PHONE'S RINGING -- IT'S URBAN ON THE LINE
This article is simply wonderful!
Key word, top to bottom. It is undeniable that the SEC is the best at the top, which is the only spot anyone cares about and why so much attention is given to the SEC.
Have been ranting this for years. Where was the SEC the last century? We as a program have been solid for generations.
This is brilliant. I want the book too.
It seemed like this all started after the '06 game against Florida. The media was really behind the B1G and OSU at that point, but flipped immediately after. It was almost as if they were embarrased by picking OSU and childishly rebelled against with a "no no I actually think the SEC is better" attitude... like how kids always jump to the winning side as quickly and as hard as possible and never stand up for their real beliefs. It was only enhanced with the media deal signed in '08.
@Steensen, I don't think I've ever really been convinced that they're even better at the top, at least not each of the last 6 years.
I think they are better at the top and in the middle really. I mean the 2nd best B1G team last season beat the 4th best SEC team by 3 in OT in a bowl game last season. You had another team in South Carolina that won more than 10 games, and I'd be more than willing to bet they were better than Nebraska or Michigan last season. In fact they beat Nebraska pretty easily in their bowl matchup. Ohio State and Florida were about the same in the conference and Florida beat us up last year.
So yeah, maybe 4 teams int he top 10 is a stretch, but honestly they are very a very good conference, and I don't know why people have such a hard time admitting that.
Seriously, BT, did you even read that article?
It's about the self-fulfilling prophecy of preseason polls. Much like the confirmation bias you appear to suffer from in picking results of a couple games to prove to yourself that the SEC is something ESPN and others have made them out to be. The OSU-Florida game (a home game for Florida) in that sort of year PROVES something? Really? Come on.
I think this says it all if you don't care to read the article:
Witness the record since the start of the BCS era in 1998:
SEC vs. PAC-12 regular season: 10-12
SEC vs. PAC-12 bowl games: 1-0
SEC vs. Big 12 regular season: 6-10
SEC vs. Big 12 bowl games: 21-8
SEC vs. ACC regular season: 42-36
SEC vs. ACC bowl games: 16-9
SEC vs. Big 10 regular season: 7-4
SEC vs. Big 10 bowl games: 19-19
SEC vs. Big East regular season: 16-15
SEC vs. Big East bowl game: 3-8
Reading this article also makes me sick about the plus one agreement that means college football will be stuck in this rut for at least another decade. I would bet the SEC will have 2 teams in the final four at least every other year, if not more. And of course, they'll get to play at least 50% of those games at home as well.
If they are self fulfilling prohpecies then the SEC would get stomped in bowl games by that same standard. But it seems when the SEC does get into the bowl games, they far well or better than 50/50. Even with "homefield" advantage that is pretty good. I'm sorry, but IMO this is a swing and a miss.
If they have a self fulfilling prophecy, they should get whooped in bowl games because they would be seeded too high, but instead they don't. Seems to me that their record supports their seeding because they prove it.
Face it, the SEC is tops right now. Doesn't mean the other conferences are worthless, just that they they are not tops.
I read the article and maybe it's not overwhelmingly better TOP TO BOTTOM, but it is better from 1-6. The article doesn't give you the stats on what the rankings of the teams head to head were or what place in the conference teams where when playing in bowls. If the number 3 B1G team plays the number 6 SEC team in the Holiday Bowl is the outcome really that shocking if the B1G team wins. I'm not saying I prescribe to the idea that Kentucky or Vandy could go anywhere else and win the conference, that's a bunch of BS. I do think, though, if you look at last year There were 5 teams in the SEC that very well could of won the B1G and I don't think there were any teams from the B1G who would of won the SEC. I certainly think those same 5 teams WOULD of won the Big East and ACC.
I do agree with the article that the preseason rankings drive the strength of schedule and allow for a team like Auburn to cover a lot of ground in the rankings really fast. I would also say, though, who on earth was going to beat Auburn that year? What Auburn did coming into the year ranked so low and winning a BCS title wasn't unprecedented though. Oklahoma kind of came out of nowhere in their BCS title year as well.
