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CFN 2012 Final Season Rankings - SEC
Posted Jan 15, 2013

Which teams had the best seasons? Here's CFN's final ranking based on who earned it on the field.

CFN 2012 Season Rankings

SEC Rankings

2008 | 2009 | 2010 | 2011

2012 CFN Final Season Rankings
The Top 10 | Rankings 11-29 | Rankings 30-48 | Rankings 49-67
- Rankings 68-86Rankings 87-105The Bottom 19 
- ACC | Big East | Big Ten | Big 12 | C-USA | Ind
- MAC | Mountain West | Pac-12 | SEC | Sun Belt | WAC

- Based On Opinion ... CFN 2012 FINAL Rankings, Top  25

The Formula's Components: 
1. Wins. - If you win, everything else falls into place. Each win counts as 1.
2. Quality Wins - The number of wins over teams that finished with a winning record. Each win counts as 1.
3. Elite Wins - The number of wins over teams that finished with two losses or fewer. Each win counts as 1 with a road win over an Elite team getting an extra 0.5. Also counting as 1 is a road win over a team that finished with three losses or fewer (but the extra 0.5 isn't added). A win over a team that finishes with three losses in a bowl game counts as one.
4. Bad Loss - The number of losses to teams that finished with three wins or fewer or a loss to a FCS (DI-AA) team. Each loss counts as minus-1. Take away an additional 0.5 for a Bad Loss at home.
5. Bad Win - The number of wins to teams that finished with three wins or fewer, or a win over a D-IAA team. Each win counts as minus 0.25. 
6. Elite Loss - The number of losses to teams that finished with two losses or fewer. Each loss counts as 0.25.
7. Point Differential - Points for minus points against divided by 100. 
8. Winning Percentage - To take losses into account, winning percentage is in the mix. Total wins is the tie-breaker followed by winning percentage.

NOTE: This is based on who had the best season. This isn't a ranking of who the best teams were.

The number next to the team is the overall rank.

1. Alabama (13-1)   2012 CFN Score: 27.57

2012 CFN Preseason Ranking: 3
2011 Final Season Ranking: 3
2011 CFN Final Score: 24.14
2010 Final Season Ranking: 10
2010 CFN Score: 20.40 
2009 Final Season Ranking: 1
2009 Final Score: 29.10
2008 Final Season Ranking: 7
2008 Final Score: 20.08
Key Stat: The Tide No. 1 in the nation in total defense, scoring defense and run defense.

The Tide actually won the SEC West this time around. The team caught a big break with Ohio State being ineligible, and it helped that Oregon and Kansas State both blew it, but the 42-14 blasting of Notre Dame in the BCS championship left no doubt about which team was the best. Even though Bama missed Florida and South Carolina, wins over LSU and Georgia helped boost up the season score, while getting by Michigan, Ole Miss and Mississippi State set a nice foundation of wins in the first half. Overcoming the loss to Texas A&M by beating both Western Carolina and Auburn 49-0 was the perfect response, and even though it was a rocky win over the Bulldogs to get to Miami, everything worked out well with a third national title in four years in one of the greatest runs of all-time.

5. Texas A&M (11-2) 2012 CFN Score: 24.05

2012 CFN Preseason Ranking: 14
2011 Final Season Ranking: 43
2011 CFN Final Score: 10.96
2010 Final Season Ranking: 19
2010 CFN Score: 16.90
2009 Final Score: 7.37
2008 Final Season Ranking: 99
2008 Final Score: 3.09
Key Stat: The Aggies finished third in the nation in total offense and fourth in scoring offense.

One of the most disappointing teams of 2011, there was no way A&M was going to do much better in 2012, being thrown into the SEC West meat grinder with a new head coach and a shaky quarterback situation after losing Ryan Tannehill early to the NFL. Instead, Kevin Sumlin had his Aggies roaring thanks to Johnny Manziel-Football-Heisman, who put together the greatest statistical season by any quarterback in the history of the SEC. There were fizzles against Florida and LSU in two close losses, but a win at Alabama and a blowout over Oklahoma in the Cotton Bowl set the tone for what should be a great future. All of a sudden, Texas A&M is the hot program with recruits, Manziel is already a legend, and Sumlin is being hailed as the it coach of the moment.

6. Florida (11-2) 2012 CFN Score: 22.91

2012 CFN Preseason Ranking: 21
2011 Final Season Ranking: 63
2011 CFN Final Score: 8.28
2010 Final Season Ranking: 34
2010 CFN Score: 12.73
2009 Final Season Ranking: 2
2009 Final Score: 26.71
2008 Final Season Ranking: 1
2008 Final Score: 28.98
Key Stat: Florida was fifth in the nation in total defense.

After falling off the cliff in the season rankings last year, the Gators rocketed back up the charts thanks to big win over big win, beating Texas A&M, LSU, South Carolina and Florida State on the way to coming really, really close to getting a shot at the BCS championship. The loss to Louisville in the Sugar Bowl was a rough ending, souring all the good things the team did throughout the year, but considering all the great wins over top teams, that seemed like a bit of an aberration. However, going forward, Will Muschamp has to get the offense moving - particularly the SEC's worst passing attack - to go along with its tremendous defense.

