Thursday, September 3, 2009

2009 Moral Victory! SEC Preseason Power Ratings go back to the history books

I like making predictions as much as the next person, but I don't take much stock in my own predictions or anybody else's. Instead, I prefer to sit back and watch what happens — and marvel at how little it makes sense some time.

Think about it: Last season Vandy beats South Carolina, Ole Miss, Auburn and Boston College — and loses to Miss State and Duke. Made no sense, did it?

This season, I hope our games over teams we're supposed to beat — Western Carolina, Rice, Army and probably Miss State — make lots of sense. And that our games against teams like LSU and Florida defy logic.

Just watched South Carolina underwhelm NC State 7-3. Gamecocks have a scary fast defense, a bad offense and lots of great young athletes. Not sure how they'll do the rest of the season.

Which leads me to our SEC power ratings. I'm ranking the teams based on where they were at the end of the season. Each week, I'll update the teams based on how they're doing so far. You know, a merit-based system, as opposed to one based on potential.

So we'll start this season's first ratings with last season's final ratings. And if a team wants to improve their ranking? — well, they'll just have to earn it:

1. Florida, 13-1 (8-1): Finished strong and won the national championship.
2. Alabama, 12-2 (8-1): Lost only to the top two teams in the nation.
3. Ole Miss, 9-4 (5-3): The only team to beat Florida; looked unbeatable at the end of the season and whipped Texas Tech in the Cotton Bowl.
4. Georgia, 10-3 (6-2): Didn't show up against Alabama or Florida and got taken to school by the Yellow Jackets, then drew a middling Michigan State team in its bowl.
5. LSU, 8-5 (3-5): Stumbled badly at the end of the season but whipped Georgia Tech in the Yellow Jackets' backyard.
6. Vanderbilt, 7-6 (4-4): That victory in Oxford just kept looking better and better, doesn't it? Miracle win over a tough Boston College team was a beautiful ending to a beautiful season.
7. South Carolina, 7-6 (4-4): A scrappy team that fell apart at the end of the season and decided not to show up against Iowa in the Outback Bowl. Still a big question mark after winning the season opener to NC State.
8. Kentucky, 7-6 (2-6): A weak non-conference schedule and a stout defense boosted Cats into a bowl, where they played hard and beat East Carolina.
9. Tennessee, 5-7 (3-5): Finished strong with wins over eventual bowl champions Vanderbilt and Kentucky, and now the Volunteer faithful have renewed hope, thanks to their fresh-faced coach, his Dream Team of assistants, and a bunch of highly rated freshmen.
10. Arkansas, 5-7 (2-6): The only SEC team that didn't go to a bowl that didn't fire its coach. Petrino did a nice job given the circumstances and returns a ton of starters.
11. Auburn, 5-7 (2-6): After the Vanderbilt loss, the Tigers could only muster a victory over Tennessee-Martin. Now they're starting over with the blandest head coach in the history of the world and a bunch of accomplished assistants.
12. Miss State, 4-8 (2-6): A sad season that ended with a thrashing at the hands of the Rebels and the firing of Coach Croom, and now renewed hope thanks to new coach Dan Mullen.

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