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Final SEC Power Rankings

We have back-to-back champions

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: JAN 09 CFP National Championship Photo by Jeffrey Vest/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Conference championships are done, the bowls are in the books, and the Georgia Bulldogs are back-to-back national champions thanks to a 65-7 beatdown that was the largest margin of victory in a BCS/CFP game ever.

At the end of the regular season, the chase for the top spot in these power rankings was trimmed down to just four teams, and heading into the SEC Championship the rules were basically whoever graded out the best in whatever postseason matches they had would determine who would win.

Obviously, the Dawgs get the nod over Alabama, Tennessee, and LSU for, y’know, winning the whole thing, but Tennessee edges Alabama for the #2 spot and the Tide and Tigers round out the top four while everyone else gets rounded up again for one last set of rankings before heading into the offseason. Let’s get rolling:

1. Georgia Bulldogs

I thought that if there was any team in the country who could beat Georgia, it was Ohio State and boy did they come close. Winning in comeback fashion like that is special and something I don’t think anybody on the team will ever forget, especially with how they followed it up. 17 straight wins and 33-1 in their last 34. Season Grade: A+

2. Tennessee Volunteers

It’s been a dream season in Knoxville, with the Vols putting up their first 11-2 season since 2001 and defeating top-10 Alabama and Clemson teams in the same year. They were absolutely dominant in every game they played and earned every bit of their Orange Bowl victory they capped it all off with. Season Grade: A+

3. Alabama Crimson Tide

Alabama was the “worst” they’ve been in a decade, and they still went 11-2 and won the Sugar Bowl to finish with the #5 ranking in the AP poll. That might not be what they’ve been used to, but it was good football they should be proud of. One of the most amazing things Nick Saban’s led them to is to keep playing their best football even when their season isn’t shaping up to what they wanted. Case in point: the Tide missed the CFP and the SEC Championship but still brought their best football to rout the Big 12 champions 45-20 anyway, just like they clobbered Michigan in the Citrus Bowl in 2019 after missing the playoff. No playing for a natty and certainly stuff left on the table, but a lot to still be grateful for. Season Grade: B+

4. LSU Tigers

One of the biggest turnarounds in the sport and one of the few coaching splashes to immediately pay off, the Tigers’ journey from 6-7 in 2021 to 10-4 in 2022 with a win over Alabama and a trip to the SEC Championship game was a dream come true for LSU fans wondering how the Chip Kelly Era would begin. Season Grade: A+

5. Mississippi State Bulldogs

It was a phenomenal regular season of football in Starkville capped off with a Golden Egg to finish 8-4, but in one of the saddest stories of the season the Bulldogs are heading into the offseason without the beloved Mike Leach, who brought more and more success to Hail State each year he was there. He will be greatly missed and always remembered, and his hard work and that of his team earned them a solid A+ season capped off with an emotional walk-off field goal bowl win over Illinois that greatly honored the Pirate. Season Grade: A+

6. South Carolina

Couldn’t have asked for a better year in Colombia than what the Gamecocks got in a joyride 8-5 season capped with a win over top-10 Tennessee, top-10 Clemson, and a narrow bowl loss to Notre Dame in a wild 45-38 game. Tons of wind in the sails heading into the offseason. Season Grade: A+

7. Arkansas Razorbacks

Now for teams who didn’t do so well. While they were inconsistent throughout the year, they got it done when it counted and finished 7-6 with an epic triple-overtime victory over the resurgent Kansas Jayhawks. Wasn’t the prettiest year, but wasn’t awful. Season Grade: C+

8. Ole Miss Rebels

Kudos to the Rebels for squeaking out close wins to start 7-0 and 8-1 with easier opponents to give them cushion for tougher competition at the end, but ending the year with four straight L’s was extremely deflating, and they definitely could’ve won some of those games. Season Grade: C

9. Missouri Tigers

Every year nobody expects anything from Missouri, and they do juuust enough to reach bowl season and overachieve. Wins over South Carolina and Arkansas highlighted the year and helped them shine brighter than many other teams in the league with a lot more expectations. Plus, they came soooo close to beating Georgia... Season Grade: B+

10. Kentucky Wildcats

Coming into the year it looked like UK might have a season like Tennessee did, but a weak offensive line nobody knew about combined with injuries, bad offense, and bad luck turned it into a more pedestrian 7-6 finish. They still were just two plays from 9-3, though, and also used their “bend without breaking” philosophy to fuel themselves to the finish with wins over Mississippi State, Missouri, and Louisville in the second half of the season. Oh, and of course the ‘Cats have now beaten Florida twice in a row. Season Grade: C+

11. Vanderbilt Commodores

The Commodores are slowly making progress! So many positives this year—a 3-1 start, two SEC wins, and just one step away from bowl mania. Great to see things going in some sort of right direction in Nashville. Grade: B+

12. Florida Gators

First year of Billy Napier didn’t look that much different than last year of Dan Mullen and finishing 6-7 after hyping the fanbase with a season-opening win over top-10 Utah brought them from a #12 ranking to pretty much the ground zero they ended 2021 on. Oh well, it was Year 1, so not quite as much of a shock but still disappointing. Grade: D

13. Texas A&M Aggies

An absolute disaster in College Station, as the once national championship contenders failed to even make a bowl game as they lost left and right, even dropping a home game to Appalachian State. Things are a mess in the Jimbo Fisher Era right now, and I don’t know how they are going to sort it out. Grade: F

14. Auburn Tigers

Looks like the Bryan Harsin thing didn’t work out. I’m starting to think that maybe they should’ve kept Gus Malzahn—at least then they made bowls. Grade: F