“They’ve brought this on themselves…”

Playoff selection committee, be forewarned.  Matt Hayes will be yelling bloody murder about the SEC’s non-conference scheduling when crunch time comes.

I’m not really sure why the hard-on, though, based on his own compiled stats.

Keeping score (three of five Power 5 conferences analyzed):

Games against Power 5 teams: Big Ten (30 percent); ACC (30 percent); SEC (20 percent)

Games against Group of 5 teams: SEC (55 percent); Big Ten (52 percent), ACC (45 percent)

Games against FCS teams: ACC (25 percent), SEC (25 percent); Big Ten (18 percent)

That’s not the only puzzler.

Georgia, which recently signed a home-and-home series with Notre Dame (2017 and 2019), is the only SEC team to play two games against Power 5 teams. That distinction brings a brutal September: Clemson, at South Carolina, Troy, Tennessee — the same Tennessee that should have beaten Georgia last season.

Tennessee is the key to Georgia’s brutal September?  I guess if the Dawgs are down their top five skill position players, maybe so.

Hayes makes the best argument against his argument when he cites Auburn.

For those thinking Auburn is a national title contender, consider this: The Tigers haven’t won a road non-con game against a BCS/Power 5 team since 1997, when Terry Bowden’s Auburn team went into Charlottesville and beat Virginia 28-17. Auburn hasn’t won a non-con game against a team west of the Mississippi since a victory over TCU in 1980.

And during that time, Auburn was in the national title conversation in 2004 – and, of course, would have played for a MNC had there not been two other major schools undefeated – won a national title in 2010 and played for another last season.  That non-conference scheduling has really had an impact, Matt.


Filed under SEC Football

33 responses to ““They’ve brought this on themselves…”

  1. Bob

    Auburn tied Oklahoma in the next to last poll of 2004 despite not being ranked high at the beginning of the season. But in the end the voters and computers decided that Auburn had the worst OOC of the three teams. In fact a weaker schedule was frequently given as the main reason they did not make it. Regardless of whether it is true or not, out of conference scheduling was a player then.

    If you think SEC teams are going to be hurt by OOC, think how we will look in 2015 with that horrendous schedule. Thank goodness we wound up getting Alabama because the OOC is really crap.

    In the BCS era, SEC West teams consistently played sorry out of conference schedules. Neither Mississippi team played double digits against BCS teams. Alabama played 13 with 4 true road games which should be embarrassing. Georgia and South Carolina each played 25 and that is not even counting Boise State (UGA 2 and USCe 1). Florida played 21. The east has done ok overall, but the SEC West in general has been a joke.

    And with SEC fatigue running rampant, any slight opening to hit an SEC team may very well be taken. Our schedule next year could have a major impact if we are highly ranked.

    • It took an unusual set of circumstances to keep Auburn out of the title game in 2004.

      You think there’s any doubt that Auburn would have been included in a four-team playoff if it had existed back then?

      • Bob

        No I don’t. But one of the factors was preceived weaker OOC. I really don’t think it was much different than OUs.

        But can you see a Georgia team win the SEC and finish 12-1 in 2015 getting left out if the other teams are say Oklahoma 12-0; USC 12-1; Ohio State 13-0 and FSU 12-1? I realize the odds of all those records happening is slim to none, but our OOC will be a huge albatross around our neck.

        • Bob

          And by the way, at this point there is nothing there to assume that 2016’s schedule will be any better.

        • PTC DAWG

          I have no doubt that a 12-1 SEC Champion will be in the 4, NONE AT ALL.

          • Bob

            Above an undefeated Ohio State, Oklahoma, and once beaten FSU and USC? With an out of conference schedule that is comprised of Southern University, Georgia Southern, ULM and Tech? And with the anti-SEC bias that exists out there. Glad you can be so confident. Again, I realize the scenario of records could be a stretch, but if folks don’t believe there is an anti-SEC bias out there and that any excuse at all to keep a conference team out of the playoff would be treasured, you are living in a fantasy world.

