The selfsame seasonal illness that kept me home from last Saturday’s game also caused me to leave work early and hit the hay sooner than usual on Monday, so I am a bit behind in bringing you my SEC Power Poll ballot, which already has been made the subject of certain challenges. It is therefore with a modicum of trepidation that I bring you the twelve teams of the Southeastern Conference, in order from best to worst:
1. Alabama Crimson Tide (11-0): The Red Elephants made short work of their overmatched rent-a-win.
2. Florida Gators (11-0): The Sunshine State Saurians made short work of their overmatched rent-a-win. (You know, maybe if the pollsters started punishing teams for soft scheduling, out-of-conference slates would get tougher. Just a thought.)
3. Mississippi Rebels (8-3): Finally, Ole Miss gets revenge for Billy Cannon’s punt return! Well, unless you count the Rebels’ win in the Sugar Bowl rematch that same year and Billy Cannon’s subsequent prison term, I mean.
4. LSU Tigers (8-3): Just when I start to give Les Miles credit, he goes and pulls a stunt like that. Maybe Billy owes me an apology!
5. Arkansas Razorbacks (7-4): I don’t know that I’m entirely comfortable with this "forward pass" concept, but it seems to be working for the Hogs.
6. Kentucky Wildcats (7-4): Lost amid the agony of Saturday night’s meltdown is the fact that Kentucky had a good game plan, executed it effectively, and made many of its own breaks, starting with the forced fumble on the second-half kickoff. The ‘Cats are a mediocre team in a mediocre SEC, but that’s good enough for sixth place in a year like this one.
7. Auburn Tigers (7-4): Yeah, I don’t know what I was thinking ranking the Plainsmen No. 25 in the BlogPoll. I blame it on cold medicine. I hate Auburn.
8. Tennessee Volunteers (6-5): It’s nice to know someone is able to feel good about 6-5.
9. Georgia Bulldogs (6-5): Amazingly enough, the Red and Black will finish in a tie for second place in the SEC East. Granted, the ‘Dawgs will be tied with a team that beat them head to head, but the idea that this embarrassment of a season is ending anywhere other than in the cellar is baffling to me.
10. South Carolina Gamecocks (6-5): Honestly, why do the Palmetto State Poultry even bother any longer? They’re going to lose narrowly to Georgia, build up a 5-1 record, register one upset that is mildly surprising at most, and collapse down the stretch. A season of Gamecock football is as formulaic as a "Police Academy" sequel. (Yes, I know that’s a dated reference, but, if you picture Bobcat Goldthwait as Stephen Garcia, the analogy works.)
11. Mississippi St. Bulldogs (4-7): Mediocrity may or may not be an attainable aspiration in Starkville.
12. Vanderbilt Commodores (2-10): The glory run from 2008 to 2008 is officially over, but it was fun while it lasted.
That’s how the league stacks up, at least as viewed from my vantage point. Feel free to share your perspective upon the subject in the comments below.