SEC Team Season Grades: East
SEC Season Grade: B
The conference got another national championship and finished with four teams in the top 13, but there were issues.
Remember, it was almost all an SEC vs. SEC schedule, so the teams were beating up on each other – it’s part of the reason why the records were lousy. LSU fell off a cliff, Tennessee and South Carolina fell off a bigger cliff, Mississippi State was shockingly weird-bad, and Vanderbilt just never showed up. However …
Georgia and Florida were fun, it was a good first year under Eliah Drinkwitz at Missouri, and Arkansas became one of the biggest surprises of the 2020 season. Texas A&M was CFP-worthy, Kentucky and Ole Miss won bowl games, and again, the conference had the best team in college football.
Florida 2020 Season Grade: B
Unfortunately, all anyone will remember was the total clunker of a Cotton Bowl loss to Oklahoma when too many key guys were out – that’s not fair. The Gators got to the SEC Championship, pushed Alabama better than anyone else, and … gacked away any shot at the College Football Playoff with a home loss to LSU.
Georgia 2020 Season Grade: C+
To be mean to a team that lost to Alabama and Florida away from home – no shame there – the talent was in place to be in the mix for the national title, the quarterback situation wasn’t right until it was too late, and to cut through the nice-nice – oooooh, it beat the Group of Five team in a bowl. It took a late rally and field goal to get by a Cincinnati team that needed a walk-off field goal to beat Tulsa.
Kentucky 2020 Season Grade: B-
Plenty of things were made a whole lot better with a bowl win over NC State. The Wildcats never got going, only beat the four worst SEC teams on its schedule, and were hit by double-digit losses against the killers on the slate. But that bowl win ended things on a big-time high.
Missouri 2020 Season Grade: B-
The expectations were near nothing in the first year under Eliah Drinkwitz against an all SEC schedule, but a big midseason run changed everything. The Tigers won five in six – with the only loss coming against Florida – before the defense collapsed late. Even so, 5-5 in this crazy year was great.
South Carolina 2020 Season Grade: D
The team had the talent to at least be a tough out, and it came up with a win over Auburn, but that was it. A coaching change, closing with six straight losses, and the offense going into the tank weren’t part of the plan, but it’s not like any of it was shocking.
Tennessee 2020 Season Grade: C-
The only reason the grade isn’t a whole lot worse is the 2-0 start over a South Carolina team that was functional at the time and the 35-12 win over Missouri. The offense failed – it didn’t score 20 or more in six of the last seven games – the team seemed to get worse as the season went on.
Vanderbilt 2020 Season Grade: D-
There were only three close games among the nine losses – one was in the opener against Texas A&M – but Sarah Fuller being the first ever female player in FBS history was cool. On the whole, though … ugh. No wins, blowout after blowout, 17 points or fewer in seven of the games, and the end of the Derek Mason era – it was a rough run.