            • Bob

              And I agree, that in almost every scenario a 12-1 SEC team is a lock. But the challenge will be #5 vs #4 and any edge will make a difference and our schedule is horrific next year.

              • uglydawg

                FSU’s “in conference” schedule is the weak point there. If UGA skipped the SEC one year and played an all ACC schedule and went undefeated, the pundits would criticize the weakness of it all.
                For me, you get little respect for winning the ACC.

        • GaskillDawg

          This is a reason I really prefer not to have the playoffs. I realize I am a small minority in my feeling. I have been getting season tickets since 1972 so I am a dedicated UGA fan. I enjoy going to the games and following UGA football and basketball as my recreation. It used to be that if my team went 11-1 (old days scheduling) I was happy as can be because we had a great season. Now getting into the 4 team playoff is the only thing that counts and folks are telling me a 12-1 season would be a tragedy if Condy Rice doesn’t love my team as much as I do.

          Folks complain about Todd Gurley getting money for being shown on a Coke ad ruining their enjoyment of the game. To me a bigger “ruination” is letting a 12-1 season be a disappointment because some group likes OU, OSU, USC and FSU better.

          • Bob

            +1 Couldn’t agree with you more. But it seems that the great majority of fans are obsessed with this playoff stuff. If it were me, we would go back to pre 1994 and have a great array of games on January 1st with Georgia doing just great in NOLA. 🙂

            • Gaskilldawg

              Thanks, Bob. I am glad to know there are at least two who think this way.

              Used to be that the goal was to win the SEC and it was a great season if we did. That is the one thing we can control but we let how others view us as being paramount. It is like having a house you love but wanting to move because someone else likes another neighborhood better.

              • to win the SEC … was a great season if we did.

                Gaskill, still is in my book. I might change, but SEC just as big as anything to me, only slightly under NC.

          • +1 – there are a lot of people who think this the selection committee is going to be a disaster and is only a gateway to an expanded playoff. My perspective is win the SEC and then let the chips fall where they may.

        • uglydawg

          I hope the “committee” has enough football knowledge and sense to not equate winning the ACC or even the Big Slow with winning the SEC.

          • They don’t, Ugly.

            The only hope is they will listen to Archie and Tom Osborne. And maybe Barry Alvarez and Pat Haden (but somehow I don’t have the confidence that those two will defend the SEC, even if the football evidence warrants it).

            And that might be wishful thinking.

        • Good posts, Bob.

          But can you see a Georgia team win the SEC and finish 12-1 in 2015 getting left out if the other teams are say Oklahoma 12-0; USC 12-1; Ohio State 13-0 and FSU 12-1? I realize the odds of all those records happening is slim to none, but our OOC will be a huge albatross around our neck.

          I’ll tell ya what I can see. I can see Georgia, after being the only SEC school to play 2 competitive Major 5 opponents on a consistent basis, getting screwed out of the playoffs with what is likely the best team in the country, because of their OOC schedule that particular year.

          Yeah, I can see that. After 2007, these things are easy to see. Just as I saw the ridiculous targeting rule might very well costs us a game last year. You knew it would cost somebody a game. And it was easy to see it being Georgia. Just as, with this playoff scenario, it’s easy to see Georgia getting the shaft.

          And it’s not conspiracy. It’s just reality.

    • TomReagan

      Auburn is lucky to have been left out of the title game that year. At least now they can claim an undefeated season and play the ‘what if’ game. Otherwise, they would’ve gotten spanked just like Oklahoma did.

      • Macallanlover

        I think that is highly debatable, that was a very good Auburn team. But that is why conference champs should be included in any legit playoff. The argument about OOC is always interesting, and I strongly feel that OOC scheduling should be stepped up, but you cannot talk SOS without acknowledging the in-conference quality games. The SEC doesn’t have to back up to anyone when it comes to having it’s champion respected every year. You don’t win this conference with running a tough gauntlet, especially since the inception of the SECCG.

