The 2012 college football season is behind us, which means it’s time to get back to the serious business of listing teams from first to worst. We’ll start with the only league about which any of us really cares, the Southeastern Conference. Here is my final SEC Power Poll ballot of the campaign:
1. Alabama Crimson Tide (13-1 overall, 7-1 SEC): If you’re the best team in the country, you’re also the best team in the SEC. It’s a new policy.
2. Georgia Bulldogs (12-2, 7-1): Five more yards in the Dome, and that would’ve been the Bulldogs’ boot print all over Notre Dame’s behind.
3. Texas A&M Aggies (11-2, 6-2): Although the Aggies’ first season in the SEC exceeded everyone’s expectations, the closeness of Texas A&M’s two losses reveals that 2012 easily could have been even better.
4. South Carolina Gamecocks (11-2, 6-2): Jadeveon is the scariest guy with “Clown” in his name since John Wayne Gacy worked his last birthday party.
5. Florida Gators (11-2, 7-1): Worst. 11-2. Team. Ever.
6. LSU Tigers (10-3, 6-2): I think they threw the Chick-fil-A Bowl in order to boost Clemson’s confidence heading into a 2013 campaign in which the Country Gentlemen open the season against a Georgia squad that is on the Bayou Bengals’ schedule. Yes, it sounds far-fetched, but, really, it wouldn’t be among the ten wackiest things Les Miles has ever done.
7. Vanderbilt Commodores (9-4, 5-3): They’re overly impressed with their own academic standards, they beat weak teams but get blown out by good ones, their head coach behaves badly on the sidelines, and they wear gold helmets. They’re six inches of snow away from being Notre Dame and a dearth of pretty girls away from being Georgia Tech.
8. Mississippi Rebels (7-6, 3-5): Judging by their respective games against ‘Bama and Pitt, I have no reason to doubt that Ole Miss would beat the Fighting Irish.
9. Mississippi St. Bulldogs (8-5, 4-4): If, instead of Vincent Price and a fly, the teleportation booth had contained Rich Brooks’s resume and Ed Orgeron’s dietary regimen, what emerged from the receiving station on the other side of the lab would have been Dan Mullen.
10. Missouri Tigers (5-7, 2-6): In its first season in the SEC, Mizzou was the worst team in the league that didn’t fire its head coach. No pressure, Gary Pinkel.
11. Tennessee Volunteers (5-7, 1-7): Are we entirely sure that Tennessee and Vanderbilt didn’t just switch places when no one was looking?
12. Arkansas Razorbacks (4-8, 2-6): I just can’t shake the feeling that, three years from now, the Bret Bielema hire is going to earn the Hogs the Good Coach/Good Program/Bad Fit Trophy that Michigan locked down during the Rich Rodriguez era.
13. Kentucky Wildcats (2-10, 0-8): The ‘Cats avoided the cellar by beating Kent State, and not just because it’s Nick Saban’s alma mater.
14. Auburn Tigers (3-9, 0-8): The Plainsmen’s complete collapse reaffirms my faith in a just and caring God.
That is how the league shakes out, in my estimation, but you are, of course, entitled to your divergent opinion, and I welcome questions and constructive criticisms in the comments below.