SEC Power Rankings: Post Bowl Season

Harry How

Like it does every year around this time, just as you fall feverishly in love again, college football has come and gone.

As good as the national championship game was on Monday night, this college football hangover is bad. The SEC lost (which in all honesty didn't bother me one bit), Arkansas won less games this season than it did with John L. Smith at the helm, and to really kick start the offseason, Bobby Petrino appears to be a viable candidate for the Louisville job.

Nonetheless, we were given bowl season and now is about the time you wish you could turn on ESPNU and find Washington State and Colorado State kicking off in the New Mexico Bowl. Maybe it's not that bad quite yet. It did start off slow, but the bowl season ended as well as any I can remember in my existence.

The SEC went 7-3 in during bowl season, with both of the Alabama schools losing. That means college football in Alabama is down, right?

1) Auburn (12-2, 7-1 End of Regular Season: 1)- I was skeptical all season long about this squad, but they proved me wrong over and over again. Congrats to these guys for shocking the college football world.

2) Missouri (12-2, 7-1, ERS: 3)- Just the other surprise team of the year in the SEC. Credit is lost because of what the Tigers on The Plains accomplished, but the turnaround in Columbia is nothing to ignore.

3) Alabama (11-2, 7-1 SEC, ERS: 2)- Crimson Tide fans didn't want to hear the same narrative told after their 2009 Sugar Bowl loss to Utah then they went and lost to Oklahoma, a team they were expected to beat. Don't listen to people tell you the Tide didn't want to win that game. They clearly were trying their best and were beat. Oklahoma will be good going forward as will Alabama.

4) South Carolina (11-2, 6-2, ERS: 4)- This was the most impressive team of the bowl season. Connor Shaw is the college quarterback you will watch in an SEC Replay show in 10 years and say to yourself, "I forgot about him, but he was pretty good." He ran, passed and caught for scores against Wisconsin, and then Steve Spurrier trolled Clemson fans because Spurrier. On all accounts he's the same sort of kid off the field, too.

5) Texas A&M (9-4, 4-4 ERS: 6)- USC was the most impressive team, but the MVP goes to Manziel for his performance in the Chick-fil-A Bowl where he accumulated over 450 yards and five touchdowns. If Johnny does leave, he will always be remembered as an SEC legend.

6) LSU (10-3, 5-3, ERS: 5)- Thanks for the Bloomin' Onion, Tigers.

7) Vanderbilt (9-4, 4-4, ERS: 7)- Tell me preseason expectations don't matter. Then look at the Commodores' and Texas A&M's records. The Aggies won the head-to-head matchup handily, but one "9-4" seems like more of a disappointment than the other. Is this the year James Franklin finally is lured away from Nashville?

8) Ole Miss (7-5, 3-5 ERS: 9)- The Rebels beat Georgia Tech's quarterback so badly he decided to transfer. So maybe that's a little extreme, but here is another one of those teams that looked primed for the next step under Hugh Freeze. Rebel QB Bo Wallace has one more year, maybe that's when the magic happens.

9) Georgia (8-4, 5-3, ERS: 8)- Just like every other loss this season the Bulldogs had their chances. Hutson Mason settled into a rhythm late and if the game had five more minutes the Dawgs may have been able to pull it out. Poor, poor Aaron Murray.

10) Mississippi State (6-6, 3-5, ERS: 10)- Granted it was Rice but to good for Dan Mullen, whose team looked as good against their opponent as any. I was insistent Mullen should be gone after this season then he beat Ole Miss, made and won a bowl game.

11) Tennessee (5-7, 2-6, ERS: 11)- The Vols should make a bowl game this season. While many of their fans thought that dream would become a reality this year, they will have legitimate concerns if this team cannot improve by one win next season. Coach Butch Jones just has to figure out the quarterback.

12) Florida (4-8, 3-4 ERS: 12)- Good luck down there, Will.

13) Arkansas (3-9, 0-8, ERS: 13)- Here's hope another team that owned a winless conference record can make a run to the win the first College Football Playoff.

14) Kentucky (2-10, 0-8, ERS: 14)- I'll ask the same question I asked before bowl season: you think Mark Stoops realizes what he's gotten himself into?

Luckily the basketball team looks as if it could go dancing and recruiting is on the up and up. So hang in there football fans, you'll make it.

Cheers, 2013 season!

-----

A native of Arkansas now calling the Hogs from yonder in Georgia, you can follow Graham on Twitter @grahamreaves or read his blog, On My Mind In Georgia.

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