We have just two more weeks left in the 2023 college football regular season, and as far as the SEC goes, there isn’t much intrigue left anymore.
Both divisions were locked up on Saturday with Alabama clinching the West by beating Kentucky on the road, while Georgia sealed its fate in the East with a blowout win over Ole Miss as well as a Tennessee loss against Missouri.
While LSU’s hopes of returning to Atlanta were over, that didn’t stop the Tigers from delivering a prolific offensive performance in a win over Florida in which Jayden Daniels made college football history.
As we approach the end of the season, here’s how our SEC power rankings look after Week 11.
Vanderbilt Commodores (2-9, 0-7 SEC)
Saturday’s game at South Carolina seemed like the last real chance for the Commodores to pick up an SEC win, but they were instead blown out 47-6, and now a game against Tennessee is their only hope of avoiding an 0-8 finish in league play. After taking tremendous strides in 2022, it’s been a very disappointing season in Nashville.
Arkansas Razorbacks (3-7, 1-6 SEC)
The change at offensive coordinator seemed to make a big difference for the Razorbacks in the win over Florida, but all that momentum was lost in a 48-10 loss at home against Auburn. That defeat wiped away any chance of backdooring into a bowl game, and Sam Pittman will find himself under quite a bit of pressure in 2024 if he manages to weather the storm.
Mississippi State Bulldogs (4-6, 1-6 SEC)
After a 51-10 loss at Texas A&M, Mississippi State made the surprising decision to fire coach Zach Arnett midway through Year 1 just 11 games into his tenure. Arnett took over an impossible situation following the tragic death of Mike Leach last season, and as a defensive guy with no air raid ties, he tried to change the system this year. Those changes haven’t worked out, and the Bulldogs will now be heading in a different direction once again.
South Carolina Gamecocks (4-6, 2-5 SEC)
It’s been a disappointing season overall for South Carolina, but not disappointing enough that it couldn’t take care of business at home against Vanderbilt. The Gamecocks need to win their final two against Kentucky at home and Clemson on the road to avoid missing a bowl game in a year that began with some SEC East dark horse hype.
Auburn Tigers (6-4, 3-4 SEC)
Hugh Freeze is quietly having a solid Year 1 at Auburn. The Tigers offense, which had been abysmal earlier in the season, has made some progress with Payton Thorne down the stretch. After the blowout win over Arkansas, Auburn draws a New Mexico State team in the midst of one of the best seasons in program history. If it wins that game, it will go into the Iron Bowl playing with house money. I think every Auburn fan reading this would have taken 7-5 as the worst-case scenario before the season.
Florida Gators (5-5, 3-4 SEC)
Earlier in the season, Florida’s defense looked strong while the offense was a liability. In SEC play, that script has completely flipped. Graham Mertz has turned out to be a revelation this season, and the Gators are moving the ball and scoring effectively. But they can’t stop anything right now, and after the worst defensive performance in program history Saturday night, it’s hard to find much of a reason for optimism around Billy Napier at the moment. Now, UF has to win one of its last two against Missouri and Florida State to reach a bowl.
Kentucky Wildcats (6-4, 3-4 SEC)
It looked like we could be heading for a very good Kentucky season after the 5-0 start and another win over Florida, but the Wildcats have struggled a lot since hitting the meat of their schedule, dropping four of the last five. They were no match for Alabama, and games to close the year against South Carolina and rival Louisville, which currently ranks in the top 10, could be tricky to say the least.
Texas A&M Aggies (6-4, 4-3 SEC)
The Aggies beat Mississippi State 51-10 with a third-string quarterback on Saturday, but that wasn’t enough to keep the program from clipping coach Jimbo Fisher midseason and eating his $76 million buyout. Texas A&M is far from a bad team, but it’s looking at a 7-5 finish if it can’t upset LSU again. After missing a bowl in 2022, that just wasn’t enough.
Tennnessee Volunteers (7-3, 3-3 SEC)
The Volunteers offense has taken a step back in 2023, but prior to Saturday, the vibes in Knoxville were pretty good. A blowout loss to Missouri definitely put a damper on things, though, and it’s especially bad ahead of what’s likely to be an ugly game on Tennessee’s home field against Georgia on Saturday. This just hasn’t been the season Vols fans hoped for.
Ole Miss Rebels (8-2, 5-2 SEC)
Ole Miss was simply no match for the Bulldogs in a 52-17 loss in Athens on Saturday night. Lane Kiffin’s teams continue to struggle in marquee games, and a season that had quite a bit of optimism after the LSU win has become a lot more bleak after the team was embarrassed in losses to Georgia and Alabama.
Missouri Tigers (8-2, 4-2 SEC)
Eli Drinkwitz continues to boast one of 2023’s most impressive coaching jobs. He entered the year possibly on the hot seat but now has his Tigers team poised to finish 10-2 if it can win games it’s favored in these last two weeks. This team has legit SEC talent out wide, and Cody Schrader is one of the best running backs in the entire country.
LSU Tigers (7-3, 5-2 SEC)
Saturday’s game felt like a microcosm of the entire season for LSU. Daniels did something no college football quarterback has done before, throwing for more than 350 yards and rushing for more than 200 in the same game. In spite of that, LSU’s defense struggled so much against Florida that the game was in doubt for much of its duration. The Tigers have the offense to compete with anyone, but it feels like this would be a legit title contender with a defense that was any better than horrific.
Alabama Crimson Tide (9-1, 7-0 SEC)
Despite struggles early in the year, this Alabama team seems to be rounding into its usual Death Star form with Jalen Milroe starting to look like a true weapon at quarterback. Barring an Iron Bowl upset, the Crimson Tide will have the chance to secure a playoff spot if it can hand Georgia its first loss in two years
Georgia Bulldogs (10-0, 7-0 SEC)
Oh, dear. They’re doing it again. Georgia looked like it had taken a significant step back earlier in the year, but no one managed to knock it off its pedestal. Now, this team is hitting its highest gear as the regular season winds to a close. The Alabama game will decide whether this team returns to the CFP, but with a win, it would be hard to pick against the Bulldogs.