Again though, showing a bunch of head to head stats against different conferences really doesn't prove the conference is or isn't good. It doesn't account for USC when they were awesome playing an inferior Arkansas for a couple of years, or Oregon beating up on Tennessee in the recent years. It would be a compelling argument if they really broke it down and showed rankings and position teams were in in their conference when they played eachother. Without that, giving those comparisons is no different than my original comparison that you were so offended by.
Pen - You do understand that the "ESPN" poll is not voted on by ESPN employees right? It's voted on by coaches(SIDs) and it appears most coaches feel the same way about the SEC. I agree that the media(all media, not just ESPN) is probably a little too high on the SEC at times and the figures listed above are certainly interesting, but you simply cannot say that the SEC is not the best CFB conference.
Heard it all before, unfortunately most people only read headlines. Until a PAC, Big XII or Big Ten team wins it all the same headlines will still exist.
At BT - VERY well said.
I'm not buying it. The article is a case of looking too deeply into the numbers which creates spin. At the end of the year, I've rarely had a problem with rankings on the whole-- the system basically works itself out with a few minor glitches. But the overall picture, I believe, ends up being accurate.
The SEC is king until they are beaten. Maybe even consistently beaten. One National Championship lost by the SEC won't erase this notion.
The SEC is the best conference in football, it just is. I do not want it to be...but it just is. We can write and read articles all day long about how it's not as good as the media or SEC fans claim it to be, but it's really really good. If a conference wins 6 National Championships in a row it would be dumb for media outlets to not jump on the bandwagon and enjoy the gravy train while it lasts. I do not know about you but I am fairly certain in my lifetime that the Big Ten will never win 6 National Championships in a row....especially by 4 different teams in the conference, and 3 of those teams having 2 Championships in a 10 year block. That is just ridiculous.
"Without that, giving those comparisons is no different than my original comparison that you were so offended by."
Except for the whole concepts of small sample size and selection bias. Anyone can hand pick resullts of two or three games to argue one way or another. Obviously I am wasting my time with this discussion.
"I agree that the media(all media, not just ESPN) is probably a little too high on the SEC at times and the figures listed above are certainly interesting, but you simply cannot say that the SEC is not the best CFB conference."
That appears to be the crux of the article, and the sentiments of my argument as well. Regardless of whether the SEC wins the BCS and has one or two other top teams each year, the system of college football is deeply flawed. The polls, the postseason, the regular season. That's it. The SEC is currently on top right now, but not by as much as the media says they are. I see no sound argument or evidence to the contrary.
Penult, you aren't grasping the point I'm trying to make, just showing a head to head results doesn't tell the full story is what I'm trying to say. It's just as lazy of a comparison as what you are acusing those of small sample size. If the artical had some statistical analysis comparing the head to head matchups. What percentage of the games paired power teams from another conference against low to mid teams in the other. How many of the bowl matchups where the SEC lost to another conferece had the SEC facing a higher placed team from another conference?
Do I think they are astronimically better than any other conference in football? Absolutely not, but they are better than everyone else. I don't think that's so horrible to admit.
I do think, the B1G will get close in the near future though. Meyer coming to Ohio State, and the money the school is paying for his staff is going to make the rest of the conference have to step up or watch another decade of dominance. Hoke may get Michigan back and he certainly has a great defensive coordinator as well so we'll see what happens there. The rest of the conference will have to pony up some cash and compete for great coaching staffs or keep playing mediocre to poor football. If they open up the wallet which keeps getting more money every year, and get guys who know how to coach quality football, they may be able to get quality recruits and compete.
I despise the SEC more than anything, I will be rooting for Michigan come that opening day in Dallas.
The SEC is best and the gap is going to start widening unless something is done soon. Recruits are drawn to schools that get publicity, and ESPN is hyping the SEC 24 hours a day. Recruits see this, and go to those schools, so those schools have the best players. Then, those schools win titles...and with those titles, are able to bring in the best kids....
I just wish they'd make the SEC play by the same rules as everyone else. Not hard to keep winning titles when you sign an extra 20-30 kids in a 4 year window and essentially have a full extra recruiting class than your opponent, lol. What a bad joke.
