Week 14 SEC Power Rankings
Week 14 SEC Power Rankings: Top 2 to Duel in Iron Bowl
The final week of the regular season in the SEC is a sad moment as we enter Week 14, which is essentially Rivalry Week for most of the schools in college football's premier conference. However, it’s also pretty darn exciting because rivalries are what make college football so great, and one of the best in any sport will decide the SEC west this weekend when Alabama travels to Auburn.
The Crimson Tide and the Tigers have been locked in the top two spots in these rankings for more than a month, with Alabama entrenched in the top spot all year. But, now the Tigers get the chance to knock the king off his perch in the game of the year.
The winner will play Missouri after they cruise past Ole Miss. That's assuming they can knock off Texas A&M, who was embarrassed by LSU. If not, it will be South Carolina representing the east in the SEC Championship Game. The one rivalry game that we got a week early went down to the final seconds as Vanderbilt stole a win from Tennessee, who had their hearts ripped out of their chests and their bowl dreams dashed.
Speaking of having your hearts ripped out, the loss by Florida to Georgia Southern, who didn’t even need to complete a pass against the Gators to hand the program their first defeat to an FCS team, is rock bottom. How far will the Gators drop in this week’s rankings? They have been a boulder dropped in the ocean this season and continue to sink quickly.
After this week’s games, I will do one more power ranking before the SEC title game, and then will have one final power ranking after the SEC season has wrapped up in what will likely be after the BCS Championship Game.
Kentucky wraps up the first season of the Mark Stoops era with a shot at a SEC win as they host Tennessee in their season finale. Give Stoops a couple of recruiting classes like the one he has coming to Lexington, and he'll be out of the cellar.
Arkansas had a shot at an SEC win as they hosted Mississippi State, but couldn't seal the deal as they lost in overtime. I overestimated this team and thought they'd get 5-6 wins entering the season, but there is a serious lack of talent on this roster. Year two under Bret Bielema has to be better.
Tennessee won't be going bowling after a gut-wrenching loss in the final seconds to Vanderbilt, but this team has shown a lot of heart and character at times this season. Butch Jones will have this team bowling next year, and that's a guarantee.
This has been an awful season for Florida, but I don't think anyone envisioned a scenario where Georgia Southern would win in Gainesville without even completing a pass. They host Florida State next week, where all they can hope for is spoiling their in-state rival's chances at the BCS Championship and possibly saving Will Muschamp's job.
10. Mississippi State
Mississippi State kept their bowl hopes alive with a win at Arkansas and could clinch a bowl berth with a win on Thanksgiving night vs. Ole Miss in the Egg Bowl. The health of State's quarterbacks will go a long way towards determining their upset chances in Starkville.
Georgia has seen a number of players injured this season, but Aaron Murray has remained healthy through it all. That all changed in a hurry when the best quarterback in program history was helped off the field with a knee injury in the second quarter and didn't return. The Dawgs won the game, but hope the results on Murray's MRI allow him to play at least one more game in a Georgia uniform.
Vanderbilt stole a win in the final seconds at Tennessee and should close out the season with four straight wins to get to eight wins on the heels of a nine-win season a year ago, provided they get past Wake Forest at home.
7. Ole Miss
Ole Miss had their four-game winning streak snapped by Missouri as the Rebels lost for the first time at home this season. They can match last year's win total with a win on Thanksgiving night vs. rival Mississippi State and knock them out of bowl contention in the process.
6. Texas A&M
Texas A&M hasn't looked this bad in the past two years under Kevin Sumlin and with Johnny Manziel at quarterback, but LSU limited them to 10 points and Manziel completed 16 of 41 pass attempts in the worst game of his career. They travel to Missouri this week to try and knock the Tigers out of the SEC Championship Game.
This was the LSU defense we've grown accustomed to in Baton Rouge. The Tigers dominated Texas A&M on both sides of the ball and picked up a much-needed SEC win after dropping three already. You've gotta wonder if this defense had been there earlier in the season, perhaps we'd talking about a potential one-loss team or better right now.
4. South Carolina
South Carolina wasn't tested in their game vs. Coastal Carolina, which was essentially a tune-up before this week's game vs. Clemson. The 70 points scored by the Gamecocks are the most under Steve Spurrier in the nine years he's been in Columbia.
I thought Missouri could be on upset alert at Ole Miss, but the Tigers controlled the game from the opening kick and cruised to a 24-10 win on the strength of the run game that produced 260 yards. All that stands in the way of them making the SEC Championship Game is a home date vs. Manziel and Texas A&M.
Auburn was idle this week as they rest up for an Iron Bowl matchup that will decide the SEC west. They have been the No. 2 team in these rankings for more than a month, and now they have a shot to prove that they are No. 1 in a game that should be a classic.
Alabama took care of business in their tune-up game vs. Chattanooga and now focus on their in-state rivals, the Auburn Tigers, who got to relax and get healthy before hosting the two-time defending champions. The Iron Bowl on Saturday afternoon is must-see TV with the winner headed to the SEC Championship Game.