You're welcome, Timmy. VICARIOUS NATIONAL CHAMPS, MAWFUKKAZ!
Florida earns a well deserved "A+" because... well, really, I shouldn't need to explain further. They won the BCS Championship, dammit. The SEC owns all of you.
Vanderbilt: A-- (Yes, that's "A minus minus")
If this were anybody but Vanderbilt, they'd have gotten a low "C" or a high "D." Starting 5-0 and earning a #13 ranking, only to lose to Mississippi State and begin a slide into 6-6 is, by the standards of folks who have been to bowl games over the last two decades, pretty bad. But, it's Vanderbilt and they just won a bowl game against a BCS team. My dad was four years old the last time that happened.
But, Ghost, there wasn't a BCS back then.
Shut the hell up. Don't you think I know that?
Anyway, here's something neato on which to chew: Boston College had the longest bowl victory streak in America until the 'Dores showed up. On your victories over ranked teams and bowl championship, congrats Vanderbilt. As for next year, well, I don't really have any clue what's going to happen then. Google up a Vandy blog or something.
Matt Stafford is showing you the number two, as in how many more games the Bulldogs should have won. The curse of the preseason AP #1 lives on. Losing to Florida is understandable. Perhaps not by that margin, but still, they're good. Losing to Georgia Tech and Alabama shouldn't be. Alabama shouldn't have been able to score so many points in the first half while simple, fundamental tackling would have kept the Yellowjackets out of the endzone on a few of those long touchdown runs.
Their offensive line was young and their defense was overrated. Knowshon Moreno and Matthew Stafford are legitimate, first-round NFL prospects but it takes more than that to create the national championship caliber team we were all led to believe the Bulldogs were going to be.
Without Stafford and Moreno, their offense should have some trouble getting into a groove next season. As the season progresses, so should the Bulldogs but I cannot imagine them winning more than 10 games in 2009-10 with the Oklahoma State, Arizona State, LSU, and Arkansas on their schedule.
Kentucky jumped quickly out of the gate but faded in the stretch (get it... horse jokes? nobody?). Before everyone realized how awful Louisville actually was, I was very impressed with Kentucky's opening performance. However, after having only won two SEC games by a grand total of two points, it became apparent that Kentucky simply wasn't that strong of a squad.
Their bowl win did impress many, though. To rally from behind by using solid, solid defense takes talent and, get this, good coaching. Kentucky won their third bowl game in a row which, three years ago, would have been a laughable statement.
Hartline needs to step it up and Kentucky needs to amplify their offense significantly in order to improve for 2009. They were very good defensively, but simply couldn't find the endzone as often as they should have.
South Carolina: D+
Stephen Garcia looks bummed that String Cheese Incident cancelled their recent Columbia show. Anyway, South Carolina did what South Carolina does: wiped their collective ass on their expectations. Their season began in similar fashion to Ole Miss' with a good mix of wins and losses but, after week 3 or 4, the Gamecocks went on a tear winning 6 of 7. Sitting on a 7-3 record, the 'Cocks looked like a legitimate dark horse in the SEC East (as much of one as you can be when the BCS champs are involved, that is). Unfortunately, Steve Spurrier must have misplaced his refrigerator magnet schedule thingy because the Gamecocks didn't even show up to their three final games, losing all three by a combined score of 118-30. Were they, for the most of the season, a better team than Kentucky? Absolutely, but their season's end was putrid enough to sink them below the Wildcats.
If South Carolina's quarterback situation can be remedied, even in the slightest, they should see marked improvement for next season.
I mean, who in the hell loses to Wyoming?
*Man in suit leans over to a strident Ghost of Jay Cutler. Covering his earpiece with his fingertip, he hurriedly whispers into Ghost's ear.*
Oh, I see... Ahem, while losses to such storied programs as the Wyoming Cowboys and the UCLA Bruins should be expected with such a murder's row of an OOC schedule, Tennessee should not have struggled as they did against their SEC foes. Losses to Auburn and South Carolina could have been avoided had the Vols played as they did against the Mississippi State Bulldogs and the Wildcats of Kentucky. Their play on the field was rarely good, primarily inconsistent, and oftentimes just plain bad.
The Lane Kiffin hire is interesting in that he is bringing in proven coaches and/or coordinators to hopefully pick up where he leaves off. Tennessee is too talented to win a mere 5 games next season but, if the "talent" wearing the headsets can't get it together quickly, the Volunteers could have another forgettable season.