SEC is tough, no doubt, but routinely overrated in the preseason
(Los Angeles, CA)
No one can legitimately say the SEC isn't a very very tough conference. It's the toughest football conference more years than it should be, but not every year like so many SEC fans think it is.
First of all, the way the BCS and rankings go, the pre-season rank actually means quite a bit. If you get a good pre-season ranking and can win your first few non-conference games, you can hold onto that ranking for quite a while and that's where the bias really shows.
Not only are they overrated pre-season, they schedule the weakest non-con. opponents of ANY conference.
Biggest Bullies --
5 out of the top 10 "biggest bullies" are SEC teams. Meanwhile the Pac-10 has the toughest non-conference schedule.
So an SEC team gets overrated to start the season, then they beat up on 2-3 weak schools and before you know it they're in the top 10. Even unranked SEC teams start showing up in the top 25 and by the end of the season, SEC fans will say, "look how tough our conference schedule is, played #18 South Carolina in week 4, #22 Alabama in week 5, #3 LSU in week 8, #19 Tennessee in week 10. That's 4 ranked teams!!!!"
Strength of schedule calculations get all screwed up and before you know it, USC gets booted out of a national championship game even though everyone knows (ap and coaches #1 ranking) they were the best team in the country at the time.
As a Pac-10 fan, I'll willingly admit that the SEC is tougher than the Pac-10 most years, especially at the top where the SEC will have 2-3 top tier teams, but in the middle of the conference, the Pac-10 is generally better. The worst Pac-10 team is better than the 8th or 9th SEC team. Some years that favors the SEC and some it favors the Pac-10, and I think it shows when you look at the head to head match-ups in recent years.
Anyways, hats off to you SEC fans that can keep things rational. I'm going to make it a Bucket List item that I have to attend an SEC home game and tailgate one of these days. That's one area I KNOW the Pac-10 can't hold a candle to the SEC.
Editor's Note: Thanks Pac-Man, you make an interesting argument. Though, after watching Alabama, with 10 freshman, pummel Clemson (best of the ACC) -- I don't think the SEC is overrated. I do think the Pac-10 is pretty good. Especially this year.