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Tuesday
Nov222005

The horse ain't dead

EDSBS accused myself and HP of beating a dead horse a few weeks ago in discussing flaws with the SEC.

Guess what, that horse ain't dead.  Not even close.  Via HP, here's TSN's Matt Hayes, waxing poetic about the SEC.

Here's a good reaction from John Q. Public in HP's comments section:

 "Now, here's where it gets scary: If Florida and Georgia win this week as favorites, the SEC would have four teams with nine wins and another with eight."

 That's the main problem I have with Mr. Hayes's sentiments. So it all comes down to the number of wins, does it? So direct, so simple, so shallow. It doesn't matter how many wins a team has until one looks at who those wins were against. Collectively, those teams that Hayes mentions (Georgia, Florida, LSU, Auburn, Alabama) have ONE win against schools from other BCS conferences. That one win was LSU's defeat over Arizona State (5-5) in a game that most observers felt that the Sun Devils lost more than LSU won. The only other BCS opponent faced by any of those schools was Georgia Tech (7-3), who defeated Auburn.

Furthermore, as HP mentions, all those teams don't play one another. You're never going to see the following games this regular season: Georgia-Alabama, LSU-Georgia, or Florida-Auburn. That means that every one of those five teams will play a maximum of three of those other noted SEC teams. Other than South Carolina, every other SEC team has a losing record. Thus, it's not hard to see how a conference in which half the teams are no good, and the other half plays almost no one of note outside of the conference and miss out on at least one of the other good teams, can produce possibly four teams with 9 nine wins. It's not a big deal, and the SEC should not be lauded for it.

This isn't directed so much at the EDSBS guys or many of the intelligent bloggers out there who don't sound like the various "SEC's #1" idiots out there.  I am, however, staying on message, because it's that attitude that pervades much of the CFB discussion and often unfairly benefits the conference and its member institutions.

This sentiment is echoed by HP, who concludes his entry thusly: 

But this is just another example of a mainstream college football writer giving the SEC the benefit of the doubt. For some reason, it's a benefit that rarely goes to other conferences.

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Reader Comments (13)

the SEC is so overrated...its sick. Half the conference has a losing record...5 of the teams have 2 or less conference wins...and as mentioned in the article it has ONE win vs. a BCS school. Truly pathetic.

it really is amazing that the SEC isn't going to fill all their bowl spots. With as many bad teams as there are in the SEC...tied in with that weak ass scheduling their is no reason for 7 teams not to pick up 6 wins.
November 22, 2005 | Unregistered Commentercsc
csc,
Pathetic? That's funny.
November 23, 2005 | Unregistered CommenterRuteger
RS...btw Vandy beat Wake Forest at the beginning of the season...so they have at least TWO wins against a BCS conference.
November 23, 2005 | Unregistered Commentercsc
Ruteger,

yes...the SEC and their fans are funny.
November 23, 2005 | Unregistered Commentercsc
why did I say RS? Who is RS?
November 23, 2005 | Unregistered Commentercsc
nevermind...I misread the quote about wins vs. other BCS schools
November 23, 2005 | Unregistered Commentercsc
csc,
Walk around calling the SEC "pathetic" and people will think you're funny. "Overrated" is fair. There are good arguments for the SEC being overrated this year (none of which are very conclusive IMO...yet). "Pathetic" is funny.
November 23, 2005 | Unregistered CommenterRuteger
first, I didn't say the SEC was pathetic...I said one win vs. a BCS school is pathetic.

second, I did say they were overrated.

glad we agree.
November 23, 2005 | Unregistered Commentercsc
"none of which are very conclusive IMO...yet"


not really sure what else is needed to prove this. half the conference has losing records tied in with some of the easiest scheduling in the country (if you don't believe me just take an average of any number of SOS computations...you'll probably find its in the 60s...not all that great).

so basically we have a conference who schedules weak...half that conference can't win even with that weak scheduling and the other half beating up on those teams that can't win.

There's not much more to it.
November 23, 2005 | Unregistered Commentercsc
Are we still having this debate?

