I’m not sure I buy this, but I have been told that there actually were Southeastern Conference football games played in venues other than Jacksonville last weekend, and that, despite their utter insignificance, these alleged other games also counted. Consequently, I had occasion to revisit my SEC Power Poll ballot and rank the 14 teams in the league in the following sequence:
1. Alabama Crimson Tide (8-0 overall, 5-0 SEC): ‘Bama beat a previously undefeated SEC opponent this weekend, which is very impressive. Of course, the Tide gave up a touchdown to that previously undefeated SEC opponent, unlike some other teams I could name. I’m just sayin’.
2. LSU Tigers (7-1, 3-1): Consider this a lovely parting gift.
3. Georgia Bulldogs (7-1, 5-1): First consecutive victories over Florida since 1989. First time holding the Gators without a touchdown since 1988. First time beating a top two team since upending the Orange and Blue in Jacksonville in 1985. Ended Mark Richt hot seat talk. Answered questions about the Bulldogs’ ability to beat a top ten opponent. Silenced tired “18-4” meme with fourth win in nine years, third win in six years, and second straight series triumph. Resolutely swung pendulum back in favor of the good guys in metronomic two-decade series cycles of dominance. Really, the inside track to the Eastern Division title was strictly gravy.
4. Florida Gators (7-1, 6-1): And the 2012 University of Georgia Distinguished Alumnus Award goes to . . . William Larry Muschamp!
5. South Carolina Gamecocks (7-2, 5-2): No jokes at the Gamecocks’ expense this week, just well wishes for Marcus Lattimore, a good kid, a great player, and a tough competitor for whose complete recovery we all are praying.
6. Texas A&M Aggies (6-2, 3-2): You just know there are Auburn fans out there grumbling that this, too, was all Bear Bryant’s fault.
7. Mississippi St. Bulldogs (7-1, 3-1): I owe someone an apology. When I heard all the talk about the Bulldogs being overrated, playing a soft schedule, and having no ability to beat quality opposition, I mistakenly believed it was directed at my team, when, clearly, Mississippi State was the squad under discussion.
8. Mississippi Rebels (5-3, 2-2): I’m glad Ole Miss went ahead and got that whole “winning an SEC road game” thing out of its system before next weekend.
9. Vanderbilt Commodores (4-4, 2-3): The ‘Dores skunked winless UMass, 49-7. That’s the new Vandy for you!
10. Missouri Tigers (4-4, 1-4): It wouldn’t hurt my feelings a bit if Mizzou ran the table from here.
11. Arkansas Razorbacks (3-5, 2-3): The Hogs have the distinction of being the highest-ranked SEC team whose coach will not return in 2013.
12. Tennessee Volunteers (3-5, 0-5): I apologize for the visual, but how many Big Orange fans would like to wake up like Victoria Principal in “Dallas,” find Phillip Fulmer in the shower, and be told it was all a dream?
13. Auburn Tigers (1-7, 0-6): The only reason this year’s Plainsmen aren’t clearly the worst team in Southeastern Conference history is that this year’s Kentucky team also is a part of Southeastern Conference history.
14. Kentucky Wildcats (1-8, 0-6): Oh, sure, we’re laughing now, but the ‘Cats are going to pay us all back big-time come basketball season.
There you have it, ladies and gentlemen. That is how the SEC looks to me, but, if you think I’m still hung over from the World’s Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party, feel free to correct me in the comments below.