9. South Carolina (11-2) 2012 CFN Score: 20.56

2012 CFN Preseason Ranking: 15
2011 Final Season Ranking: 17
2011 CFN Final Score: 17.37
2010 Final Season Ranking: 27
2010 CFN Score: 14.73 
2009 Final Season Ranking: 52
2009 Final Score: 10.57
2008 Final Season Ranking: 61
2008 Final Score: 8.50
Key Stat: The Gamecocks finished third in the nation in total defense.

The greatest era in South Carolina football history kept on rolling. A two-game losing stretch in the middle of a brutal midseason - dropping a tight game to LSU before getting blown away by Florida - were the only blips. Beating Clemson by double digits in Death Valley was impressive, and closing out with a last-second touchdown pass to beat Michigan will set the tone for the offseason.

11. Georgia (12-2)  2012 CFN Score: 19.90

2012 CFN Preseason Ranking: 9
2011 Final Season Ranking: 21
2011 CFN Final Score: 15.56
2010 Final Season Ranking: 69
2010 CFN Score: 7.26
2009 Final Season Ranking: 30
2009 Final Score: 13.76
2008 Final Season Ranking: 14
2008 Final Score: 16.92
Key Stat: The Dawgs finished second in the nation in passing efficiency.

Unfortunately, the season will be remembered more for what didn't happen than for what did. Five yards away from playing for the national title, Georgia just missed against Alabama but went on to bomb away on Nebraska in the Capital One Bowl to close out what would normally be considered a phenomenal year. The win over Florida was among the best by any team all season long, but until the win over the Huskers, that was about it. The only other wins of note came against Vanderbilt and Tennessee, getting blown away by South Carolina and missing LSU and Texas A&M from the West.

13. LSU (13-1) 2012 CFN Score: 19.36

2012 CFN Preseason Ranking: 2
2011 Final Season Ranking: 1
2011 CFN Final Score: 29.60
2010 Final Season Ranking: 12
2010 CFN Score: 19.09
2009 Final Season Ranking: 27
2009 Final Score: 14.06
2008 Final Season Ranking: 40
2008 Final Score: 12.25
Key Stat: The Tigers were fifth in the nation in turnover margin.
This wasn't the 2011 team, but it still came within a last gasp Alabama touchdown drive of playing for the SEC championship and a shot at the national title. With Clemson also pulling out a win with a scoring drive in the final seconds, and with a 14-6 loss at Florida, the Tigers weren't that far off from being truly special. Beating South Carolina and Texas A&M in back-to-back weeks after the slugfest in Gainesville proved the team could play with anyone in the nation, but that wasn't really in question. 

39. Vanderbilt (9-4) 2012 CFN Score: 12.91

2012 CFN Preseason Ranking: 51
2011 Final Season Ranking: 73
2011 CFN Final Score: 7.12
2010 Final Season Ranking: 111
2010 CFN Score: -1.04
2010 CFN Preseason Rank: 64
2009 Final Season Ranking: 106
2009 Final Score: 1.08
2008 Final Season Ranking: 43
2008 Final Score: 11.48
Key Stat: Vandy was sixth in the nation in pass efficiency defense.

James Franklin was right. One of the hottest head coaches in college football, Franklin has been a true believer from the start, and he proved that it really was possible to win at Vanderbilt, helped by a strong pass defense that was able to keep scores low and an offense that found ways to get by. After a rocky 2-4 start, everything came into place as the schedule eased up, winning the final seven games of the season including a convincing bowl victory over NC State. Five of the last six wins were by double digits.

55. Mississippi State (8-5) 2012 CFN Score: 9.92

2012 CFN Preseason Ranking: 25
2011 Final Season Ranking: 55
2011 CFN Final Score: 9.27
2010 Final Season Ranking: 33
2010 CFN Score: 12.88 
2009 Final Season Ranking: 62
2009 Final Score: 9.28
2008 Final Season Ranking: 91
2008 Final Score: 4.20
Key Stat: The Bulldogs were fifth in the nation and first in the SEC in turnover margin.

It was a tale of two season. The first half of the year was fun and easy with no games against bowl bound teams over a seven-game winning streak, and then came Alabama, Texas A&M and LSU to drop reality on the Bulldogs like a hammer. Losing the Egg Bowl to Ole Miss was awful, and struggling in a bowl loss to Northwestern was hardly a plus for a team that failed to beat anyone with a pulse. Again, 0-5 against bowl teams, 8-0 against those who stayed home.

64. Ole Miss (7-6) 2012 CFN Score: 8.79

2012 CFN Preseason Ranking: 59
2011 Final Season Ranking: 108
2011 CFN Final Score: 0.75
2010 Final Season Ranking: 98
2010 CFN Score: 2.03
2010 CFN Preseason Rank: 25
2009 Final Season Ranking: 25
2009 Final Score: 14.48
2008 Final Season Ranking: 15
2008 Final Score: 16.89
Key Stat: Ole Miss finished fourth in the nation in tackles for loss and 11th in sacks.

