SEC Football: 2013 Mid-Season Team Report Cards

The SEC is yet again the leading college football conference in the nation! This week, the SEC even outdid itself landing a record 8 teams from the conference in the AP Top 25. This year’s SEC is a much different animal than last year’s SEC. The conference has been noted more for stellar senior quarterback play, high production offenses, and inexperienced defensive play. Top 10 nationally televised games have more than lived up to their hype with #5 Georgia kicking the season off losing to #8 Clemson 38-35, #1 Bama’s week 3 victory (49-42) over #6 Texas A&M, and #9 Georgia’s week 6 win (44-41) over #6 LSU. Looking ahead, the primetime matchups look to be week 11 when LSU rolls into Tuscaloosa and of course the SEC Championship Game in Atlanta.

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#1. Alabama (6-0, 3-0) – In the past month, this team has not given up more than 7 points to anyone. Even with the suspension of starting Safety Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, Bama just keeps moving forward. There are games where both running backs go for over a 100 yards. Bama’s one weakness is their secondary as evidenced in the A&M game. However, Coach Saban does what Coach Saban does. He improves his team’s play with each passing game. I don’t see this team losing to anyone in the SEC. Bring on Oregon for the National Championship.

#6. LSU (6-1, 2-1) – QB Zach Mettenberger may be the most talented QB in the league. He has a rifle of an arm and is thriving under new Offensive Coordinator Cam Cameron. LSU has the second most dominating offense in the league with big playmakers to be found all over the field. LSU is just plain physical and that’s how Coach Les Miles likes it. The defense is making strides under Defensive Coordinator John Chavis.

#7. Texas A&M (5-1, 2-1) – QB Johnny Manziel is putting up his numbers again. A loss to Bama might have been the best thing for Johnny Football. Since the loss, Manziel is under less scrutiny and is playing loose. The Aggies have scored over 40 points in every football game this season. The defense is still two to three years away from being considered an SEC defense. None the less, there is not a more exciting team in the land to watch than A&M.

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#11. South Carolina (5-1, 3-1) – This team has been up and down in every way that can be analyzed. If DE Clowney can be the leader Coach Spurrier wants him to be, the sky is the limits for the Gamecocks. Surprisingly, USC has the leading rusher in the league in Mike Davis (742 yards, 9 TD’s). If the defense can improve in a hurry, this will be the team to beat in the East.

#14. Missouri (6-0, 2-0) – Who would have guessed Missouri would be the SEC East leader at the midpoint? After 4 non-conference wins, Missouri and QB James Franklin won 2 SEC games on the road. Unfortunately, we will never know what Missouri would have been this year as Franklin is out with injury for the remainder of the season. That just goes to show Missouri they will have to develop more depth in a heavy talent laden SEC.

#15. Georgia (4-2, 3-1) – Injuries have all but decimated Georgia’s hopes for a national title and possibly a SEC title. That being said, Georgia is right where they deserve to be. They have played three Top 10 teams and have beaten two of them. The thing most depressing for Dawg fans have been their team’s defensive play. Traditionally, winning Bulldog teams have relied upon their strength on the defensive side. Georgia fans have had to make a hard switch this year relying on its team offense to come out on top.

#22. Florida (4-2, 3-1) – Even without their star defensive player, Dominique Easley, the Gators have proven to be the second best defense in the league. QB Troy Murphy has proven to be more effective and consistent than the injured Jeff Driscoll. This is a team that has the chance to play in Atlanta if it can find a way to win its key matchups in Jacksonville, FL and in Columbia, SC.

#24. Auburn (5-1, 2-1) – The Tigers find themselves in the Top 25 at the midway point. This team of over achievers has found ways to win the close ones. Things get tougher from here, but if the Tigers can find ways to win on the road, they will finish with a nice 8 or 9 wins. A lot of credit needs to go to new coach Gus Malzahn.

Ole Miss (3-3, 1-3) – There are no surprises here. Everyone knows Ole Miss’s best days are ahead of them with Coach Hugh Freeze and his ability to recruit. All of Ole Miss’s losses have been close except for the Bama game. This team will continue to improve. Finishing SEC play at 4-4 will not have been a lost cause.

Mississippi St. (3-3, 0-2) – The Bulldogs seemed to have found the QB of the future in Dak Prescott. He might not be Johnny Manziel but who is. Dak can throw. Dak can run. But most importantly, Dak can win games. Bottom line: Dak is a football player. The Bulldogs defense will have to return to what it has been in the past if they want to start winning games in the SEC.

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Tennessee (3-3, 0-2) – Butch Jones’s best days are ahead. His ability to recruit and to coach will lead the Vols to where they need to be in a couple of years. I still have Tennessee winning their last three SEC games this year.

Vanderbilt (3-3, 0-3) – This is a tough year for Coach James Franklin. But he is still one of the best college football coaches to be found. Will he stay for the long term and build up Vanderbilt? If so, expect greater things from Vandy for years to come.

Arkansas (3-4, 0-3) – Coach Bielema is another fine football coach who will eventually lead the Hogs to greener pasture. Unfortunately, Bielema was not left much talent and was given a program that was in shambles. Bielema’s ability or inability to recruit in the South will ultimately spell his success or demise.

Kentucky (1-5, 0-3) – Coach Stoops has Kentucky on the rise. After all, where else can they go but up. Stoops has already proven he can recruit. Next, he will have to prove he can coach.

Aaron Dougherty is the SEC Football Beat Writer for All Sports Talk. Follow him on Twitter @adougherty689

About Aaron Dougherty

Aaron is an avid sports fan that resides in the Raleigh, NC area.  He has a degree in Sport Management from North Greenville University and enjoys writing about, reading, and watching sports in his spare time. He is the beat writer for SEC sports on www.AllSportsTalk.net