Look: you can find a statistic that shows every conference to be strong, every conference to be weak.

The SEC might have 5 8-win teams. Only the ACC can match that (with FSU and GT wins) Great. The SEC has 6 teams with losing records. OK.

The Pac 10 might only have 4 bowl eligible teams if Arizona beats ASU again. That's a lower percentage than the SEC.

You can come up with anything to say anything. It's why sweeping general statements like Hayes' are foolish.

And won't the strength of schedule argument ever die? Seriously. Schedules are set years, even decades, in advance(Notre Dame scheduled Washington the year after they won the national title, and now they're 2-9). What might look like a "tough" opponent at the time of scheduling, might look weak when they get around to playing. There are hundreds of different motivations and restrictions placed upon teams for scheduling (neutral site games, required local rivalries, etc). It is axiomatic that every single major conference plays OOC games against weaker opponents. This year the Pac 10 had games against Sacramento State, UC-Davis, Portland State and New Mexico State. The Big 10 plays plenty of MAC teams. The Big XII played Montana State, Sam Houston, Texas State, Indiana State and a slew of Sun Belt teams. The ACC played Eastern KY, Virginia Military, Temple, The Citadel and some other weak teams. Every conference plays bad opponents. Every conference plays good opponents too. The SEC this year played USC, Louisville, FSU, Arizona State, Georgia Tech, Notre Dame, and a few other bowl teams (UCF, Boise State, Memphis).

These arguments are jsut so tired.
November 23, 2005 | Unregistered CommenterLD
"It is axiomatic that every single major conference plays OOC games against weaker opponents"


but the problem is that the SEC does it more than anybody else...and at home....and this can be proven.



I do belive that the SEC leads the country in playing 7 1AA teams this year...I could be wrong...but that's still a pretty high number.
November 23, 2005 | Unregistered Commentercsc
You are wrong. Big XII has played 8.

And the Pac 10 leads in Division II teams played (and lost to).

All of it doesn't mean a thing. Your argument is flawed two ways:

1) Imputing that a "conference" plays a tough or weak schedule. No, each team plays its own schedule. The fact that "the SEC played 7 Division 1-AA teams" doesn't mean anything in terms of individual teams in the SEC who didn't play a D1AA team. Texas Tech played 2 D1AA teams. Oklahoma played two one-loss teams. Does that "cancel out" one another? No. No conferences play schedules. Teams do. And it is idiotic to knock one team's schedule because of what other teams in their conference do for scheduling. It's like saysing USC's schedule sucks because Cal scheduled the worst team in D1A (New Mexico State), a terrible D1AA team (Sacramento State) and the worst team of any BCS conference (Illinois). This is illogical, but it's what you're doing to the SEC. Georgia may end up playing three bowl teams OOC. But that doesn't matter because Mississippi State played Murray State?

2) Suggesting that because a conference plays a weaker schedule, the teams themselves are therefore weaker. This argument only holds water if teams lose to weaker opponents. And this is not so. In your original comment, you say that the SEC is weak because there are only 6 bowl eligible teams AND the conference schedules weakly. Here are the OOC losses by non-bowl eligible SEC teams: USC (Ark), Louisville, Indiana (Kentucky), Wyoming (Ole Miss), Houston (MSU), Notre Dame (UT), and MTSU (Vandy). Of those losses, only the MTSU loss was an upset. So if Vandy beats MTSU (a game nobody outside of the Nashville-Murfreesboro corridor cared about), the SEC gets 7 bowl teams and then what? The SEC is suddenly better?

The SEC is top heavy this year. So is the Pac 10. So is the Big XII. Only the ACC and Big 10 can argue that they have depth top to bottom. Every conference has played poor opponents and good opponents out of conference. And any discussion on "who's the best" is mere conjecture and opinion (which everyone is entitled to).

November 25, 2005 | Unregistered CommenterLD
Georgia, Florida, LSU, Auburn, Alabama
So now there's 3 wins against BCS conferences....out of 4 games.
November 27, 2005 | Unregistered Commenterruteger

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