The 2018 season has come to an end and as we prepare for bowl season for most teams let's take a second a look back at how each team did this year. Now the grading system will be on your standard A+ through F scale and will be based on how they did and also compared to how they were expected to do. We will go ahead and take a look at each team going down the list in alphabetical order.
To be honest I think it was hard to imagine an Alabama team that would exceed the pre-season expectations but somehow this team managed to do that. Up until the SEC Championship this past week no one came even close to hanging with this Alabama team (except the Citadel for a half) but in all honesty this is probably going to go down as one of the best Alabama teams in the Nick Saban era and definitely the best offense Saban has ever had at Alabama.
This was a rough year for the Razorbacks. Chad Morris has low expectations in his first year but they managed to fall short of those small expectations. The blowout loss to North Texas at home early in the year is really what did it. North Texas isn't a bad team by any means but it was the way they lost and how they looked including that punt return that you may remember. The good news for Arkansas is there is really only one way to go and that's up...
Auburn was probably the biggest disappointment of the year in the SEC. The Tigers had high expectations heading into the year and had what looked to be a statement win early in the year when they beat Washington to open up the year. After that it all started to fall apart led by the struggles of the offense which was capped off with a home loss to Tennessee. Auburn also will be losing Stidham to the NFL draft as he just declared, but that may be good news as that experiment hasn't lived up to the hype when he was brought in.
On the opposite of Auburn, Florida may be one of the biggest overachievers in the SEC this year. Coming off one of the worst years in school history and with a new head coach many people expected Florida to do little this year but the Gators managed to win 9 games, secure a New Years 6 bowl and finish the season ranked in the Top 10. The Gators did have 3 losses, 2 of which were at home which is why they got the minus in there but all three teams they lost to finished the season ranked so they at least lost to good teams. The Gators are still a step behind Georgia but they are heading in the right direction.
Georgia really did exactly what people thought they would this year. Finishing the season with 1 loss, winning the east and losing a close SEC championship to Alabama isn't anything to be upset about. The Bulldogs lost a lot from last years team but managed to bounce back and pick up where they left off from a season ago.
If not Florida, then Kentucky may be the biggest overachiever in the SEC this year. For the past few years people thought the Wildcats were close to getting over the hump and this year they finally did it with a signature win against the Gators in The Swamp. The Wildcats got off to a great start to the season but started to stumble towards the end of the year especially with that blowout loss to Tennessee.
LSU was one of the top teams in the country for most of the year capped off with a 20 point win over Georgia in October. The Tigers did exceed a lot of people's expectations especially on offense with Joe Burrow. Ed Orgeron seems to have the LSU team heading in the right direction and the Tigers find themselves in another New Years 6 bowl facing off against UCF.
Mississippi State: B-
The Bulldogs had a good season based on "Pre-Dan Mullen" standards winning 8 games, however the Bulldogs had higher expectations than that. Most people had Mississippi State finishing 2nd or 3rd in the west with a chance at winning 10 games. The offense was the biggest reason they struggled, however still a lot of good that came from this season for the Bulldogs.
Missouri got off to a very slow start to the season in conference play starting off 0-4 in conference but a strong finish to the season gets them up to that B- range. Missouri finishes the season ranked 23rd in the nation coming off 4 straight wins over Florida, Tennessee, Arkansas, and Vanderbilt.
Ole Miss: C-
The Rebels really had nothing to play for except their own pride since they were ineligible to make a bowl game this year. The Rebels finished 5-7 including a 1-7 record in conference. The good news is they finished 4-0 in non conference games but that's not saying much considering the best team they played was Texas Tech who was down this season. The Rebels are just lucky that Arkansas is in their division.
South Carolina: C+
The Gamecocks are probably the hardest team in the conference for me to read on this list. South Carolina did finish 7-5 and 4-4 in conference which is about where most people had them at the beginning of the season, however the Gamecocks really didn't have any good wins. They beat the teams they were supposed to and lost to the teams they were supposed to which gets them right at that average score of a C+.
It was a rough year in Knoxville for sure and may be for a few more years. Tennessee looked really bad early in the year but started to turn it around towards the end with good wins over Auburn and Kentucky which probably gets them up to the C- mark instead of a D. The Vols did fall short of a bowl game and will be the only east team sitting at home this bowl season.
Texas A&M: B+
The first year under Jimbo Fisher wasn't bad in College Station. Texas A&M finished 8-2 against teams not in the College Football Playoffs and gave Clemson a really tough game early in the year. The Aggies managed to finish 2nd in the SEC West thanks to that overtime thriller they had with LSU to end the year.
By far the highest grade for a 6-6 team but Vandy really wasn't expected to do much this year. The Commodores managed to find a way to go bowling and played a lot of good teams close despite not winning them. Derek Mason has Vandy heading in the right direction and they may be a team to at least give these power programs trouble over the next few years.