Attention SEC Honks – You can now come back down to earth
All year long we heard how unbelievable the SEC was, particularly the SEC West. That one division was gonna send 3 teams to the innagural college football playoff and perhaps allow one infidel from elsewhere in the country to participate. Of course a lot of this was driven by ESPN as they own the SEC network and will televise the playoff games.
Every time I heard this nonsense, I would wonder to myself if any of those people had ever stayed up till 2:00 in the morning to watch the likes of Oregon, Arizona, UCLA or Utah kick off at 8:00 Pacific time. Or if they had seen what Baylor was doing offensively in the Big-12 for the past 4 or 5 years. I don’t blame SEC fans and media for getting caught up in their own hype all year, but even they’ve got to acknowledge – the PAC-12 was loaded this year. In fact it was a much deeper and more competitive conference than the SEC top to bottom. The SEC was still #1 but not by as much as it used to be.
Just a few thoughts:
- The SEC and PAC-12 both have tons of skill position players that can change games. Great quarterbacks, receivers, etc. And that’s what you saw all year long. Any team was capable of beating any other team. Ole Miss beat Bama, 5-7 Cal lost to Arizona on a last second hail mary pass. Arizona may end up in the play-off if they can beat Oregon again on Saturday. So while Ole Miss, Mississippi State, Alabama and Auburn were racing into the top 10 the first weeks of the season, you knew it was only a matter of time till they beat each other up. That’s what happens when you have really good teams in your conference. But the same thing was happening in the PAC-12 and people were wanting to write off PAC-12 teams after a loss or two. Hypocritical.
- The SEC is a lot more fun to watch than it used to be. 5 years ago, a good SEC game was gonna end up a 19-16 affair with incredible defensive line play and tough running. Those facets still exist but offenses have advanced. Most schools now run a wide open, up-tempo offense like everyone else. And it seems the scoring has gone way up. (Texas A&M and Head Coach Kevin Sumlin’s arrival helped usher that in) However, the increase in offense has neutralized some of the dominance in the trenches that existed in the league and made them so much better than the PAc-12 or Big-12 – who were known mostly just for skill players and offense.
- Alabama is still a notch ahead of everyone else in the SEC – and this hurts their league. Skill players and spread offense aside, Bama is still a beast. They simply have more – bigger, faster, stronger players than anyone else. It’s actually almost ridiculous. It’s kind of like telling someone you might want to keep an eye on Kentucky basketball as they may have some nice talent. They have all the top talent! It’s not really even intriguing. When you realize how talented Bama is, but still see them get beat and even though they won against Auburn – give up 44 points, you realize the best school in the best conference is not as intimidating anymore.
- Some SEC schools still don’t play anyone out-of-conference. I know going forward the SEC plans to change that. Bama did play and beat West Virginia early. Auburn played and should have lost to Kansas State. LSU barely beat Wisconsin and Florida always plays Florida State in the rivalry game. However, everyone else should do that. It really hurt the conference this year. Of course they are good but why should we believe you are all top 7 teams when you only play each other. What if you’re all just good, but not great. You gotta show out of conference.
- People love to slight the Big-10 and ACC, and rightfully so. The conferences are no where near as good as the other 3. FSU has escaped several times this year against inferior competition. Ohio State beat Michigan State and will face Wisconsin in the Big-10 championship game, but other than that – there is just not the level of competition and talent you find in the other Power-5 conferences.
When you break it all down, the SEC is still great. However, as for play-off admission, they deserve one team, not 2, or even the ridiculous 3 we heard early in the year. The second to last rankings will be released Tuesday night. It’ll probably go something like Bama-1, Oregon-2, FSU-3, TCU-4.
As for who’s in the top four after this weekend, here’s how I see it breaking down:
You figure Bama will take care of business against Missouri; the winner of the Oregon/Arizona game must absolutely go; FSU- though not as good – is still undefeated; and then you’ve got to take one of the gun slingers from the Big-12 – TCU or Baylor. Ohio State is on the outside looking in, unless Georgia Tech happens to upset FSU.