As an "SEC fan" this only validates what I've ever said: That OSU would most likely not go undefeated with an SEC schedule. The difference in OSU's and Bama's schedule changes your chances from over 50% all the way to 18%. You ended the season as the nation's best team, no one is disputing that - just pointing out that your road back to the playoffs is ridiculously easy.
I don't think Lubbock is considered SEC territory, though it is in Texas - it is 430 miles from the nearest SEC school afterall (Arkansas played there in 2014).
Overall, the B1G schedules many more games away from B1G territory than the SEC.
True, but you have one luxury in that calculation that works against the SEC rather strongly: the B10 owns their footprint pretty much exclusively whereas the SEC shares most of its area with the ACC, and some with the B12. As a result, you are able to conveniently leave out the yearly rivalry games between USC-Clemson, Florida-FSU, and Ga-Ga Tech (and often recurring KY-Louisville), as well as many of the other inter-conference games between those conferences. And yes, Bama has played (and is scheduled to play) more neutral site games than I would prefer, but to suggest that OSU's game in Blacksburg (barely 300 miles from campus) is somehow much more of a test than Bama's game against Wisconsin (double the miles at over 600 miles from campus) solely because of location is laughable.
BTW, since 2000, Bama has played at UCLA ('00), Oklahoma ('02), Hawaii ('03 & '04), FSU ('07 in Jax - a return for an earlier trip to B'ham i think) and Duke ('10) - in addition to the aforementioned PSU.
So, they only schedule neutral games, and only near home ... except when they don't?
Are there any neutral site games being played anywhere else? It's not really the SEC teams that are putting these together - it is a lot like bowl games, where a big sponsor comes in and tries to secure two big-name teams to play their venue.
Answering my own question, I do know LSU is coming to Green Bay in a couple years (after playing in Dallas) to play Wisky in a funny neutral-neutral exchange of games.
Wait, is Boston College a big name now? When did that happen?
The neutral sites are often sponsored by a big, national sponsor and almost always come with national coverage and top billing. You get lots of press in an area of the country that isn't home - and that often has very fertile recruiting grounds (Texas and Georgia), the money isn't bad at all, and a 1 year series is easier to schedule. The only real downside is that you lose the atmosphere of college games. I don't mind it but I do wish Bama would alternate with more home and homes but the line-ups the last several years have been quite good so I can't complain.
Honestly, I don't see what he said this week as giving excuses but that's a pointless argument at this point. (The stuff after the Oklahoma loss was totally excuses) What Saban was doing was using a strategic moment to highlight something that he thinks needs to be addressed. Sure it can come across as whining or excusing to some (especially when that's how the media presents it) but he's said on other occasions that they failed to prepare the team properly and he's taken the blame for that. He sees this platform as a chance to start the ball rolling to change the date of the evaluations - which would be a good thing to do, regardless of what team you pull for (and given the talent Meyer has pulled in, could help you guys as much or more than Bama over the next 4-5 years)
OSU completely dominated the Tide.
Ok. Yet there they were at the end of the game with a chance. Ya'll dominated Wisconsin. Bama dominated Notre Dame a couple years ago. OSU played a great game, they came back from a quick deficit, they were very effective in the trenches and ran the ball well and were admittedly the best team on the field that night - but domination is a bit of a stretch (unless you want to limit it to 3rd down conversions - oh God my eyes bleed when I remember that stat)
I would absolutely put LSU in the Elite category, and would put Georgia in the conversation (they were a couple yards away from a championship in '12) - though they do seem to choke a game away most years. Florida, I would agree has dropped off quite a bit since their last championship. That admittedly leaves a void in the East that either Florida or Tennessee (or both) will fill in the next few years. I could be wrong - last year's bowl games could have well exposed the weakness of the SEC and we could be on the cusp of a new era that looks more like the '90s, but I'm not betting on it. The talent level and the coaches that are in the SEC are too good for that kind of drop. Ya'll take your shots while you can, I don't see that being the norm.
two of Bama's opponents are FCS.
No, only one. Middle Tennessee is in C-USA. And don't forget: last time Bama played La Monroe, they lost.
The reality is Miss' QB was abysmal when he needed to play well.
And no longer had Tredwell to bail him out. Kinda making my point there.
Ole Miss was never going to win the playoff, or the SEC even - they don't have the players to recover from the loss of a major player the way OSU was (and make no doubt about that, OSU's ability to do that was incredible and ya'll got my respect for it.).
You can't base current status off of PAST success ... ... and over the last few years, MSU has proven they are more that just "good".
You and Dave (below) make a good point, but you don't become an elite team over one season - that is not a status given to a single team in a given year. It is given to a program and is earned over several years - often after the fact. Bama lost 3 games in 2010 - but looking back you would have to be blind not to consider them an elite team, even in that year. As such, one bad bowl season does not wipe out the previous year's trend. Sure, you can hope that it is a sign that the SEC has lost its strength but I'd wait a bit on the eulogy if I were you.
mobile posting. Figured it was obvious enough.
It was absurd last year, when about Week 2 or 3 of the College Football Playoff weekly rankings show, 4 out of the top 5 were teams from the SEC West.
Criticism is easiest with hindsight. At that point in history, the SEC west appeared to be just that - and it wasn't ESPN bias. There wasn't a single loss in the SECw to any team outside of the SECw until October 18, and with wins over then-respected teams like West Virginia, Wisconsin, Boise St, K State, and Tx Tech it wasn't all SEC data they were pulling from. In fact, The SECw went 38-4 (all 4 losses at the hands of the top 2 teams from the East) on season against out of division competition. Yes, there are way too many FCS and other weak teams, but this includes the East top-to bottom. That was impressive as hell ... well until the post-season :(
Actually, I don't watch any ESPN this time of year.
Ole Miss beat Bama last year (by about the same margin OSU did). They lost a couple bad games at the end of the year, but if you recall, they lost their best player on the last play of the Auburn game and were never the same without him. I would say they will be better than the average B10 team by a decent margin.
Auburn is actually picked to win the West this year more than Bama is - and Arkansas is a much better team than their record last year showed, but I won't argue with you if you want to remove them.
but tell me there is a huge difference between the middle of the sec and MN, PSU, NEB, WISC, Rutgers.
Since you only listed Bama as elite from the SEC, I'll take huge issue with that. How many national championships does your B10 list have? SEC teams you didn't list as elite (and I must only assume you consider middle of the pack) have 4 national championships in the last 10 years (and 2 other appearances). That's significant. The biggest accomplishment any of those B10 teams have is Wisky's B10 championship (with 5 losses) or their win over Auburn in last year's bowl game.
I agree that MSU is a good team - but I don't know that they quite deserve "elite" status just yet - certainly not if Auburn, LSU, or Georgia from the SEC don't.