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2013 CFN Final SEC Rankings & Roundup
Posted Jan 13, 2014

Recapping, analyzing and grading the 2013 SEC season.

CFN 2013 Final Season Rankings | The Top Ten
11 to 25 | 26 to 50 | 51 to 75 | 76 to 100 | Bottom 25
By Conference ACC | AAC | Big Ten | Big 12 | C-USA
Independents | MAC | M-West | Pac-12 | SEC | Sun Belt

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.

Remember, these rankings are based on how good the seasons were overall, and NOT based on how good the team might have been. Number next to team is the final overall season ranking.

2. South Carolina (11-2)
2013 CFN Season Score: 23.89
2013 CFN Preview Preseason Ranking: 15
2012 CFN Season Ranking: 9

Who says non-conference games don’t really matter? Beat great teams and you get rewarded, but wait a minute. Weren’t the losses to Georgia and Tennessee a big deal? Didn’t Missouri win the SEC East? Didn’t Auburn win the SEC championship and play for the national title? Sort of, yes and yes, but South Carolina holds the distinction of having the highest elite win score, beating UCF at UCF, Missouri on the road and Clemson in the regular season finale. A ten-point Capital One Bowl win over Wisconsin helped the cause – which, by the way, was the first double-digit loss by the Badgers since a 34-24 defeat to Michigan State in early October of 2010 - and beating North Carolina and Mississippi State helped, but no one had three better wins on their slate than what the Gamecocks came up with.

3. Auburn (12-2)
2013 CFN Season Score: 23.68
2013 CFN Preview Preseason Ranking: 40
2012 CFN Season Ranking: 92

The Tigers finished up needing just one last stop to win a second national title in four years, but considering they finished 92nd in last year’s rankings, and no one thought there’d be any shot at the SEC West title much less the BCS championship, the Florida State game was gravy. The year will be remembers more for the miracle against Georgia and the Chris Davis play in the greatest Iron Bowl ever, and it’ll be remembered for an unstoppable offense that ripped and rolled through Missouri for an SEC championship. The loss to LSU didn’t matter, and while there were close calls against Washington State, Mississippi State and Texas A&M, it still all came down to one last drive. After going 3-9 in 2012, that’s not bad.

5. Missouri (12-2)
2013 CFN Season Score: 23.11
2013 CFN Preview Preseason Ranking: 24
2012 CFN Season Ranking: 67

It might sting that a win over Auburn in the SEC championship would’ve meant a trip to the BCS championship, and it was a slap in the face to not get a BCS at-large spot, but beating Oklahoma State in the Cotton Bowl was a nice way to cap off one of the greatest seasons in school history. The seven quality wins were outstanding, and there were just two bad wins for a team that wasn’t supposed to compete for the East title, much less win the division, and even though the defense couldn’t come up with an answer for Auburn, the offense finished the year with 41 points or more in eight games.

9. Alabama (11-2)
2013 CFN Season Score: 20.50
2013 CFN Preview Preseason Ranking: 1
2012 CFN Season Ranking: 1

Everything came apart with just one bad special teams play. The Crimson Tide would’ve ended up playing Florida State in the BCS championship – if they could’ve gotten past Mizzou – had they stopped Chris Davis! Davis!! Davis!!!, the quest for a third straight national title will be remembered more for the meltdown in the Iron Bowl and the loss to Oklahoma in the Sugar. Along the way, though, this was another great season, winning in workmanlike fashion with six quality wins and lots and lots of blowouts. However, there weren’t any elite wins and the defense had problems against Texas A&M. Between Manziel and Auburn, though, was a nine-game run of pure domination allowing just 50 points over the span.

19. LSU (10-3)
2013 CFN Season Score: 17.06
2013 CFN Preview Preseason Ranking: 4
2012 CFN Season Ranking: 13

The team never quite played up to its talent level, and the team wasn’t in the hunt for the national title like it should’ve been with the improved passing game, but winning ten games and taking the Outback Bowl is still a success. LSU not only beat Auburn, but it won by 14 doing a better job than anyone of keeping the high-powered attack in check. A sleepy start proved costly against Ole Miss, but the only other losses came on the road against a jacked up Alabama and in a wild and fun firefight against Georgia. The Tigers blew away Texas A&M and came up with strong wins over Mississippi State, Florida – when it was still alive – and Iowa, but it wasn’t a BCS season.

22. Texas A&M (9-4)
2013 CFN Season Score: 16.25
2013 CFN Preview Preseason Ranking: 6
2012 CFN Season Ranking: 5

Offense & Johnny Manziel: phenomenal. Defense: miserable. The two sort of went hand-in-hand, with the defense playing so poorly that Manziel had to come up with heroics time and again. It all worked out well in the epic Chick-fil-A Bowl win over Duke, and there were some thrilling moments against Ole Miss and Mississippi State, but Manziel got dinged up and A&M didn’t have much of a shot late in the regular season. The O ended up scoring 41 points or more in every game but two – LSU and Mizzou – and put up 50 or more six times. The four losses came to all the Tiger teams – Auburn in the mix – and in the classic shootout against Alabama. That’s not bad.

