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Where each SEC team should’ve finished, relative to its recruiting rankings

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Ray Carlin/USA TODAY Sports

If you go strictly by recruiting rankings, Saturday’s Auburn-Georgia SEC championship game is not surprising in the least.

Both have recruited at a top-10 level nationally over the past five recruiting classes – Georgia’s average recruiting rank in that span is 7.0, while Auburn’s is 8.4 – and each is stacked with four- and five-star recruits. Georgia has signed 78 such prospects in the past five recruiting cycles, while Auburn has signed 68.

Of course, if recruiting is all that mattered, Alabama would be facing Georgia for the SEC title. No one has out-recruited the Tide nationally in the past five years. And Auburn has recruited third-best in the SEC West in that span; LSU is second in the division behind the Tide.

While Georgia has recruited the best in the East in the past five cycles, the two biggest underachievers in the league relative to recruiting rankings this season were Florida and Tennessee, who had the second- and third-best cumulative classes in the East in that span but went a combined 3-13 in league play this season.

The biggest overachievers were Mississippi State in the West and Missouri in the East.

RELATED: This week’s SEC Power Rankings, from 14th to 1st

Here’s a look at the entire SEC relative to its cumulative recruiting ranking over the past five classes (2013-17). The teams are ranked overall and we have noted where each ranks in its respective division, as well. We used 247Sports.com’s composite team rankings as our guide.

1. Alabama

Division projection by recruiting: 1st in West
Actual finish: 11-1 overall, 7-1 in league, tie for 1st in West (lost tiebreaker)
The recruiting skinny: The Tide finished first nationally in all five years during this span.

2. LSU

Division projection by recruiting: 2nd in West
Actual finish: 9-3 overall, 6-2 in league, 3rd in West
The recruiting skinny: LSU had top-10 classes in all five years during this span, including three in the top five.

3. Georgia

Division projection by recruiting: 1st in East
Actual finish: 11-1 overall, 7-1 in league, 1st in East
The recruiting skinny: Georgia finished outside the top 10 once during the five-year span, with three classes in the top six.

4. Auburn

Division projection by recruiting: 3rd in West
Actual finish: 10-2 overall, 7-1 in league, tie for 1st in West (won tiebreaker)
The recruiting skinny: The Tigers were in the top 10 all five years of the span, with four between 8th and 10th.

T-5. Florida

Division projection by recruiting: 2nd in East
Actual finish: 4-7 overall, 3-5 in league, 5th in East
The recruiting skinny: The Gators had top-10 classes in each of the first two years during this span, then finished outside the top 10 in the final three, including one outside the top 20.

T-5. Texas A&M

Division projection by recruiting: 4th in West
Actual finish: 7-5 overall, 4-4 in league, tie for 4th in West
The recruiting skinny: As with Florida, Texas A&M had top-10 classes in each of the first two years during this span, then finished outside the top 10 in the final three.

7. Tennessee

Division projection by recruiting: 3rd in East
Actual finish: 4-8 overall, 0-8 in league, 7th in East
The recruiting skinny: The Vols had two top-10 classes, two more in the top 20 and one in the top 25.

8. Ole Miss

Division projection by recruiting: 5th in West
Actual finish: 6-6 overall, 3-5 in league, 6th in West
The recruiting skinny: There were two top-10 classes, two more in the top 20, then one outside the top 30 (the most recent).

9. South Carolina

Division projection by recruiting: 4th in East
Actual finish: 8-4 overall, 5-3 in league, 2nd in East
The recruiting skinny: There were three classes in the top 20 – but each of those was 19th or 20th. The other two were in the top 25.

10. Arkansas

Division projection by recruiting: 6th in West
Actual finish: 4-8 overall, 1-7 in league, 7th in West
The recruiting skinny: All five in the span were in the top 30, with two in the top 25.

11. Mississippi State

Division projection by recruiting: 7th in West
Actual finish: 8-4 overall, 4-4 in league, tie for 4th in West
The recruiting skinny: There was one class in the top 20, two more in the top 25, one in the top 30 and one in the top 40.

12. Kentucky

Division projection by recruiting: 5th in East
Actual finish: 7-5 overall, 4-4 in league, tie for 3rd in East
The recruiting skinny: There was one class in the top 25 and one in the top 30, and the other three were in the top 40.

13. Missouri

Division projection by recruiting: 6th in East
Actual finish: 7-5 overall, 4-4 in league, tie for 3rd in East
The recruiting skinny: There was one class ranked 25th, another in the top 40 and three in the top 45.

14. Vanderbilt

Division projection by recruiting: 7th in East
Actual finish: 6-7 overall, 1-7 in league, 6th in East
The recruiting skinny: There was one class in the top 30, two more in the top 50, one in the top 55 and the other 65th.

(You can follow Mike Huguenin on Twitter @MikeHuguenin)

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