Friday, February 4, 2011
Post-signing day rankings for 2011
By ESPN.com staff
My ESPN.com colleague, Mark Schlabach, has revised his early Top 25 for next season taking into account each team's classes on signing day.
He still has two SEC teams in the top 5 -- Alabama at No. 2 and LSU at No. 4 -- and he has Arkansas knocking on the door of the top 10 at No. 11.
Schlabach has South Carolina No. 15, Auburn No. 17, Georgia No. 18, Florida No. 20 and Mississippi State No. 25.
Keep in mind that he's actually doing an early Top 25, so he's taking into account the strength of each team along with schedules, when the tough games come up on those schedules and what conference each team plays in.
The early 2011 SEC power rankings I did last month looked a little different than what Schlabach came up with, most notably where Mississippi State was positioned. I believe the Bulldogs will be a very good football team again next season and had them No. 5 in the SEC. But when we do the power rankings, we do them based solely on the strength of that team and don't take into account other variables such as schedules.
Playing in the West, Mississippi State will be at a disadvantage compared to some of the Eastern Division teams next season because the West will again be so strong. For instance, compare Mississippi State's away schedule to Georgia's.
The other team in the SEC that's particularly difficult to read right now is Florida. You know the Gators have talent, but how will they respond in Year No. 1 under the new coaching staff?
Georgia's another team talented enough to make a big comeback from last season's disaster. It goes without saying that Mark Richt hasn't played a more important opener than the one he'll face against Boise State next season in the Georgia Dome.
If the Bulldogs survive that game, they could be the SEC's surprise team in 2011. If not, it could go downhill in a hurry.