SEC Power Rankings going into spring practice

  • How will the Oklahoma Sooners and Texas Longhorns factor into their new league?
  • What SEC teams have a realistic shot of making it into the College Football Playoff?
  • What programs will be scraping for wins to hopefully achieve bowl eligibility this year?

Jonathon Brooks, Texas Longhorns, Alabama Crimson Tide
Jonathon Brooks, Texas Longhorns, Alabama Crimson Tide / Kevin C. Cox/GettyImages
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It is not quite July 1, but for all intents and purposes, Oklahoma and Texas are members of the SEC. We still have basketball and baseball season to be sorted out, but the Sooners and Longhorns will be welcomed additions to their new league. Yes, the 16 will be a division-less league playing an eight-game conference schedule with only one protected rivalry game over the next two football seasons.

With the College Football Playoff expanding from four teams to 12, we should expect roughly three to maybe even six SEC teams taking part in the new postseason format every year. Conversely, it is a rough time to be a bottom-feeder in this league, as Texas is at the peak of its powers once again and Oklahoma is still very much a blue-blood, although leaving the Big 12 could hurt them over time.

So what I am going to do today is roughly outline where each of the 16 member institutions stack up heading into spring practice. I am allowed to change my opinion on any and all of these teams between now and the start of the regular season. No matter how you feel about these rankings, just be happy that we are now one day closer to college football season than you were merely yesterday.

Behold! A healthy helping of some delicious SEC football power rankings! What all did I get wrong?

16. Vanderbilt Commodores were the worst Power Five team a year ago

Look. I really like the job Clark Lea is doing in trying to make his alma mater's football team relevant. While it would not shock me to see them upset a team or two in conference play, these are still the Vanderbilt Commodores, folks. While the addition of Diego Pavia coming over from New Mexico State, along with Jerry Kill, could be massive for the 'Dores, their anchor will be down throughout.

This was a 2-10 football team a year ago, but I think there is a chance they could go something like 4-8, maybe even 5-7 if they catch a conference foe sleeping. What we have to understand is that this thing was always going to be a slow build under Lea and Barton Simmons' watch. These things take time. Not saying 2025 will be the Vanderbilt pop year, but the Commodores are 16th for a reason.

The goal is to not be the worst team in the Power Five next year, to hopefully avoid the Toilet Bowl.

15. Mississippi State Bulldogs will have a rough first year under Jeff Lebby

With each passing day, I am increasingly down on the Jeff Lebby hiring by Mississippi State. I understand that the Bulldogs wanted to go with an offensive-minded head coach after the Zach Arnett experiment failed, but I would be utterly shocked if this team even went 6-6. Had Will Rogers stayed put at Starkville for one more year, I may be more bullish on the team, but he is at Washington.

Overall, I have a hard time seeing the Lebby era of Mississippi State football lasting longer than the Sylvester Croom era that preceded the incredible decade-long run under Dan Mullen. He may get the Bulldogs to a bowl game in a year or so, but I still cannot understand why he took this job other than the opportunity and the money. I would have waited a year or two to take over at a place like a UCF.

Lebby is a sound offensive mind, but he is going to one of the hardest situations in college football.