Now that the college football season has come to what most people in Tuscaloosa would describe as a most unsatisfying end, and a few days have passed to digest the ashes and bitter gall, it’s time for the final SEC Power 10 Poll. Usually, our weekly ranking of the league’s football teams is part of a Saturday preview package but since there are approximately 32 Saturdays to go, we will wrap it up here.

One note: this is an evaluation of 2018, not a prediction for 2019. All SEC fan bases are convinced that the upcoming year is finally “their year” and there is no sense in disillusioning anyone before Valentine’s Day.

Anyway, the rankings:

1. Alabama (14-1) Won the SEC title and a College Football Playoff semifinal and set all sorts of offensive records on the way, so you couldn’t rank anyone else at the top. It’s a good way to go out since, after the loss to Clemson, the program will be dismantled and a nice shopping center is planned for the Bryant-Denny Stadium site. Maybe we will get a Trader Joe’s. Seriously, Alabama is not dropping football, regardless of what you might hear.

2. Georgia (11-3) — Ended the season on a two-game losing streak and while their bowl-game stakes weren’t as high as Alabama’s, the loss to Texas — after much laughing at Notre Dame for a bad playoff performance — would humble some fan bases. Not Georgia’s, of course, but some. Also, I hope they are letting Uga The Bulldog have roast beef every day as Bevo revenge.

3. Florida (10-3) — Beat FSU. Beat Michigan. Not too far from the second- best year in the league.

4. Texas A&M (9-4) — Bonus point for playing tough against Clemson.

5. LSU (10-3) — Alabama fans should have known that the Crimson Tide championship dreams were in trouble when LSU shut up Central Florida’s yapping. Because LSU would never do Alabama a favor.

6. Kentucky (10-3) — This was the best Wildcat team since the 1970s, capped off by drubbing Penn State.

7. Auburn (8-5) — For a program that was looking to fire its head coach a month ago, it’s amazing how a 56-point first half against Purdue (and an Alabama loss) calmed the waters.

8. Mississippi State (8-5) — Does it seem like MSU should have been better than 8-5? Like 10-3 or something? It does to me.

9. Missouri (8-5) — Maybe this was all they could squeeze out out of Drew Lock’s senior season. The Tigers’ bowl loss was a true down note at the end…

10. South Carolina (7-6) — …but nowhere near the down note that getting dragged by Virginia must have been.

11. Vanderbilt (6-7) — Beat Tennessee. Made it to a bowl. So decent year.

12. Ole Miss (5-7) — This might have been the best it’s going to be for a while.

13. Tennessee (5-7) — The fan base seems OK with Jeremy Pruitt after year one, although the Vols were wildly inconsistent.

14. Arkansas (2-10) — In time, the only memory that will survive from this Arkansas season will be that fake fair catch punt return that North Texas pulled out of the hat.

Reach Cecil Hurt at cecil@tidesports.com or 205-722-0225.

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