SEC power rankings, the post-spring practice edition

Spring practice is over. The NFL draft is over. Face it, college football fans: The long nuclear winter — the three-month period before the opening of fall camps in the first week of August — has arrived.

But we are nothing if not compassionate, so to help you get through the three long months, here are our post-spring practice SEC power rankings. Either you agree with them, which should soothe your nerves and provide calm as you contemplate the next 90 or so days, or you disagree, which can serve as fuel as you rampage through the next 90 or so days. (For further “help,” here is our post-spring practice preseason top 25.)

See you on the other side.

DREW LOCK, by John Rieger/USA Today Sports

14. Missouri

Last season: 4-8, no bowl
The skinny: How much can Mizzou improve defensively? The Tigers were rancid on that side of the ball last season – 232.8 rushing yards per game allowed, 479.7 total yards per game allowed, 31.5 points per game allowed. The flipside: An offense featuring strong-armed QB Drew Lock was one of the most potent in the league. That offense again should be potent. But it’s hard to see Mizzou in a bowl in 2017 unless the defense makes vast improvement. Mizzou surrendered 479.7 yards per game last season – the worst mark in the league since Vanderbilt in 2001 (489.2 ypg). Mizzou needs DT Terry Buckner Jr. to return at 100 percent health and wreak havoc in the middle. The Tigers get South Carolina and Auburn in the first four weeks of the season, with both matchups coming at home. Those should be a good gauge as to how the season will go. The non-conference schedule is easy – as in 4-0 easy – but can the Tigers get the two league wins they would need to get to a bowl?

RELATED: The Tigers’ tale: The offense is just fine. Now it’s up to the defense to catch up.

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