Is the SEC the Strongest Conference in College Football?
by Paul Grossinger
(Baltimore, MD )
Is it time to proclaim the SEC as the strongest conference in college football? While many analysts will declare this old news, especially considering that the SEC has won four of the last six national titles, I always felt this was premature. However, with injuries and upsets plaguing Oklahoma and Oklahoma State and USC again likely out of title contention after an embarrassing loss to Washington, perhaps it is time to officially crown the SEC.
From an analytical point of view, a lot has changed since last years’ bowl games. At that point, the big story was Big 12 versus SEC with Pac 10 powerhouse USC and even Penn State also in the top five. Despite the fact that Florida was atop the rankings at the end of last season, it was followed by Oklahoma, Texas, USC, Penn State, and Texas Tech; with Alabama as the only other representative of the SEC in the BCS bowls. Indeed, while Florida won the title in dominant fashion, Alabama was embarrassed by mid-major Utah in the Sugar Bowl.
However, since that point, Oklahoma has been upset after the loss of several important starters including Heisman winner Sam Bradford and TE Jermaine Gresham, USC is out of the title chase after another loss to an unranked non-contender, Tech has fallen off the map with the loss of both QB Graham Harrell and WR Michael Crabtree, and, while it remains in the top 5 in this years’ poll, Penn State looks quite ordinary. As such, with four of the top 7 teams-numbers one Florida, three Alabama, four Mississippi, and seven LSU, it appears that the SEC does indeed have a stranglehold on the rankings.
Barring an embarrassing loss for one of these teams a la USC or a slate of unpredictable and devastating injuries, it appears it will stay that way for the foreseeable future.