In the eyes of CBS Sports’ Barrett Sallee, the SEC has climbed back to the top of the college football world.
On Monday, the analyst released his conference power rankings. After the SEC entered the season with a No. 2 ranking in CBS Sports’ power poll, he placed the conference on top. For what it’s worth, the Big Ten comes in at No. 2, followed by the Big 12, Pac-12 and ACC.
Check out his explanation for the SEC:
1. SEC: Order has been restored in the college football world, and the once-powerful Southeastern Conference has ascended back to its throne after a brief hiatus. The Bulldogs and Crimson Tide both spent time in the No. 1 spot in the AP Top 25 in 2017, Auburn was a playoff contender until the bitter end, LSU got right and finished in the top 20, and Mississippi State enjoyed one of its best seasons of the modern era before star quarterback Nick Fitzgerald was knocked out early in the regular season finale. Yes, Florida and Tennessee tanked, but two teams in the CFP and a third that played in the SEC Championship Game with a playoff berth on the line result in the SEC regaining its thrown as best conference in the land in 2017. (Preseason: 2)
With the SEC placing Georgia and Alabama in the College Football Playoff, it’s hard to argue against Sallee’s reasoning, even if you can quibble about the SEC’s overall depth beyond its most elite teams. Looking past the two College Football Playoff squads, Auburn shined as one of the nation’s hottest teams late in the year as well.
There’s still much to be learned in the coming weeks. The Rose and Sugar bowls will give the SEC a chance to see its brand lifted in a huge way. A Georgia-Alabama national championship game in Atlanta would be a giant SEC commercial on the sport’s largest stage.
SEC fans have many reasons to be pleased with the way things unfolded this fall.