Photo courtesy of Mackenzie Miles/Georgia athletics

We just wrapped up a unique National Signing Day, seeing NIL heavily involved. The college football world just saw another SEC dominating performance.

SEC teams claimed each of the top three spots, with Texas A&M claiming the highest-rated class in history. The lowest SEC member, Vanderbilt, still finished relatively high at No. 31.

With that said, we look back on the last top-5 AP finish for each SEC team. With NIL now an aspect, and teams recruiting better than ever, could we see some non-traditional SEC powers break the top five soon?

SEC East

Who would have thought that Florida would be fourth on this list in terms of recency? While Dan Mullen brought the Gators two New Year’s Six victories, he still did not have elite success to culminate in a top-5 finish. That has been missing since Urban Meyer was the head coach.

Many may forget the 2013 seasons that Missouri and South Carolina put together. In only its second year in the league, Missouri won the East. South Carolina notched a third straight 11-win season under Steve Spurrier.

While Kentucky may claim a retroactive national championship, the Wildcats have still have never finished inside the top five in the AP Poll. The same is true of Vanderbilt.

Tennessee hasn’t experienced elite success since Phillip Fulmer was 51 years old. He is 71 presently.

SEC West

The biggest thing that sticks out here is Texas A&M. If not for the solid 2020 season under Jimbo Fisher, and the once-in-a-lifetime 2012 season with Heisman Trophy winner Johnny Manziel, the last top-5 finish for the Aggies would be 1956. Bear Bryant was the coach in College Station back then.

The strength of the SEC West is evident by the fact that since 2010, the majority of the division has seen a top-5 season. Mississippi State head coach Mike Leach and Ole Miss’ Lane Kiffin have a lot of work to do for their respective Mississippi programs.

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