Hugh Freeze breathed new life into the program helped by a great finish. Blowing away Mississippi State was nice, but having no problems with Pitt in the bowl game put a terrific cap on a winning season. There might not have been many impressive SEC wins with Auburn and Arkansas having so many problems, but the Rebels beat the mediocre teams they needed to with an aggressive defense and a fun offense that came up with a nice balance. However, before the win over MSU, Ole Miss was 0-6 against bowl teams.

67. Missouri (5-7) 2012 CFN Score: 7.85

2012 CFN Preseason Ranking: 17
2011 Final Season Ranking: 34
2011 CFN Final Score: 12.58
2010 Final Season Ranking: 14
2010 CFN Score: 19.06 
2009 Final Season Ranking: 46
2009 Final Score: 11.59
2008 Final Season Ranking: 16
2008 Final Score: 16.81
Key Stat: The Tigers finished 12th in the nation in total offense in 2011 and 96th in 2012.

Even with the move to the SEC, Mizzou was supposed to be a player with decent athletes across the board and a good-looking offense that just needed James Franklin to stay healthy. He didn't, there wasn't much of a passing game, and the Tigers turned out to be a major disappointment in Welcome To Grown Man Football blowout losses to Georgia and South Carolina. Even with the problems, there were still chances to become bowl eligible needing to just win one of the final two games, but a home loss to Syracuse and a blowout to Texas A&M ended that.

75. Tennessee (5-7) 2012 CFN Score: 6.73

2012 CFN Preseason Ranking: 30
2011 Final Season Ranking: 77
2011 CFN Final Score: 6.40
2010 Final Season Ranking: 72
2010 CFN Score: 6.46
2010 CFN Preseason Rank: 42
2009 Final Season Ranking: 39
2009 Final Score: 12.21
2008 Final Season Ranking: 66
2008 Final Score: 6.99
Key Stat: The Vols were fifth in the nation in sacks allowed.

Tennessee can't be blamed for the first part of its schedule, going 3-5 with losses to Florida, Georgia, Mississippi State, Alabama and South Carolina all more than reasonable. However, a four overtime loss to Missouri at home and a 41-18 blowout against Vanderbilt weren't okay, ultimately costing Derek Dooley his job. Butch Jones will have to deal with some massive personnel losses, and from here on, losing to the better SEC teams won't be acceptable.

88. Arkansas (4-8) 2012 CFN Score: 20.24

2012 CFN Preseason Ranking: 13
2011 Final Season Ranking: 10
2011 CFN Final Score: 20.24
2010 Final Season Ranking: 17
2010 CFN Score: 17.47 
2009 Final Season Ranking: 28
2009 Final Score: 14.04
2008 Final Season Ranking: 72
2008 Final Score: 6.56
Key Stat: The Hogs were 122nd in the nation in turnover margin.

The writing was on the wall in the offseason when Bobby Petrino got in trouble and got canned, and the team failed to rise up to the occasion under John L. Smith. Despite the problems in a 1-4 start - bottoming out in an overtime loss to ULM - the team kept fighting and battling, beating Auburn and Kentucky when the defense came up with two of its best performances of the year. Just when it seemed like the team was turning things around winning three games in four weeks, the schedule got nasty again and the Hogs lost three straight. Arkansas finished 104th in the nation in rushing, but that should change with the arrival of Bret Bielema.

92. Auburn (3-9)  2012 CFN Score: 3.59

2012 CFN Preseason Ranking: 40
2011 Final Season Ranking: 29
2011 CFN Final Score: 13.70
2010 CFN Score: 27.15 
2009 Final Season Ranking: 33
2009 Final Score: 13.12
2008 Final Season Ranking: 81
2008 Final Score: 5.34
Key Stat: The Tigers averaged just 305 yards per game.

No one expected Auburn to challenge for the SEC title in what was supposed to be a rebuilding year, but this was an epic disaster. A 1-7 start - with the lone win coming in overtime against ULM - the team struggled from the start. While there were two November wins over New Mexico State and Alabama A&M, the lack of offensive punch meant a stunning end to the Gene Chizik era, just two years removed from winning a national title. Gus Malzahn has a ton of young talent to work with, but it's going to take a ton of work to battle back into contention in the West.

100. Kentucky (2-10) 2012 CFN Score: 2.35

2012 CFN Preseason Ranking: 66
2011 Final Season Ranking: 85
2011 CFN Final Score: 5.11
2010 Final Season Ranking: 70
2010 CFN Score: 7.08
2010 CFN Preseason Rank: 46
2009 Final Season Ranking: 55
2009 Final Score: 9.73
2008 Final Season Ranking: 57
2008 Final Score: 8.94
Key Stat: UK was 114th in the nation in total offense in 2011 and 113th in 2012.

The offense never improved in a disastrous season that meant the end of the Joker Phillips coaching term and brought in Mark Stoops. UK blew out Kent State early on, which didn't seem like a big deal at the time, but turned out to be a terrific win. Unfortunately, that was the highlight with the only other victory coming against Samford. It's not just that the Cats lost ten games; they weren't even close against anyone but WKU and Georgia.