1. Alabama Crimson Tide
Auburn loses the national title streak and then Alabama loses the national title game appearance streak. What was that about the state of Alabama?
2. Ole Miss Rebels
Now we know why they've been avoiding December trips to the Georgia Dome all these years.
3. Georgia Bulldogs
If inconsistency was an art form, the Bulldogs would be Picasso.
4. Mississippi State Bulldogs
No Orange Bowl trophy and no offer from Michigan or Florida. Bad month for Dan Mullen.
5. Missouri Tigers
They actually beat a B1G team in a Florida bowl game, which is more than can be said for some programs.
6. Auburn Tigers
The Gus Bus blew a tire and is on the side of the road. But good news: Will Muschamp is looking under the hood.
7. Arkansas Razorbacks
2015 SEC CHAMPIONS! W00T! Or maybe we should actually wait until they, you know, play a game in that season to decide how good they are.
8. LSU Tigers
If they can't win close games late, what's left?
9. Tennessee Volunteers
If you divide the margin of victory by Kirk Ferentz's salary, it's really not that big.
10. Texas A&M Aggies
There are worse ways to spend the holidays than going to Memphis and hiring John Chavis.
11. South Carolina Gamecocks
Now the real work begins: Figuring out whether that was a blip or a return to the days when 7-6 is the norm.
12. Florida Gators
The Will Muschamp Era ends with one non-winning record in four years. If you've listened to Florida fans over that time frame, you can be forgiven for not realizing that.
13. Kentucky Wildcats
The way the SEC East acted in the postseason, maybe the Wildcats should have played Ohio State instead.
14. Vanderbilt Commodores
Football? What's that?
Reasoning, to the extent that any reasoning exists:
- When nearly everybody loses, like happened to most of the top third of the league, I don't like to make any changes that are too dramatic. It's worth noting that while Ole Miss got blown out by TCU, that's arguably not any worse weighted for team quality than Georgia's blowout loss to Florida or maybe even a loss (period) to South Carolina. I did move the Dawgs ahead of the Western Division Bulldogs; Georgia actually kept things against Georgia Tech far closer (though, granted, in Athens) than Mississippi State, which seems like a relevant comparison point.
- But, yeah, the top half of the ballot is a mess. I can see putting Ole Miss-Georgia-Mississippi State-Missouri in just about any order and not feeling like I got it completely right. You might even be able to throw Auburn into that mix. Then again, Auburn lost to a 93-year-old interim B1G head coach, so maybe outside of that group looking in is the best place for them.
- Notre Dame is probably a good sight better than Iowa at this points, so I'll give LSU enough credit for keeping that game close. But as I said on Twitter during the TaxSlayer Bowl: If you were to ask me as a South Carolina fan which SEC East team I fear the most in 2015, it's Tennessee. And with the possible exception of Georgia, it's not even really all that close.
- There's a bit of "Team X beat Team Y" going on near the bottom of the bowl teams. Wins against Miami (FL) and West Virginia kind of sound better than a win against East Carolina, though I'm not sure they really are. But it works out the same way. Texas A&M clobbered South Carolina in Columbia and the Gamecocks narrowly beat Florida in Gainesville.
- And of course there are Kentucky and Vanderbilt. The Wildcats might be ready to make a run at the Top 10 (in this poll) next year. Vanderbilt ... well, there's baseball!