29. Georgia (8-5)
2013 CFN Season Score: 14.87
2013 CFN Preview Preseason Ranking: 7
2012 CFN Season Ranking: 11

Injuries, injuries and more injuries. The story of the season was a beaten up team that tried its best, but didn’t have the personnel in losses to Missouri, Vanderbilt and Auburn. The Dawgs came within a miraculous pass against the Tigers of changing up the course of the college football season, but they still ended up with a decent season for almost anyone else. For a team with national title aspirations, though, losing the Gator Bowl to Nebraska wasn’t the way the plan was supposed to go.

36. Ole Miss (8-5)
2013 CFN Season Score: 13.44
2013 CFN Preview Preseason Ranking: 22
2012 CFN Season Ranking: 64

Give the Rebels credit for surviving and thriving against a brutal five half schedule, having to start out on the road at Vanderbilt, Texas, Alabama and Auburn in the first five games, and following that up with Texas A&M and LSU at home. Yes, they took advantage of the easier second half schedule, and yes, they lost to Mississippi State and Missouri, but they came up with wins over Texas and Vandy, and they close out strong with a Music City win over Georgia Tech. The highlight of the year, though, was getting by LSU in the middle of the season 27-24. That not only stopped a three-game losing streak, but it showed how good the Rebels really were despite the brutal slate.

46. Vanderbilt (9-4)
2013 CFN Season Score: 11.90
2013 CFN Preview Preseason Ranking: 32
2012 CFN Season Ranking: 39

Before going off to Penn State, James Franklin left Vanderbilt with a terrific nine-win season and a bowl win over Houston, ripping through the Cougars in the BBVA Compass Bowl 41-24. The Commodores won their final five games and six of the last seven, with the four losses coming in a thrilling opening night shootout over Ole Miss, South Carolina, Missouri and at Texas A&M – that’s not bad. However, there were only two quality wins – Georgia and Houston – and a horrible non-conference schedule – Austin Peay, UMass, UAB – kept the final ranking from being higher.

53. Mississippi State (7-6)
2013 CFN Season Score: 11.15
2013 CFN Preview Preseason Ranking: 25
2012 CFN Season Ranking: 55

It might not have been the big breakthrough season under Dan Mullen as expected or hoped for, and there might have been problems late in the year, but closing out with three straight wins including a huge victory over Ole Miss and a blowout over Rice in the Liberty Bowl changed the dynamic. Once again, outside of beating the Rebels, MSU beat the teams it was supposed to, and lost to the ones it was supposed to. How’s this for the six losses? Oklahoma State, Auburn, LSU, South Carolina, Texas A&M, Alabama.

72. Tennessee (5-7)
2013 CFN Season Score: 8.30
2013 CFN Preview Preseason Ranking: 35
2012 CFN Season Ranking:75

For all of the positives and all of the good things that happened under head coach Butch Jones, it was still a losing season. The win over South Carolina was the highlight of the year, but that was followed up by four straight losses. How nasty was the Vol schedule? Along with facing the Gamecocks, there were games against Oregon, Alabama, Missouri and Auburn. Beating Austin Peay to start the year and Kentucky to close out wasn’t impressive.

91. Florida (4-8)
2013 CFN Season Score: 3.81
2013 CFN Preview Preseason Ranking: 10
2012 CFN Season Ranking: 6

Easily the biggest disaster of the 2013 season, the Gators finished last year within a heartbeat of playing for the national title, but a horrific array of injuries were too much to overcome after starting out 4-1 and giving away that one loss to Miami. Will Muschamp’s job is now on the line after losing seven straight to close things out, hitting rock bottom with a home loss to Georgia Southern. However, the losses to Georgia and South Carolina were by a total of eight points, and the D kept the season alive at times, but the depleted offense couldn’t do anything big when needed.

95. Arkansas (3-9)
2013 CFN Season Score: 3.29
2013 CFN Preview Preseason Ranking: 46
2012 CFN Season Ranking: 88

Bret Bielema stepped in and led the Hogs to a 3-0 start including a 20-point win over a good Louisiana-Lafayette team. It looked like it was going to be 4-0 with a commanding lead against Rutgers, but a gag loss sparked a nine-game losing streak to finish up the year. The offense sputtered, the defense struggled, and it things got worse and worse until a spark at the end. There’s hope – Bielema came close to getting his first SEC win in the finale against LSU, and the team battled hard in losses to Ole Miss and Mississippi State. Auburn was held to 35 points in early November.

