Originally we had intended the C&M Poll to wrap up last week, but a minor... uhm, hiccup?... Friday pushed this last part out to this week. The staff voted on divisional rankings for the East and West, and the favorites probably aren’t all that surprising. The team’s average votes are placed in parentheses.
1. Georgia (1.00)
2. South Carolina (2.57)
3. Florida (3.14)
4. Missouri (3.42)
5. Tennessee (5.00)
6. Kentucky (6.14)
7. Vanderbilt (6.71)
As expected, the East favorite is Georgia, and it isn’t even all that close as they received all seven first place votes. That’s not to say Georgia is flawless, mind you, but there is not clear favorite in the East to usurp them.
Behind the Dogs (sorry, I can spell), a group of South Carolina, Florida, and Missouri all received second place votes. While South Carolina looks like the most complete team of the three, you can never count out Florida’s talent, especially now that they have a coach that might be able to utilize it, and Missouri might have one of the most explosive offense in the country this year. As we’ve mentioned already, Drew Lock has a cannon of an arm, and if last year is any indication, they will be perfectly happy relying on him to throw for 400 yards per game.
Rounding out the bottom of the East is Tennessee, Kentucky, and Vandy. Sure, there are reasons you could get excited about each team (I think?), but more likely than not, these teams should be happy with getting to a bowl this year. In our voting, only Tennessee received a vote any higher than 5. Even if Tennessee were to be a decent quality team this year, the fact that they draw Alabama and at Auburn from the west, as well as going to Georgia and to South Carolina, may doom them.
1. Auburn (1.43)
2. Alabama (1.57)
3. Mississippi State (3.42)
4. LSU (3.86)
5. Texas A&M (5.00)
6. Arkansas (6.14)
7. Ole Miss (6.57)
Split right down the middle, Auburn barely edged out Alabama in our totally non-biased voting. Both teams received either first or second place votes, though, and it seems fairly expected that the West could come to the Iron Bowl for the third time in six years in the Gus/Saban rivalry. This would be the first time EVER, though, that the Iron Bowl would be a winner-take-all for the West in Tuscaloosa.
In a similarly close vote, Mississippi State barely edges out LSU for third in the division. Despite Joe Moorhead being a first time head coach at the FBS level, the roster he inherits is ripe for a big first season in the SEC. Nick Fitzgerald, along with one of the best front sevens in the country, will look to play spoiler to Alabama and Auburn, while trying to fend off Coach O and the Bayou Bengals.
In one of the more interesting positions is Texas A&M and Jimbo Fisher. Fisher won a national championship and made another playoff at FSU in the not so distant past, but he faced a lot of criticism for how he handled several situations at Florida State, from Jameis to the meltdown his team had early last season. Pairing him with an equally volatile (though EXTREMELY wealthy) program in Texas A&M left most of us unsure about what to expect out of College Station this year.
At the bottom of the division we have Arkansas and Ole Miss. While we KNOW Ole Miss won’t be in a bowl game this year (postseason bans will do that to ya), there is an outside shot for Arkansas. This would obviously require the Razorbacks to sweep their non-con schedule, which doesn’t have any Power 5 teams but does contain some solid programs from the G5. Arkansas does draw Vanderbilt from the East, though, so six wins isn’t out of the question.
Auburn (4 votes)
Alabama (2 votes)
Georgia (1 vote)
War Eagle, we’re winning the SEC. Four out of seven experts say so, so it must be fact.