At the midpoint of the 2018 college football season, let’s attach grades to every SEC football team’s season so far. Spoiler: Alabama is passing with flying colors.
It’s the halfway point in the college football season and that means we’ve seen a large enough sample size from teams to make some fairly concrete observations and draw some logical conclusions.
After five or six games, you have a really good idea about what you have in a football team. At this point in the season, there have been enough games played against a variety of teams and schemes and we’re beginning to see the great teams separate themselves from the back and the bad teams have had their weaknesses exposed.
With every SEC team having played six games, except for South Carolina, Missouri and Tennessee, it’s time to deliver the mid-term grades for every SEC football team, beginning in the East where Georgia has aced every test thus far.
Georgia (6-0): A
The national runners-up look like they’ll be headed back to Atlanta for the SEC Championship Game for a second straight year. The offense is clicking to the tune of 42.8 points per game (2nd in SEC) and the defense is allowing the fewest yards per game in the SEC and second in points allowed. A big test awaits this weekend with a trip to LSU.
Kentucky (5-1): A-
The Wildcats just suffered their first loss of the year at Texas A&M, but otherwise, have enjoyed a dream first half of the season. Benny Snell Jr. has emerged as one of the top running backs in the nation despite not much help around him. Defensively, only Mississippi State and Georgia rank better in total and scoring defense.
Florida (5-1): B+
I might be a bit of a tough grader, but I just can’t give Florida a grade higher than a B+ in a season they lost to Kentucky, and I just wrote about how well Kentucky is this year. But for Florida, those losses are inexcusable, even if it was the first time since 1986. Other than that though, it’s been a great homecoming for Dan Mullen, who is riding high after a big win over then-No. 5 LSU.
South Carolina (3-2): C
If not for a canceled game with Marshall, South Carolina is likely sitting at 4-2, but without that game, the Gamecocks need to rally to get to bowl-eligible status with six wins. It should happen, provided they beat Ole Miss, Tennessee and Chattanooga. South Carolina ranks in the middle of the conference in both total offense and defense, so they get an average grade.
Missouri (3-2): C
If I was grading Barry Odom’s team solely on the strength of the offense, the Tigers would get a B+ grade because Drew Lock has been really good. However, when factoring in the defense that has been really bad, allowing nearly 400 yards and 30 points, it brings down the team grade down but they’ll have to nail the final to get into a bowl game.
Vanderbilt (3-3): C-
There haven’t been a lot of positives for the Commodores in the first half of the season. Derek Mason’s team has been able to move the ball a bit offensively, but they can’t put points on the scoreboard. Vanderbilt ranks 13th in the SEC with 25.2 points per game. The defense is supposed to be the strength of the team but they rank 12th in total defense, allowing nearly 400 yards per game.
Tennessee (2-3): C-
This was going to be a rough first year for head coach Jeremy Pruitt who’s primary job is to change the losing culture that Butch Jones let permeate in his final year or two in Knoxville. The on-field product has a lot of improving to do, especially offensively where the Vols rank 13th in total offense and 12th in scoring offense. The defense has been slightly better but nowhere close to where it needs to be.