What a unpredictable season this has been. Alabama is back (somewhere, the Bear is saying "Act like you've been there before"). Florida is also, apparently, back. And Houston Nutt has been vindicated (take that Arkansas). Here's our second-to-last rankings, based upon current records:
1. Alabama 11-0 (7-0)
The time has come, 'Bama: it's the Iron Bowl, and you've got your best chance to beat the War-Eagling Tigers in six years. Don't blow it by looking ahead to the SEC Championship. Last week: no. 1 (same).
2. Florida 10-1 (7-1)
It's hard to justify why I keep Florida at number two with their ridiculous offensive output. It's also hard not to see the mid-90s Spurrier-Gators when you look at the final scores from the Gators' games this year. But they're stuck at no. 2 unless and until they can beat the Tide on the field. This week, it's an opportunity to kick a Bowden while he's down and call it a "rivalry" game. Last week: no. 2 (same).
3. Georgia 9-3 (6-2)
What an ugly way to finish, Dawgs. I sort of thought you gents would have this one in the bag. The ACC did well against the Nation's Most Amazingly Dominant Football Conference Ever this week. We'd better get our act together next year, or they'll start getting uppity over there on the coast. Is next season a must-win-SEC-championship year for Coach Richt? Last week: no. 3 (same).
4. Ole Miss 8-4 (5-3)
Well Hotty Toddy, y'all. Ole Miss just wrapped up runner-up in the West. Didn't see that one coming, did you? Not in Nutt's first year in the Grove. Of course, now that he's raised their expectations, the Rebs will be looking for a national championship in year 3 (if not next year). Calm down, Mississippians: appreciate going to a bowl before you start order those commemorative national championship DVDs. Last week: no. 4 (same).
5. Vanderbilt 6-6 (4-4)
First five games: this is your offense. Next four games: this is your offense on drugs. Kentucky game: this is your offense when God Almighty smiles upon you and your fanbase to end decades of suffering and sorrow. Last two games: this is your offense after you go through 3 quarterbacks to one who's literally never played a snap in college competition. Any questions? (Also, for the record: VU goes into the number 5 spot due to SEC tie-breaking rules, God love 'em). Last week: no. 6 (+1).
6. South Carolina 7-5 (4-4)
A better record than the Dores doesn't count when your conference record is tied. The first tie-breaker is head-to-head result. Along with the Commodores and the Dawgs, helped the ACC look good. Where will the Cocks go bowling? Last week: no. 5 (-1).
7. LSU 7-5 (3-5)
My, how the mighty have fallen. I warned the Tigers to watch out for ol' Arky -- turns out they didn't listen. Last week: no. 7 (same).
8. Tennessee 5-7 (3-5)
How in the world did Phil Fulmer put together his little season-ending streak after losing to Wyoming?! I really despise the "University" of Tennessee. A whole heap. Last week: no. 11 (+3).
9. Kentcuky 6-6 (2-6)
I only take solace in Vanderbilt's second-half-of-the-season collapse because at least we did manage one more win before the end. Kentucky, on the other hand, is a miracle of scheduling. Only two SEC wins -- the same as the worst team in the league -- and the Cats are bowl eligible. Well done, Mr. Brooks. Well done. Last week: no. 8 (-1).
10. Arkansas 5-7 (2-6)
The Hawgs sure looked impressive against LSU. Where was all that in the first part of the season? Last week: no. 12 (+2).
11. Auburn 5-7 (2-6)
Those SEC tiebreaker rules sure are annoying, aren't they Tigers? I don't think losing Tubbs is a good idea. But then, again, I've never had delusions of grandeur (must be something in the water down in the Yellowhammer State). Last week: no. 9 (-2).
12. Mississippi State 4-8 (2-6)
I hate to see ol' Croom go. He's a good man. And I hardly think that three losing seasons and 1 bowl trip are reason to fire a coach. But, see no. 11: my delusions of grandeur (with regard to the Commodores) including going to a bowl game each year. Period. Last week: no. 10 (-2).