Now that the 2012 college football season has ended, I figured its always a good time to start looking ahead to next season. So here it is, my way too early 2013 SEC Power Rankings.
The two-time defending BCS National Champions... Need I say more?
2. Texas A&M
Other than being the only team to figure out the conundrum known as Alabama, this Aggies team was one of the strongest in the country, and with Heisman winner Johnny Manziel coming back, things can only look up for Texas A&M.
If Aaron Murray had decided to bolt for the NFL, this Georgia team would have been much lower in these rankings, but alas he didn't and with both Todd Gurley and Keith Marshall coming back for their sophomore seasons, this Georgia team will be in contention once again next year.
4. South Carolina
Honestly this team could be really special next year, but until they play more consistent on offense they will sit here at No. 4. The reason they could be special is because of this man right here, Jadeveon Clowney.
This could be another team that has a breakout season next year, Zach Mettenberger is returning at QB, and Jeremy Hill is returning at RB. Other than that LSU has questions on defense because of the mass Exodus to the NFL. If they can replace on defense, this team could be scary in 2013.
With backup QB Jacoby Brissett transferring, and RB Mike Gillislee graduating, the weight of the Gators offense in 2013 turns to QB Jeff Driskel. In order to contend in the SEC, Florida will have to complement Driskel with another star RB, and bring in a few new playmakers at WR. Other than the offensive issues, Florida is a solid team that has a wonderful defense, and if the offensive issues are corrected, they could be a contender in the SEC once again.
Who would've thought that Vanderbilt would ever be this good? I know I didn't. If this team continues to improve the way they have the last two years under James Franklin, don't be suprised to see them competing for an SEC title soon.
8. Ole Miss
Similar to Vanderbilt, no one saw Ole Miss reaching a bowl game in Hugh Freeze's 1st season as the Rebels' Head Coach. Now the Rebels are trending up, and the sky's the limit right now for them. They aren't the best team in the SEC, but they are going to be a team that no one wants to see on their schedule come late October or November.
9. Mississippi State
With QB Tyler Russell and most of the Bulldogs offense returning, this Mississippi State team has the potential to be a great football team. The only thing holding back this team is themselves. If they can correct that look for the Bulldogs to continue to make noise in the SEC West.
Now that the 'Derek Dooley Experiment' has finally ended, things are now looking up in Big Orange Country with new Head Coach Butch Jones. Although QB Tyler Bray and WR's Justin Hunter and Cordarrelle Patterson have departed for the NFL, this team still contains a lot of talent on both the offensive and defensive sides of the football. The biggest plus for this football team is returning to the 4-3 defense, where hopefully they will correct a multitude of problems that plagued this unit in the 3-4 scheme it was in last year.
With Brett Bielma bolting Wisconsin for the Razorbacks, Arkansas acquired a wonderful head coach that propelled Wisconsin to three consecutive Big Ten titles. Now although I know it is a bit different to win down here in the SEC, don't be surprised if it doesn't take Bielma long to get Arkansas back to where they need to be.
To say last year was a year to forget for Missouri would be an understatement. Missouri was pegged to be the team to contend entering the conference, while A&M was supposed to struggle. Then injuries set in, the defense imploded, and all that was left of Missouri was a struggling football team, while meanwhile A&M flourished behind Heisman-winner Johnny Manziel. The bright side for the Tigers is that hopefully QB James Franklin will return injury free, and this defense will continue to adapt to the kind of play it needs to have in order to survive in the SEC.
Gus Malzahn has his hands full bringing Auburn back to where it was two years ago when it won the National Title. Fortunately Auburn does have a lot of talent returning next year, the only problem is that the talent needs to be developed . If Malzahn can develop the talent that Auburn already has there, look for the Tigers to get back to where they belong in the SEC.
Who knows where this Kentucky would be if they had a healthy QB Maxwell Smith for a full 12 games? Something tells me it wouldn't be at 2-10 (0-8) and in the SEC cellar. If Kentucky wants to start contending, or just simply making bowl games for that matter, they are going to have to start building around the pieces they already have, like Smith. If Kentucky can do that, as well as start playing some defense, they may have a chance at becoming something other than just a 'basketball school'.