102. Kentucky (2-10)
2013 CFN Season Score: 1.39
2013 CFN Preview Preseason Ranking: 57
2012 CFN Season Ranking: 100

Mark Stoops was able to come up with a win over a winless Miami University, and beat Alabama State, and … that’s about it. It wasn’t an easy slate with nasty games against Louisville, South Carolina, Alabama and Missouri, but there weren’t even any close calls with the exception of a 28-22 battle against Mississippi State. Was the season a dud because the Wildcats played in the SEC? Maybe, but there’s hope with a strong recruiting class on the way.

SEC Offensive Player of the Year
RB Tre Mason, Auburn – Yeah, most competent running backs would rock and roll in the Gus Malzahn offense, but Mason was the one who actually did it with a league leading 1,621 yards and 22 touchdowns highlighted by his 164-yard day against the supposedly impenetrable Alabama D and his Magnum Opus 304-yard, four touchdown performance against Missouri. Consistent, he hit the 100-yard mark in seven of his last eight games and scored a touchdown in every game except for the close call against Mississippi State.

SEC Defensive Player of the Year
LB C.J. Mosley, Alabama – Missouri’s Michael Sam comes close, but his pass rushing production slowed down in a big way over the second half of the season. Alabama might have been ripped up by Auburn, but Mosley did his part to clean up plenty of messes making a season-high 14 tackles for his fifth double-digit stop game of the year making 12 against Texas A&M and 12 against LSU. The peerless leader of the tremendous D, he was the tone-setter who anchored the front seven, even if it had problems in the Iron Bowl and against the Aggies.

3 Biggest Surprises … besides Auburn playing in the BCS championship and Missouri getting to the SEC title game
1. Vanderbilt getting to 8-4. The Commodores started the season 1-2, kicking off with a heartbreaker at home to Ole Miss. The team survived, helped by layups against Austin Peay, UMass and UAB, but reality was supposed to hit hard late in the year when quarterback Austyn Carta-Samuels got hurt. Instead, Vandy win their final four games and five of their last six, including a victory over Georgia. Fine, so most of the wins came against the painfully inept, but 8-4 is never anything to blow off for the program.
2. Tennessee 23, South Carolina 21. In the end, this is the game that really cost the Gamecocks the East title and a shot at Auburn for the SEC and national championship. South Carolina appeared to be on the way to getting out with a tough, hard fought win against the feisty Vols, but the defense couldn’t hold as UT QB Justin Worley found MarQuez North for a 39-yard completion on 3rd and ten, and Marlin Lane ran four times for 24 yards to set up a game-winning 19-yard Michael Palardy field goal as time ran out.
3. Okay, okay … Auburn and Missouri. There was a case to be made for Mizzou before the season with a healthier offensive front, strong skill players and an improved James Franklin, but no one could’ve possibly foreseen an SEC East title and a few defensive stops away from playing for the national title. Auburn had the potential to get a few breaks go its way to get to six wins and bowl eligibility, but the BCS championship? By far, this is the most shocking run to the national title in the BCS era.

3 Biggest Disappointments
1. Injuries. Georgia was able to salvage an eight-win season with a good bowl bid despite losing a slew of key players to injury. Aaron Murray did what he could to keep the season going, but even he wasn’t immune suffering a season-ending knee injury. Could the Dawgs have won the East if fully healthy? At the very least, at full force they would’ve beaten Georgia and Auburn. Georgia’s injuries were bad, but Florida’s were worse. So you thought losing Jeff Driskel wouldn’t be that big a deal? The offense went into the tank, and the defense couldn’t pick up the slack, especially after losing top pro prospect Dominique Easley on the nose. After a 4-1 start, the Gators dropped seven in a row, bottoming out in a home loss to Georgia Southern.
2. Arkansas. It’s like everyone in the West was having a party, but the Hogs weren’t invited. Starting with an ominous collapse against Rutgers that would’ve meant a 4-0 start in non-conference play, the rebuilding team under Bret Bielema struggled defensively against everyone in the SEC. While Auburn was shocking the world, and even Mississippi State was off to a bowl, Arkansas was everyone’s punching bag losing nine straight to close out the year. However, there was improvement, losing the last two games against MSU and LSU in dog fights.
3. The SEC hype – to a point. It’s the best conference in the country by far, right? There’s no questioning its status on top of the mountain, correct? If it’s the be-all-end-all, there shouldn’t be any problems and blowouts should be a given against the mediocre. Rutgers 28, Arkansas 24. Auburn needed to hold on for dear life at home against Washington State. Miami 21, Florida 16. Florida State 37, Florida 7. Georgia Southern 26, Florida 20. Clemson 38, Georgia 35. Western Kentucky 35, Kentucky 26. Louisville 27, Kentucky 13. Oklahoma State 21, Mississippi State 3. Mississippi State 21, Bowling Green 20. Oregon 59, Tennessee 14. Tennessee 31, South Alabama 24. Vanderbilt 23, Wake Forest 21.

