3. The SEC is just better at college football
The SEC is even better than it gets credit for.
Fans outside of the SEC despise anything that praises the best conference in college football, and why not? It’s really, really annoying.
It’s not fair for an elite Clemson program to always have to deal with knocks on its ACC schedule – like it had anything to do with Florida State and the rest of the conference being awful over the last few seasons.
It’s been no fun for the Big Ten – especially Ohio State fans – to keep hearing about how amazing that other league is.
Everyone holds parades any time an SEC team gets whacked in non-conference play – as if a loss by Vanderbilt or Arkansas is representative of the entire league – and the screaming is deafening every time the suggestion is made that a loss to an elite SEC team is somehow okay.
Throw in the perception that the SEC gets every break from the CFP and rankings types – it took a loss to Auburn and four no-question options to keep Alabama out – and the angst is real.
This year, Arkansas was miserable. So was Vanderbilt. Tennessee lost to Georgia State and BYU, Ole Miss lost to Memphis, Kansas State took down Mississippi State, Wyoming stunned Missouri, South Carolina lost to North Carolina and Appalachian State, and …
The SEC went 8-2 in the bowls.
Florida beat the ACC runner-up in the Orange. Georgia took out the Big 12 runner-up in the Sugar. Tennessee beat Indiana, Kentucky got by Virginia Tech, Alabama took down Michigan, Texas A&M beat Oklahoma State, and LSU was able to slip past the Big 12 and ACC champions.
Five of the top 13 teams and six of the top 16 teams in the preseason polls were from the SEC. That’s 38% of the nation’s preseason top 16 taken up by one conference.
And how did things look at the end of the season?
Two of the top four teams, four of the top eight – there’s NO excuse for Oklahoma to be 6 and Florida 7 in the Coaches Poll, by the way – and five of the top 14 are from the SEC.
HA! So the SEC was actually a little bit worse than it was in the preseason rankings. Yeah, because Texas A&M was ranked in the preseason top 12 in both polls, and who did it lose to?
Final-ranked No. 1 LSU, No. 2 Clemson, No. 4 Georgia, No. 8 Alabama, No. 14 Auburn.
And then there’s the matter of the national championship.
2018 Clemson, 2016 Clemson, 2014 Ohio State and 2013 Florida State. Those are the only four teams outside of the SEC to win the national title in the 14 seasons between 2006 and 2019.
Look, I don’t like it any more than you do.
For what I do, I’d love it if the Pac-12 became a powerhouse from top-to-bottom. It would be awesome if ACC was amazing, and for more teams from a variety of conferences to legitimately be among the best in the country.
But that’s not going to happen anytime soon.
The SEC was responsible for 25% of the 2019 NFL Draft. It once again crushed everyone else by 100 miles in the recruiting rankings, and the talent level continues to be in a whole other world compared to the other leagues.
That doesn’t mean Ohio State, Clemson, and going forward, Oregon and Oklahoma take a back seat to anyone. But what did we learn this year?
When in doubt, default to the idea that the top level of the SEC is just better at this college football thing.