November 21st, 2013 03:15 PM║ Posted By: John Pennington ║ Permalink
║ Schools: Alabama, Arkansas, Auburn, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, LSU, Mississippi State, Missouri, Ole Miss, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas A&M, Vanderbilt
Tags: Basement Contender, Bowl Contender, National Title Contender, SEC
Twelve weeks — three full months of football — are in the books. Just two weeks of regular-season play remain. As we wind down the season, we’re getting a clearer picture of which teams really do have championship mettle. And which teams are destined to find themselves in the SEC cellar.
Below are our weekly rankings of the league’s best and worst teams. We assign each team to one of four different categories based on what they’ve accomplished to date and what we believe their ceilings to be at this moment. Inside each category, teams are simply listed alphabetically.
National Title Contender
Alabama (10-0 overall, 7-0 SEC) — Even after a sub-par 20-7 yawner of a win over Mississippi State, it’s still pretty obvious that Alabama is once again the class of the SEC. It isn’t easy to catch year after year after year all of the breaks that championship teams need to reach the summit. Bama has avoided major injury again, too. If you’re looking for a model college football program, Alabama is it. (Although the best football program in the land shouldn’t stoop to playing FCS Chattanooga this weekend.)
Auburn (10-1 overall, 6-1 SEC) — It took a miracle Hail Mary but Auburn is still alive in the national championship hunt. The Tigers slipped by Georgia 43-38 last week and they certainly had some success through the air (not counting the last-minute, tipped TD bomb). But there’s no question that Gus Malzahn’s team is built to run first. AU has an open date to figure out what to do if Bama can slow the Tiger ground game next weekend.
Missouri (9-1 overall, 5-1 SEC) — Here’s the bad thing: If Missouri loses either of its last two games, some will claim that Gary Pinkel and his team choked away a title shot. Actually, Mizzou just happens to have a heckuva difficult final two-game stretch. Saturday’s game at Ole Miss might actually be trickier than MU’s finale with Texas A&M (and who would have thought that back in August). Win both games and Mizzou will reach the SEC Championship Game before Texas A&M, Ole Miss, Vanderbilt and Kentucky. Ad that would no doubt tick off fans of Texas A&M, Ole Miss, Vanderbilt and Kentucky
Top 25 Contender
LSU (7-3 overall, 3-3 SEC) — How tough is the SEC? Look at the teams in this Top 25 Contender category. Starting with LSU, the Tigers boast an improved offense and a talented (but youthful) defense. With a loss to Texas A&M Saturday, Les Miles’ squad could fall to 8-4. In any other league, the Tigers might’ve been a 10-win team.
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