College football: SEC top-10 domination incestuous
SEC football is like Duke basketball. The best in the business. And overrated.
After the three undefeated teams in college football – Kansas State, Oregon and Notre Dame — the Southeastern Conference has the next six teams in the BCS rankings.
No. 4 Alabama, No. 5 Georgia, No. 6 Florida, No. 7 LSU, No. 8 Texas A&M and No. 9 South Carolina.
All good teams. Even a great team in Bama. But it’s an incestuous ranking.
Here is who Alabama beat non-conference: Michigan, Western Kentucky and Florida Atlantic. On Saturday, Bama hosts Western Carolina.
Here is who Georgia beat non-conference: Buffalo and Florida Atlantic. The Bulldogs host Georgia Southern on Saturday, then hosts Georgia Tech next week.
Here is who Florida beat non-conference: Bowling Green and Louisiana-Lafayette. Saturday, the Gators host Jacksonville State, then play at Florida State next Saturday.
Here is who LSU beat non-conference: North Texas, Washington, Idaho and Towson.
Here is who A&M beat non-conference: SMU, South Carolina State and Louisiana Tech. Saturday, the Aggies host Sam Houston State.
Here is who South Carolina beat non-conference: East Carolina and Alabama-Birmingham. The Gamecocks host Wofford on Saturday, then play at Clemson next week.
In conference, the SEC’s Super Six has gone 29-0 against the rest of the league. Which speaks to the power of those six and the lack of power of the rest of the eight members.
None of the victories over the likes of Missouri, Arkansas, Auburn, Mississippi State, Ole Miss, Vanderbilt, Tennessee or Kentucky carries much weight, despite what the master marketers coming out of Birmingham want you to believe.
So the Super Six’s ranking is based on two things:
1. Non-conference victories over Michigan, Louisiana Tech and Washington.
2. Victories over each other. South Carolina over Georgia, Georgia over Florida, Florida over A&M, A&M over Alabama, Alabama over LSU, LSU over A&M. Florida over South Carolina.
(As an aside, Florida clearly is the most accomplished team in the SEC. The Gators played A&M and LSU. Those were the only interdivision matchups among the Super Six.)
The SEC has some good games next weekend, but right now, the SEC’s reputation is powers the SEC domination of the BCS top 10. And I’m not saying that’s wrong. To the victors go the spoils, and the SEC has won six straight national title games. But just as the Bama-LSU matchup a year ago was the result of reputation, so is this BCS domination.
And that’s why the new four-team playoff coming in 2014 needs to include the conference champion caveat. Only league champs should be eligible, because college football does not provide enough evidence to know who truly belongs.
There aren’t enough quality non-conference games to determine the comparative strengths of leagues, and every conference is .500 in conference play.
Thus the best indicator of success is conference championships. Until the non-conference schedules improve mightily, only conference champs should be admitted to the four-team playoff. Conference championships right now are the best evidence of a team’s success.
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