I commented to my friends watching the LSU-Bama regular season game last year... "Just watch, ESPN will spend the next week talking about how great a defensive battle this game was, unlike in the B1G, when a 9-6 final score is evidence of just how bad the conference is." Sure enough, I was correct.
I think 2 driving forces that decide where a kid goes to school are proximity to home and the coach. Look at the impact Urban has had to on recruiting without actually coaching a down in a game. He has 2 titles, a Heisman winner, and a number 1 overall draft pick. Of course kids want to play for him.
So when you combine the fact that the SEC has Spurrier, Petrino(well used to), Meyer in the past, Saban, Miles, etc, it's no shock that kids want to play for these guys. Saban has 3 titles, that's INSANE, it's so hard to win 1 in the current climate. So, coaching is huge, kids don't want to go and play for someone that can't get them to the NFL or get them to a championship.
The other thing you have to consider is, the highschool talent is immense down there. Florida and Georgia are full of great recruits. Louisiana and South Carolina have produced some nice players the last few years. Texas was close to their footprint but now is part of the SEC footprint.
So I believe that the coaching plus proximity to elite high school talent is a perfect storm for great programs, not the fact that ESPN puts them on TV or talks about them a lot. If a Kid can stay relatively close to home and play for an incredible coach, why would they go 800 miles away to play for Bielema?
I read that article earlier today, and I do certainly agree that the preseason polls are a self-fulfilling entity. ESPN's stranglehold ownership on college football is a major culprit. And it is despicable and eggregious, and I'm shocked more university presidents aren't expressing outrage over it.
HOWEVER, the article fails to mention how the SEC has fared in the actual BCS bowls. The SEC has been there 23 times, and won 16 times. Only one other major conference is above 0.500 in those bowls, and that's the Pac-12 (largely because of one team, USC). The Big Ten has been to more BCS bowls (25), and has won only 11 (most of those wins coming from Ohio State). The article does mention the MWC's superiority in win % in BCS bowls over the SEC, but it's a 0.750 to 0.696 advantage...so it's not that mind-boggling.
The SEC has certainly been given an advantage over all the other conferences in terms of propelling teams to being top-ranked and brought into the national title game. But those top teams have delivered. If the rankings over the course of a season were wrong, then the SEC champ would lose at least some of those title games. We have had relatively little controversy regarding whether the SEC champion deserves to be there (2003 and 2004 are really the only years that come to mind). In all the other years, any other deserving team (like USC or Texas) failed to match the SEC champ in W-L record, and therefore could be eliminated from consideration.
So, I hate the SEC dominance as much as the next guy. But, Florida State, Oklahoma (twice), Ohio State (twice), and Oregon were all given their shot and failed to deliver...sometimes in catastrophic fashion. The only teams that got home field advantage were LSU in 2003 and 2007 and Florida in 2008...only one was a true blow-out.
Rise up and beat them. That's all that can be done.
Another tidbit from the article I don't agree with:
This will become even more true, not less so, with the additional variables introduced by a four-team playoff.
This will become even more true, not less so, with the additional variables introduced by a four-team playoff.
Let's say you have LSU 13-0, Oklahoma 11-1, Ohio State 11-2, and USC 11-2. In a BCS year with polls, LSU and Oklahoma go to the national title, no if's, and's, or but's about it. However, the article itself makes the claim to the effect of, "Well, how do you KNOW the SEC and BigXII are superior to the Big Ten and Pac-12 based on win/loss records or preseason perceptions? Maybe the reason OSU and USC lost an extra game because their schedule was actually tougher, but the system didn't recognize it."
A playoff fixes this, because all 4 will be selected for the playoff. That way, you'll get to see USC and Ohio State play games against the other two.
I'm really excited for the playoff seasons to start. Will be some really exciting games. Just hope we get to be a part of them.
I'm kind of in the middle of the argument. On the one hand, there's NO DOUBT in my mind that ESPiN over-hypes the SEC b/c of their monetary investment in the conference. The garbage that talking-heads will continue to spit about how the SEC has "superior speed" than all other conferences is just hogwash. Its a myth. This also brings up more ammo for those who would like to do away with pre-season rankings. Start the first poll rankings at the mid-point of the season (around week 8?), and that would solve many issues immediately.
