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SEC power rankings & grades: End of regular season

Everybody but Vandy is going bowling

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: NOV 27 Texas A&M at LSU Photo by John Korduner/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Wow, what a finish to the regular season for the SEC. Every single team (except Vandy) from oft-struggling Missouri and South Carolina to heavyweights Alabama and Georgia have bowls (or a playoff) to go to in a crazy year for the conference.

While almost the entire league hit bowl-eligibility, many just barely did it at 6-6. Six 6-6 SEC teams are filling up the minor bowls in Birmingham, Detroit, etc., which they’re either thrilled to be in (South Carolina) or their season was a flaming disaster they can’t wait to get over with (hi Florida!)

The grades are in—here’s your end of the regular season SEC report:

1. Georgia Bulldogs

Lotta good old-fashioned hate going around against the Rambling Wreck last Saturday in the 45-0 blitzing. The beatdown was so severe that some Georgia Tech alumni friends of mine told me their GT ornament fell off the Christmas tree and broke during the game, no joke. Grade: A+

Next Game: Georgia (-6.5 via DraftKings) vs. Alabama in SEC Championship

2. Alabama Crimson Tide

On the one hand, that was the most un-Alabama performance I’d ever seen in my life for about 58 minutes of football, as the Crimson Tide could only muster 3 points against 6-5 Auburn. Then, of course, there was the final two minutes and the overtime periods following. Not many teams can pull off a comeback like that, but a lot of Alabama teams don’t need to in the first place. Grade: D

Next Game: Alabama vs. Georgia (-6.5 via DraftKings) in SEC Championship

3. Ole Miss

The Rebels flexed their muscles and capped off a pristine 10-2 season with a sweet 31-21 victory in the Egg Bowl (and in Starkville too). Doesn’t get much better than that. Grade: A

4. Arkansas Razorbacks

The Piggies capped off their regular season 8-4 with a 34-17 home win over Missouri, which wasn’t quite as thrilling as last year’s 50-48 loss last year to Missouri. I think Arkansas is fine with that though. What a tremendous season—whatever bowl they go to is going to be a good one. Grade: A

5. Kentucky Wildcats

The Wildcats just barely slide past Texas A&M to claim the fifth spot after destroying arch-rival Louisville on the road 52-21. Only Georgia, Alabama, and Ole Miss finished with a better record than Kentucky this season. Let that sink in for a moment. Grade: A+

6. Texas A&M Aggies

I had a feeling that Death Valley would be the deciding factor in their season finale against LSU. While the Aggies were favored to win and had been playing much better throughout the season, Coach O made sure that Brian Kelly will get to begin coaching this December rather than next September, as the Tigahs will be bowling thanks to their thrilling 27-24 comeback. Grade: A+

7. Tennessee Volunteers

Another 40+ points from the Vols, whose offense has been very offensive to the teams they’ve played (as well as their fans), and who finish the regular season 7-5 in a year I was hoping they’d go 4-8. Grade: A

8. Mississippi State Bulldogs

Mike Leach is now 0-2 in the Egg Bowl, and the Bulldogs are starting to lose previous momentum. Through some big ups and downs, State finishes 7-5 going into bowl season. Grade: C

9. LSU Tigers (Win of the Week)

What an amazing way for Coach O to say goodbye! Death Valley got to party Saturday night after a late TD pass extended LSU’s season for one more game. That’s got to be one of the sweetest ways to clinch a bowl bid, especially against a ranked team that beat Alabama. Grade: A+

10. Auburn Tigers

Oooooof. How could you blow it like that you had them in your hands! What a gut-punch to the Tigers in the craziest Iron Bowl since the Kick Six. Grade: C-

11. Missouri Tigers

As awful a season as Missouri has had, they are going bowling! What a thrilling overtime win over the collapsing team that suddenly everyone wants to play. Florida has given South Carolina and Mizzou bowl bids so far, and they are happy to take them. Grade: A

10. South Carolina Gamecocks

Eww, yuck. It’s fortunate that the Gamecocks clinched their bowl bid against Auburn because it wasn’t going to happen against Clemson. At home against the weakest Clemson team they’d played in years and with their first bowl eligible team in a while, South Carolina lost 30-0. Ouch. Grade: F

13. Florida Gators

Welp the Gators did manage to squeak by Florida State in the “Who can blow it worse” bowl to get to 6-6, but that’s still not enough to get them out of 13th place in these rankings. They’ve been used to New Year’s Six bowls in the past, but now they’re going to have to suit up for somewhere like Birmingham or Detroit. Grade: C-

14. Vanderbilt Commodores

Welp the season is mercifully over, Vandy, and all your friends are going bowling without you. At least next season there’ll be nowhere to go but up! Grade: D