Best SEC Game of the Season
Nov. 30. Auburn 34, Alabama 28
You could make a reasonable argument that Alabama’s 49-42 win over Texas A&M was close, and the Auburn miracle over Georgia was certainly close, but come on – there can be only one best game of the season, and it belongs among the greatest games in the history of college football. Even without the improbable finish, this still might have been the game of the year. Alabama came up with what seemed at the time like the defining play of the season with AJ McCarron connecting with Amari Cooper for a 99-yard touchdown for a 28-21 lead in the fourth quarter, but the D couldn’t hold as Nick Marshall found a wide open Sammie Coates for a 39-yard touchdown with just 32 seconds to play. Overtime was a certainty, but T.J. Yeldon managed to get out of bounds with just a fraction of a second left on the clock, and then … that.

Coach of the Year
1) Gus Malzahn, Auburn – The team matured at the right time, and Gene Chizik’s recruiting classes deserve recognition, but Malzahn did more than just fall into the right job at the right time. A bowl game would’ve made for a successful season, but this was obviously something special.
2) Gary Pinkel, Missouri – All of a sudden, Mizzou didn’t have a problem playing big boy football.
3) Mark Richt, Georgia – How many other teams could’ve come up with eight wins after so many massive injuries to key players?

Grading the SEC
Alabama: B … Alabama didn’t win the SEC West, it didn’t win the SEC championship, and it’s not going to win a national championship. Graded on a different scale, the Tide failed.

Arkansas: D+ … There’s hope. This is a young team that will get better in a hurry – it really will. Will it be the new Auburn? No, but it showed promise at the end of the year. Even so, 0-8 in the SEC and being the only team in the West without a bowl invite.

Auburn: A+ … Outside of beating LSU, what more could you have possibly asked for as an Auburn fan? No, there’s no Heisman, and it’s not going to be a perfect season like there was in 2010, but there’s no massive controversy, either.

Florida: D … Injuries and the schedule are legitimate excuses, but the Georgia Southern loss is unacceptable on every level. Going from the BCS to bowl-less means 2014 will be a hot seat season in every way.

Georgia: B- … The injuries were the storyline, but the Dawgs lost to Clemson to start the season when they were almost fully healthy. This was supposed to be a national title-caliber campaign, and the chances were there to get the job done. It didn’t happen.

Kentucky: D … The future is bright thanks to a strong recruiting class coming in, but this was the worst team in the league. Mark Stoops still has plenty of work to do.

LSU: B … The claim to fame will be the Auburn win, but 9-3 isn’t good enough for a team with national title aspirations. The defense was underwhelming, the offense sometimes needed a while to wake up – see: Ole Miss – and the SEC West was off the table in mid-October.

Mississippi State: C+ … The win over Ole Miss bailed out Dan Mullen and the program that’s having a hard time beating the big boys, but Bowling Green was the only other win of note. Two of the SEC wins – Kentucky and Arkansas – came against the dregs.

Missouri: A … in the end, the gaffe against South Carolina didn’t matter, and while the loss to Auburn might have been tremendously disappointing, it was a really, really good year for a program that few thought could hang in the rough and tough SEC.

Ole Miss: B … The loss to Mississippi State kept this from being a great season, but Hugh Freeze’s team was able to survive the schedule storm to go bowling. Losing to the archrival isn’t okay, but the other four losses came to Alabama, Auburn, Texas A&M and Missouri. No problems there.

South Carolina: B+ … It’s hard to argue with a ten-win season for a school that historically doesn’t come close to double digit victories, but the 11-point loss to Georgia and the hiccup against Tennessee were costly. Beating Missouri and Clemson was solid, though.

Tennessee: C … The Vols weren’t able to get bowling in Butch Jones’ first year, but he did managed to pull off a shocker against South Carolina. The losses were often fun and exciting, but it’s not okay to lose to Tennessee at home. The other six losses? Oregon, Florida, Alabama and Missouri – all on the road – and Georgia, Auburn and Vanderbilt at home. Yeesh.

Texas A&M: B- … Considering the hype and excitement, 8-4 comes across as a wee bit underwhelming. The Aggies fought hard against Alabama, and lost. They gave Auburn a dogfight until the very end, and lost. LSU was a blowout and Missouri was a loss. The best win came over Ole Miss – yippee.

Vanderbilt: B+ … An eight-win season in Nashville is an eight-win season in Nashville, but outside of the win over a banged up Georgia, the really strong win came against … ? The Commodores only beat one bowl bound team.

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