However, I do believe that the reason the SEC is so successful is b/c of greater depth (**cough** oversigning **cough, cough**) and superior line play. Their defensive fronts set them apart. They also have great coaches, and boosters who will do anything to win, whether it's legal or not.
Also, I believe our very own Urban F. Meyer said that the SEC will remain on top until teams start beating them consistently. He's even said that the level of talent in the B1G isn't what it is in the SEC right now. Does this mean the B1G can't compete or even beat the SEC?? Of course not. But thats going to continue to be the perception until other conferences start winning head-to-head matchups, especially high profile ones, on a regular basis.
Playing bowl games in your own back yard every year certainly doesn't hurt, but B1G and Ohio State fans (including myself) need to quit using that as an excuse. Treat it like a road game, and go out and be extra focused and go win the game. I hate to bring this up, but its the best example I can think of..... but look at Penn State's history in bowl games under Paterno. His record in the post-season was exceptional, and they come from the very same region that the eastern part of the B1G comes from. If they can win that many "road" bowl games, there's no reason why Ohio State and other top B1G programs can't start doing the same.
I agree about the bowl games, they've been playing them in SEC, PAC12, and Big12 country for years, it's only become an issue because they are winning the games and titles more lately.
BT - The totality of results against matchups with other conferences is far, and I mean far, better than your examples or anything you proposed. The analysis you are proposing is like intentionally injecting confounders into the analysis. Taking evey result is more akin to randomizing, which is effectively the best option for dealing with confounders. What you seem to be failing to grasp is that for all the times a mid or lower tier SEC teams plays an upper tier team from another conference, an upper tier SEC team is playing a lower tier team of another conference. By taking all the results of matchups with other conferences it is already balanced out, at least as well as it is going to be. And, besides, I think the result of the 3rd or 4th best SEC team not being able to beat the 2nd best team of another conference is not only a valid result, it is exactly the point. SEC teams are always ranked higher than other teams because of the perception that has been created that the conference is better. SEC teams are credited more for in-conference wins and lose less with in-conference losses than other teams, exactly because of this myth that the 3rd, 4th,5th,6th SEC team is better than the 2nd, 3rd, or even 1st team of other conferences. Except that they are not. And the numbers show this.
Bucksfan - I think the point about the playoff (plus one, more accurately) is that the SEC will be represented by 2 SEC teams most of the time. So, it won't be like your counter example, but more like OU and USC one year plus 2 SEC teams then USC and OSU plus 2 SEC teams the next year. I agree there may be a chance that your example could happen and one of the teams from another conference could get a more legitimate shot to knock off the SEC. However, the article, I think, presented the argument that preseason polls and the media-driven perception that SEC teams are better from top to bottom, creates a situation where the SEC is set up to succeed. I can't imagine two teams from another conference being selected (even OSU and UM in 2006) in the near future. However, with the current system, it's seems likely the SEC will have two teams in the final four. Not taking into account other factors, that gives the SEC a 66% chance of not having to play each other in the first round, which means a 50/50 chance of winning (compared to 1/4 for other conferences) it all, and really a 1/4 chance of playing each other in the championship. Not only is that a big leg up, and self-perpetuate that perception that the SEC is way ahead of everyone else. I know it's about "doomsday" but it's not unrealistic. That's what I took from that point, at least.
So by your logic then, the SEC fans are right, Ohio State couldn't compete in the SEC at all, and you know why, 0-10!!!!! Of course that's not right,but looking at overall bowl record, which are most of the games they play against the SEC , Ohio State can't hang down there. No need to analyze how the games went or who they played, they just can't beat em. Besdies, overall bowl record is the best indication to tell how the best program in the B1G the last 10 years or so could stack up againgst the SEC.
Let me correct myself, we're only talking about the BCS era so to be fair it would be 0-5.
AC - I agree with each of your points. Well said.
I remember a few years (probably more than 3) ago watching an ESPN college football show and an NFL show back to back. On the CFB show the analysts (do we have to call people like Mark May and Lou Holtz and Chris Berman etc. analysts?) argued vehemently that differences in weather for northern teams and southern teams would not impact either in any meaningful way. Then, in the NFL show talking about the playoff matchups everyone pined and worried about the Ravens (or maybe Patriots or Jets) defense struggling and hitting a wall because of the warm and humid weather expected in Miami.
