessee Volunteers (1-7, 5-7): Tyler Bray and company certainly knew how to keep the folks in Knoxville on their toes this season.  Nine of the Volunteers’ dozen contests were decided by three scores or fewer, and as noted a few weeks ago, in five of their first nine games, the team with the lead was up only a score heading into the half.

Résumé: Won 35-21 at N.C. State, Won 51-13 vs. GA State, Lost 20-37 vs. No. 4 Florida, Won 47-26 vs. Akron, Lost 44-51 at No. 3 Georgia, Lost 31-41 at Mississippi State, Lost 13-44 vs. No. 2 Alabama, Lost 35-38 at No. 11 South Carolina, Won 55-48 vs. Troy, Lost 48-51 vs. Missouri, Lost 18-41 at No. 22 Vanderbilt, Won 37-17 vs. Kentucky

 

No. 13 Auburn Tigers (0-8, 3-9): Coach Gene Chizik was fired a day after the Tigers were rolled 49-0 in the Iron Bowl by the Tide in Tuscaloosa.  The team finished the regular season without a win against SEC competition.

Résumé: Lost 19-26 vs. No. 13 Clemson, Lost 10-28 at Mississippi State, Won 31-28 vs. Louisiana-Monroe, Lost 10-12 vs. No. 8 LSU, Lost 7-24 vs. Arkansas, Lost 20-41 at Ole Miss, Lost 13-17 at No. 22 Vanderbilt, Lost 21-63 vs. No. 9 Texas A&M, Won 42-7 vs. New Mexico State, Lost 0-38 vs. No. 3 Georgia, Won 51-7 vs. Alabama A&M, Lost 0-49 at No. 2 Alabama

 

No. 14 Kentucky Wildcats (0-8, 2-10): It’s a wonder that the Wildcats were able to beat Kent State (8-1, 11-2)—a team that almost went to a BCS bowl—much less in blowout fashion when you look back at the entire regular season.

Looking back at the first 10 weeks of this season, it’s a wonder that the Wildcats were able to win against Kent State (8-1, 5-0)—a team that’s on the cusp of entering both the USA Today and the AP Poll—much less in blowout fashion.  With such a cupcake slate of November games, surely Kentucky can come up with at least one more win before season’s end.

Résumé: Lost 14-32 at No. 17 Louisville, Won 47-14 vs. Kent State, Lost 31-32 vs. Western Kentucky, Lost 0-38 at No. 4 Florida, Lost 17-38 at No. 11 South Carolina, Lost 14-27 vs. Mississippi State, Lost 7-49 at Arkansas, Lost 24-29 vs. No. 3 Georgia, Lost 10-33 at Missouri, Lost 0-40 vs. No. 22 Vanderbilt, Won 34-3 vs. Samford, Lost 17-37 at Tennessee

Michael Gartman is a College Football and NFL Senior Writer, the AFC South and NFC West Lead Writer and the Founder, CEO of GridironGrit.com.  He’s also about to start reporting on topics across all sides of the political spectrum and analyze important issues in the liberty movement for a political website.  Follow him @_MichaelGartman on Twitter.

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