2013 Football Conference Review: SEC

Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

Bow down when the SEC comes to your town.

The SEC had a pretty wacky season but it was super fun. Will the Auburn Tigers be able to keep the SEC championship streak alive next month?

~~~

East Division

GEORGIA BULLDOGS

Predicted: 11-1 (7-1)

Actual: 8-4 (5-3)

This was supposed to be Aaron Murray's collegiate swan song instead it was something quite different. They did beat South Carolina which was a great bounce back to losing a close opener to Clemson. However, back-to-back losses to Missouri and Vanderbilt crippled their season. Murray also finished the season crippled with an injured knee.

Georgia will play Nebraska in the Gator Bowl.

SOUTH CAROLINA GAMECOCKS

Predicted: 10-2 (6-2)

Actual: 10-2 (6-2)

It has to be frustrating for Cocks fans these days. They are in line for a third straight 11-2 season--completely new heights for the program--and they have very little to show for it. One division title (hammered 56-17 in the SEC title game to eventual national champion Auburn), no conference titles, and not a single major bowl bid. Can you imagine winning 10 games for 3 straight years and not getting a BCS bid? I feel for ya'll South Carolina, I really do.

The Gamecocks will play Wisconsin in the Capital One Bowl.

FLORIDA GATORS

Predicted: 9-3 (6-2)

Actual: 4-8 (3-5)

Florida beat Toledo, and 3 SEC teams (Tennessee, Kentucky, Arkansas) that went 10-26 this season. That's it. 5 years removed from a national championship. The defense was there for the Gators--as it's Muschamp's baby--but that offense was beyond awful. They scored 20 or fewer points in 8 games, including the final 7 games which were all losses. I have a really hard time seeing a Muschamp-coached team turning this thing around on offense.

VANDERBILT COMMODORES

Predicted: 7-5 (3-5)

Actual: 8-4 (4-4)

If Vandy wins their bowl game it will be back-to-back 9-4 win seasons and there's no way James Franklin stays in Nashville much longer, right? There's nowhere to go but down now! 4 losses are the fewest since 1982 and let's be honest Florida and Georgia aren't going to be down at the same time all that often, to say nothing of Tennessee. Get out of town J-Frank!

Vanderbilt plays Houston in the Compass Bowl.

MISSOURI TIGERS

Predicted: 7-5 (3-5)

Actual: 11-2 (7-1)

Missouri came back from the dead. They said they couldn't compete in the SEC after a 5-7 inaugural effort but then came super close to playing for the national championship this season. Well done, Tigers. So I guess this means Gary Pinkel's job is safe for a while too? The bad thing about the SEC is that you have to turn around the next year and you might not miss LSU, Alabama, and A&M in the same season again.

Missouri plays Oklahoma State in the Cotton Bowl.

TENNESSEE VOLUNTEERS

Predicted: 5-7 (2-6)

Actual: 5-7 (2-6)

Butch Jones has been recruiting really well and that's masked the fact that the Vols weren't very good this year but it was to be expected. It's now been 6 straight seasons without winning at least 8 games for Tennessee. Isn't that crazy? How long ago do the Phil Fullmer days feel now?

KENTUCKY WILDCATS

Predicted: 4-8 (1-7)

Actual: 2-10 (0-8)

Joker Phillips was fired last season after finishing with a 2-10 mark and new head coach posted the same record this fall. Kentucky feels a lot like Tennessee with improved recruiting but the results haven't changed on the field yet. It wasn't that long ago the Cats had 4 straight winning seasons. Can Stoops get back to that level in the next year or two?

~

West Division

ALABAMA CRIMSON TIDE

Predicted: 12-0 (8-0)

Actual: 11-1 (7-1)

Ah, the frustration of losing one game at the wrong time. With a win in their bowl game it'll be another 1-loss season for the Tide with last year ending in a national championship and this year not. At the moment Alabama is 36-3 over the past 3 seasons. Yeah, that's okay.

The Crimson Tide will play Oklahoma in the Sugar Bowl.

TEXAS A&M AGGIES

Predicted: 10-2 (6-2)

Actual: 8-4 (4-4)

The Johnny Football Era at A&M didn't exactly crash and burn but it didn't end on much of a high note. There were definitely some offensive fireworks but the Aggies gave up 9.1 more points per game than last year and ended up losing every game they played against a ranked team this season. It'll be very interesting to see Year 3 of the Sumlin era without Manziel at quarterback.

A&M plays Duke in the Chick-fil-A Bowl.

OLE MISS REBELS

Predicted: 8-4 (5-3)

Actual: 7-5 (3-5)

Huge Freeze won 7 games last year and he's reached that mark again this season. Not a bad start to his career at Ole Miss. The season ending loss to rival Miss State stings quite a bit though. A win there could have set up a 9 win season and a ton of momentum going into 2014.

Ole Miss will play Georgia Tech in the Music City Bowl.

LSU TIGERS

Predicted: 8-4 (4-4)

Actual: 9-3 (5-3)

LSU gave up 22.7 points per game this season, their most since 2008. It was a rebuilding year on that side of the ball and it prevented the Tigers from being an elite team in the competitive SEC West. You know what's going to make LSU fans feel a whole lot better? The recruiting class they are about to sign.

The Tigers will play Iowa in the Outback Bowl.

AUBURN TIGERS

Predicted: 6-6 (2-6)

Actual: 12-1 (7-1)

Come on, I predicted a solid 3-game improvement in the first year under Gus Malzahn and I still looked ridiculous. Auburn went from 0-6 against ranked teams last year (that's a heck of a schedule) to 4-1 this season. If this team wins the national championship it will be the most insane turn around in years.

The Tigers will play Florida State in the BCS National Championship Game.

ARKANSAS RAZORBACKS

Predicted: 5-7 (1-7)

Actual: 3-9 (0-8)

"Oof," might be an appropriate word to describe Bret Bielema's first season in Fayetteville. It was the school's first winless season in conference play in over 70 years. So that's pretty much a historic low for the Hogs. You have to think Bielema is going to turn things around to a degree but I bet he'll regret leaving Wisconsin for this job over the long-term.

MISSISSIPPI STATE BULLDOGS

Predicted: 4-8 (1-7)

Actual: 6-6 (3-5)

What more can Dan Mullen do at this school? He's been fourth or fifth in the division in each of his 5 seasons at Miss State. Will he be fired? Does he hang around for another 5 years? It kind of feels like the Bulldogs are stuck in neutral but at the same time Mullen is still doing good things.

The Bulldogs will play Rice in the Liberty Bowl.

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