Where all 14 SEC teams rank in Athlon Sports’ pre-spring practice Top 130

Hey, who said it was too early to try to rank the SEC football teams heading into the 2018 season?

In the midst of “Way-too-early” Top 25 season for outlets such as SEC Country and ESPN, Athlon Sports decided to take things to an entirely different level.

On Tuesday, the producers of the popular college football preview guide released a Top 130 to recognize the status of every FBS program heading into spring practice.  And let’s just say some SEC fans will be happier with the output that others.

First, let’s talk about the good news. Steven Lassan and the good folks at Athlon placed six of the league’s teams in the Top 25 of the rankings, including reserving the top spot on the list for the defending national champions. It’s a distinction that ESPN’s Mark Schlabach did not grant Nick Saban’s squad in the Worldwide Leader’s pre-spring rankings, choosing instead to go with the Clemson Tigers.

Georgia checks in at No. 4 on the list, indicating that a return trip to the College Football Playoff could be in the cards for last season’s national runner up and defending SEC champions. Clemson and Ohio State are the non-SEC schools in what would be the College Football Playoff projection.

Auburn lands at No. 9 with the return of Jarrett Stidham under center, while Mississippi State checks in at No. 17 in spite of losing Dan Mullen to the Gators. LSU at No. 19 and Florida at No. 25 round out the league’s presence in the Top 25.

The return of Jake Bentley at South Carolina and Drew Lock at Missouri has both SEC squads knocking on the door of the Top 25 on this list, with the Gamecocks checking in at No. 29 and Tigers at No. 38. Jimbo Fisher’s Texas A&M squad is sandwiched in-between at No. 31.

But it’s not all good news for the league. Athlon also ranked five SEC squads at No. 58 or lower on the list, indicating Lassan’s belief that there still is a sizable bottom tier of the league that may not see significant improvement in 2018. For a point of reference, the Sun Belt’s Arkansas State checks in at No. 57 on the rankings.

Included in that bunch are Tennessee, Arkansas and Vanderbilt, which all missed out on postseason play in 2017. The Vols and Razorbacks may have rebuilding jobs ahead behind new coaches Jeremy Pruitt and Chad Morris.

Kentucky, which is coming off back-to-back seven-win regular seasons under Mark Stoops, ranks as the No. 11 team in the league entering spring practice.

Where all 14 SEC teams rank in Athlon Sports’ pre-spring practice Top 130

Alabama No. 1
Georgia No. 4
Auburn No. 9
Mississippi St. No. 17
LSU No. 19
Florida No. 25
South Carolina No. 29
Texas A&M No. 31
Missouri No. 38
Tennessee No. 58
Kentucky No. 59
Arkansas No. 62
Ole Miss No. 63
Vanderbilt No. 64

The post Where all 14 SEC teams rank in Athlon Sports’ pre-spring practice Top 130 appeared first on SEC Country.

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