Disclaimer: This list and subsequent blog posts were formed to create conversation between SEC fans about teams that were very close to having championship seasons. Looking at the teams listed and thinking about the teams that were left off further proves the depth of the SEC and the focus needed to win week in and week out. Teams were chosen and ranked based on significant wins/losses, star power and old school opinion (because we're opinionated SEC fans).
BNE Top 10 List so far...
#10 - 2001 Florida
#9 - 1997 Florida
#8 - 2006 LSU
BNE's best teams to not win the SEC title (post-1992): #7
2007 Georgia Bulldogs
AP Preseason #13
Record: 11-2 (6-2)
Final AP Ranking: #2
Final Coaches Ranking: #3
South Carolina 16-12 (UGA ranked #12)
@ Tennessee 35-14 (UGA ranked #11)
Wins vs. Ranked Opponents:
@ #20 Alabama 26-23 (OT)
#11 Florida 42-30
#17 Auburn 45-20
#20 Kentucky 24-13
Sugar Bowl: #10 Hawaii 41-10
Star Power: QB Matthew Stafford, RB Knowshon Moreno, FB Brannen Southerland, WR Mohamed Massaquoi, WR Sean Bailey, OT Trinton Sturdivant, OG Clint Boling, DE Marcus Howard, DT Jeff Owens, DT Geno Atkins, LB Rennie Curran, CB Asher Allen, K Brandon Coutu
Why Ahead of '06 LSU?
Both '06 LSU and the '07 Dawgs had the star power and a #1 NFL draft pick at quarterback. The '07 Dawgs, though, hit their stride harder down the stretch than '06 LSU. While Georgia lost to two unranked teams early in the season, it defeated every ranked team it faced (5-0) - one of only two teams on this list to do so. Georgia also had an argument for being the best team in the country at the end of the 2007 season.
Bubba says: To be honest, I don't have much to say about this team. The majority of the readers of this blog know the exploits of this squad and they were red hot to finish the season. Unfortunately, they were very inconsistent early and you can't rank a team with a blowout loss to unranked Tennessee any higher. Once 2007 UGA found their identity in Jacksonville, they were playing some of the nation's best football and had the ability to match up with any team in the country. Mark Richt's most intriguing team, in my mind, at UGA as they were a unique combination of agressive attitude and raw young talent.
The 2007 season in pictures from the Athens Banner-Herald
Earl says: Once the Dawgs were shutout of the National Championship Game, we all wanted to see a matchup with USC in the Rose Bowl. Unfortunately, the Pasadena boys are still living in the past with their preferred Pac-10/Big Ten matchup and freakin' Juice Williams was chosen to get maimed by the Trojans. That left Colt Brennan with a bad diagnosis in New Orleans as well.
After the blowout loss to Tennessee, nobody could've predicted that this Georgia team would leave Dawg fans with such great memories such as sacking Tebow six times, the Auburn blackout and showing the Rainbow Warriors a dance of our own.
Ultimately, we couldn't rank '07 Georgia any higher due its two losses to unranked opponents - the first team we've run across on this list to do so.
Next installment: #6 - 2001 Tennessee Volunteers