Sometimes saying "don't make excuses" is a way to inform and motivate, because the hand your dealt is the hand your dealt. You can't change it, you just have to make the best of it. And, it's also true in most situations that others aren't going to feel sorry for you or sympathize with your disadvantage(s).
Other times, saying "don't make excuses" is an illogical cliche used to win an argument even if you're wrong.
Personally, I've been through several football seasons in Ohio. The change from the blistering heat of two-a-days, to the ideal weather in early season, to the brutal cold is unmistakable and undeniable. It's not just having to play with cold hands and noticeable difference in the way your helmet rings. The worst adjustment when the weather changes is breathing, especially when you have to breathe deep. The physiological changes in your blood, red blood cells, etc. play a part as well. Bodies are adapted to the climate they live in and it doesn't change in a day or two.
So, it's not just that B1G teams, for example, are geared towards playing in winter weather, players' bodies are adapted to winter weather, and thus not adapted to Florida and New Orleans weather. Whether this is a meaningful disadvantage or not, I don't know, but I do see the bowl games as more than just road games. Is it an excuse? Maybe. But it shouldn't be dismissed outright.
I don't get why media covering the NFL discuss it so freely (e.g., almost any team having to play in Denver, how the AFC North has to play smash mouth football, how a defense from a northern team will be affected by having to play at a sourthern team in the playoffs, etc.), but the media covering NCAA football tries to bury it like an unwanted redheaded stepchild. Oh wait, I do get it, it doesn't fit into their narrative.
It's also BS that midwest fans will have to travel to not one but two locations that are as far away as possible from their homes if their team makes it to the championship. Superbowls can be played in Indy and NY, but bowl games can't?
10 games = small sample size. Why can't you understand that? Look at OSU's regular season record against the SEC.
I also disagree that bowl record is the best way to compare. I don't know where you get that. Almost all the games are home games for one conference, whereas they would be split in regular season. And bowl game matchups are manipulated. Bowl games are also terrible examples for a slew of other reasons. Teams play 11 or 12 games and then take a MONTH off. People seem to underestimate how important something like depth is after playing almost every week and then taking a month off. Guess who the queen of depth is? Yep, Oversigning. Want to make some money? Look at which team in a bowl matchup has signed more players over the last 5 years and bet the moneyline on that team.
Penult - Having 2 SEC teams in the playoff every year is nothing to worry about...until it is. That's the great thing about the selection committee. They may shun a top-4 ranked SEC team in favor of another team that won their conference. If you're right, and if we get 2 SEC teams in the playoff, THEN we can start to complain. But the purpose of having a selection committee, the purpose behind Delany proposing it, was to avoid having that senario (at least we have to hope that's the case).
Penult, I'm just making a comparison of 14 years of the BCS era and how much Ohio State has played the SEC. Forgive me, but I thought those 5 games where the only games they had, and of course that bowl game that doesn't count. I completely understand sample size, but again, just pointing out an overall record for a 14 year period really doesn't tell the full story. THATS MY POINT. There needs to be further analysis to really make it more meaningful.
I look at baseball as an example. I'd say most can agree over the last 10-15 years the AL East has been the best division in the MLB. Now collectively, as a divison, head to head against other divsions their overall record is probably around 500, plus or minus. They don't completely dominate every one else all the time, and being baseball there's a far larger sample size because they play so many games. That doesn't mean that if you put their 2nd and sometimes 3rd place teams in another division that they wouldn't win the division. If the Rays or Boston most years had to play the the slate in the NL or AL Central most years, it's absolutely fair to say they would fare well if not win those divisions.
Do they always win their playoff games against other divisional opponents? Nope, do they always win the world series? Nope, but that doesn't mean that year in and year out they aren't the best division.
I started reading this book. It's pretty good. I recommend it.
Just got done with Chapter 4 on college football. Every single person needs to read this book.
Pre-season AP is a complete joke, it would be nice if polls were not released until after the 3rd week of play.
here's the formula: (Oversigning+biased reporting) = SEC
"Without winners, there wouldn't even be civilization."
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