We regional partisans like to believe that the Southeastern Conference is the toughest league in college football, and that certainly appears to be true at the top, but the SEC is about as bad at the bottom as any conference this side of the WAC. The haves and have nots seem pretty clear, though the middle is a muddle, so here is how the 14 teams of the SEC stack up in comparison to one another:
1. Alabama Crimson Tide (5-0 overall, 2-0 SEC): At Ole Miss, they redshirt Miss Americas. At Alabama, they greyshirt Super Bowl MVPs.
2. Florida Gators (4-0, 3-0): How did the Sunshine State Saurians outpace the Classic City Canines and the Palmetto State Poultry in the East? By getting better every week, and by beating an SEC team that isn’t still winless in conference play.
3. South Carolina Gamecocks (5-0, 3-0): Come on, you knew I couldn’t tempt fate by ranking them behind us on the BlogPoll ballot and the SEC Power Poll ballot, didn’t you?
4. Georgia Bulldogs (5-0, 3-0): The ‘Dawgs are lucky they have Mike Bobo’s offense to rely on until Todd Grantham’s defense gets its act together. The world now officially makes no sense whatsoever.
5. LSU Tigers (5-0, 1-0): Maybe Louisiana State is only good against teams not also nicknamed the Tigers.
6. Texas A&M Aggies (3-1, 1-1): They claimed their first Southeastern Conference victory against an old Southwest Conference rival who will be relegated to the Sun Belt Conference at the end of the season.
7. Mississippi St. Bulldogs (4-0, 1-0): This up-and-coming SEC program still has yet to arrive. Basically, Mississippi State is the Dippin’ Dots of SEC football, spending the better part of two decades as “the ice cream of the future” without ever managing to become the ice cream of the present.
8. Tennessee Volunteers (3-2, 0-2): I hate to break it to you, Derek, but you were adopted.
9. Missouri Tigers (3-2, 0-2): Seriously? Struggling with Central Florida? No real SEC team would ever do that! Oh, wait; nevermind.
10. Mississippi Rebels (3-2, 0-1): The Black Bears are a pretty good team, except when they’re playing really good teams. Too bad Ole Miss doesn’t have a schedule full of cupcakes, like Georgia does.
11. Auburn Tigers (1-3, 0-2): Is it too early to start tracking flights from Auburn to Akron and trying to guess which one contains Bobby Lowder, two dozen creme-filled donuts, and a letter of apology to Terry Bowden?
12. Vanderbilt Commodores (1-3, 0-2): In just the space of a year, James Franklin has taken Vandy from being consistently the twelfth-best team in the league to being consistently the twelfth-best team in the league. I swear that’s a compliment.
13. Kentucky Wildcats (1-4, 0-2): The good news is that the Blue and White weren’t shut out this time. The bad news is that they gave up 38 points again.
14. Arkansas Razorbacks (1-4, 0-2): Apparently, secured creditors were able to lay claim to the Hogs’ defense as part of John L. Smith’s bankruptcy.
That, at least, is how the league appears from my perspective, though, of course, you are free to register your disagreement in the comments below. While you’re at it, check off the items on your Monday to do list and order your Goat Roast T-shirt!