Tuesday, November 29, 2022

Vassallo: There Is a New Alignment in the SEC

Photo by Joshua McCoy, Ole Miss Athletics
Photo by Joshua McCoy, Ole Miss Athletics

Back to the future! Ole Miss dominated the SEC once upon a time. Many of us thought those days were gone with the wind…but maybe not.

Dominating a 14-member conference is next to impossible, but competing on the highest level is possible. Two years are not long enough to be calling for a dynasty or even a trend. However, consider these factors.

For the past three years Ole Miss has recruited as well as any team in the nation and the preliminary forecast for February 2016 is nothing short of sensational. This Saturday night in Vaught-Hemingway we can view a couple of incoming stars soon to be household names and wearing red and blue.

Alabama continues to be the best of the league, despite losing to the Rebels in back to back years. The primary problem: no one else can tame the Tide. Here’s my ranking of the current pecking order in the SEC with comments for each.

1. Alabama – Still the top dog, unless someone other than Ole Miss can stop them

2. Ole Miss – Consecutive New Year’s Six Bowls pending Sugar Bowl invite

3. LSU – Remains strong although fan base unhappy minus a star quarterback

4. Arkansas – Getting better is better than being good. 4-0 vs. Ole Miss/LSU past 2 years

5. Tennessee – Ditto for the Vols. Close to turning a corner in Rocky Top

6. Georgia – Coaching change could allow Dawgs to reach next level…maybe

7. Florida – The surprise team in the league this year with an optimistic outlook

8. Mississippi State – A second tier team until they can defeat Alabama, Ole Miss and LSU on a semi-regular basis

9. Auburn – Biggest disappointment in 2015. Next year not encouraging either

10. TX A&M – An eight-win season is good, although losses to Alabama, Ole Miss and LSU above are disheartening

11. Missouri – 5-7 seasons will not sell many season tickets

12. South Carolina – Just a couple of short years ago ole ball coach was eager to play Rebels

13. Vandy – Improvement definitely over 2014, but a long way to go to even Music City Bowl

14. Kentucky – What happened? Been down so long, looks like up to me. Not really

The above is reality although many of our competitors do not want to acknowledge the obvious. Four years ago we were No. 14. What a difference a Freeze warning makes!

Steve Vassallo

Steve Vassallo is a HottyToddy.com contributor. Steve writes on Ole Miss athletics, Oxford business, politics and other subjects. He is an Ole Miss grad and former radio announcer for the basketball team. Currently, Steve is a highly successful leader in the real estate business who lives in Oxford with his wife Rosie. You can contact Steve at sovassallo@gmail.com or call him at 985-852-7745.

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