Ole Miss' strong finish moves the Rebels up a spot, and Florida drops after its loss. Here's a look at the SEC Power Rankings at the regular season's conclusion:
1. Alabama (11-1): It might not have been as smooth and easy as some would have liked, but the Crimson Tide nevertheless did what they had to do and beat Auburn 29-13 to secure the SEC West and earn a spot in the conference title game. Alabama is a victory away from a second consecutive College Football Playoff berth.
2. Ole Miss (9-3): This group had hopes of winning the SEC West and making a run at the playoff, but losses to Memphis and in a wild overtime against Arkansas ended that. Still, winning a second consecutive Egg Bowl is a nice achievement to cap off a good season in Oxford, one in which the Rebels beat Alabama for a second consecutive time. An appealing bowl berth probably awaits.
3. Florida (10-2): The Gators' offensive ineptitude of late caught up with them Saturday in a 27-2 loss to Florida State. The SEC East champs look vulnerable; any outside shot of sneaking into the College Football Playoff is gone, and having to turn around and face Alabama's defense in the SEC championship game doesn't look inviting. Losing quarterback Will Grier to suspension was a blow: Backup Treon Harris has struggled down the stretch.
4. Mississippi State (8-4): The Bulldogs took one on the chin Saturday via a 38-27 loss to Ole Miss to conclude an otherwise solid season. Picked last in the SEC West in the preseason, the Bulldogs finished 4-4 in league play. Life after Dak Prescott begins soon. He and this senior class accounted for 33 wins, one of the best classes in program history.
5. Arkansas (7-5): A 28-3 win over Missouri on Friday secured a winning SEC season (5-3) for the Razorbacks, a first since 2011. The Hogs, who were last in the SEC West in 2014, finished tied with LSU for third place. It's a nice step forward for Bret Bielema & Co. in the regime's third year at the helm.
6. LSU (8-3): He was gone until he wasn't. It appears Les Miles will remain LSU's coach after athletic director Joe Alleva followed a 19-7 win over Texas A&M with his announcement on Miles' future. The Tigers pulling out a victory after all the drama surrounding their head coach throughout the week is admirable, but a step forward still needs to be taken. LSU is tied for third in the SEC West. Tigers fans understandably want to be contending for titles.
7. Tennessee (8-4): The Volunteers blew out Vanderbilt 53-28 and finished the season with five straight wins. Real progress is happening in Knoxville. Tennessee tied for second in the SEC East, its highest finish since 2009. The program has improved each year under Butch Jones.
8. Georgia (9-3): After a 13-7 victory over Georgia Tech gave the Bulldogs nine wins and a four-game winning streak to close out the season, is it enough for Mark Richt to continue as head coach? Time will tell. An injury to Nick Chubb at midseason hurt, and fans can't help but be a little disappointed after Georgia, a popular preseason pick to win the SEC East, finished tied for second in the division.
9. Texas A&M (8-4): Saturday's loss to LSU leaves the Aggies tied for fifth in the SEC West after an up-and-down regular season. Defensively, the Aggies took a step forward. Offensively, they took a significant step back. They totaled only two offensive touchdowns against their three best opponents (Alabama, LSU, Ole Miss). With a favorable schedule (only three true road games), a better season result should have been expected.
10. Auburn (6-6): The Tigers put up a solid fight but Alabama was too much for them Saturday. It closes the book on a rough season, one that fell well below expectations. The Tigers finished last in the SEC West (2-6 in conference play) after being a popular preseason pick to win the division. Quarterback changes and defensive struggles were the biggest issues.
11. Kentucky (5-7): For the second consecutive season, Kentucky came up a win short of bowl eligibility. After starting 4-1, the Wildcats closed out the season losing six of their last seven games. Saturday's loss to Louisville is particularly gut-wrenching because Kentucky led 21-0 in the first quarter and 24-7 at halftime only to see the Cardinals roll up 31 second-half points in their 38-24 comeback win.
12. Vanderbilt (4-8): The Commodores closed out the season with consecutive double-digit losses (25-0 to Texas A&M and 53-28 to Tennessee on Saturday). It's a rough end to a season that did signal some progress for the program in Derek Mason's second year. The defense was solid in most SEC games until Saturday. The offense has a long way to go.
13. Missouri (5-7): It wasn't the way Gary Pinkel probably envisioned his final season going, but this year was a mess for Mizzou. The Tigers were dismal offensively all season. They lost quarterback Maty Mauk to suspension down the stretch and went from first in the SEC East in 2014 to the cellar in 2015 with only one league win. Friday's loss to Arkansas mercifully ended the season.
14. South Carolina (3-9): It has been a while since the Gamecocks have entered an offseason like this -- without a head coach and having lost to Clemson with no bowl game on tap. They put together a strong effort against No. 1 Clemson but ultimately fell short 37-32 to put an end to a nightmarish season.