        • Gaskilldawg

          USC spanked Auburn in Auburn the year before. USC had all it’s stars from 2003 back in 2004 and played better in 2004 than in 2003. USC crushed Oklahoma in the BCS game. You really think Auburn 2004 was 4tds better than Oklahoma?

          • Macallanlover

            I don’t think any one game makes a repeat a sure thing. I doubt OU gets beat again by 4 TDs if they played the next week, and I damn sure don’t think that AU team gets manhandled. One and a quarter years later? Who the hell knows, that was no indicator. I am not knocking that USC team, they were damned good but I am not certain they would have even won the SEC. Wasn’t much close to them in talent in the PAC12 back then, what if they had to bet banged on by comparable athletes 7-8 times every season? That is why I don’t feel you can ever exclude conference champs from the playoffs, just no way to tell.

  2. The national media is already beating the drum to keep a potential 2-loss SEC champion out of the playoff. Not saying it would happen, but I could see a scenario where a Georgia or South Carolina goes 10-2 (7-1) to win the East but lose a close one to Clemson. That team then beats the SEC West champion, the Birmingham suits, and Penn Wagers’ officiating crew in Atlanta to win the SEC. The media starts its drumbeat for a 1-loss OSU or Michigan St. to get in over the SEC champion. The committee complies and the Dawgs or Cocks get left out and told to be happy about the Sugar Bowl.

    I just hope that the sound on the TVs in the committee’s meeting room in Dallas is turned off.

    • uglydawg

      That’s exactly the mindset of the media..and your scenario is not far fetched at all.. The trap was set to screw the SEC and the SEC walked right into it. The “selection committee” will be swayed by the media…and we’ve all seen how much the “media” loves the UGA.
      The only way to make this fair is to expand the number of teams, get rid of the committee and let computers choose the best teams.

      • I hate the concept of the selection committee. The BCS could have easily picked the top 4 with some adjustments to the computer rankings and a reintroduction of a SOS element. I’m still not sold on an 8-team playoff because the final 4 in BCS rankings after championship weekend in December is a pretty solid barometer of the deserving teams. Only if the selection committee stays in place would I agree that expansion of the field is necessary.

      • AusDawg85

        That’s a really interesting POV…besides money, were the playoffs and selection process really about trying to gain parity with the SEC? I hate conspiracy theories, but you have to wonder.

      • The trap was set to screw the SEC and the SEC walked right into it. The “selection committee” will be swayed by the media…and we’ve all seen how much the “media” loves the UGA.

        Whether it was a setup or not, the end result was the same. I was adamantly opposed to the playoff, arguing that, with the BCS, the SEC never had it so good, and would likely lose the level of fair opportunity, that we had enjoyed for more than 5 years with a playoff.

        Not that we had an unfair advantage with the BCS. Nor were we given anything. Quite the contrary. It’s simply that our superiority on the field was finally recognized. Many of us had known for years we were the best conference from top to bottom, and our top 3 or 4 teams could play with anybody. And so on.
        And what the BCS did, was give us the opportunity to prove that. It took some time, about 8 years, because it wasn’t until the run began in 2006 that the country finally began to see what we already knew.

        Anyway, the way things have turned out, that hard-earned opportunity is substantially less than what it was last year. For 3 or 4 years, I warned the SEC guys clamoring for a playoff to be careful what you demand.

        I’m now for an 8-team playoff (16 will be a joke), as I see no other way for the SEC to get a better shake. The impact of playing an SEC schedule will soon be lost from the process. With 8 teams, we might at least get 2 teams in most years, and maybe occasionally 3. I just don’t see that happening with this current setup.

        Like you guys have pointed out, there could easily be a scenario where the SEC Champion gets left out. Especially if that team happens to be Georgia. I feel certain we’ll end up getting screwed, as usual. It’s just a matter of how.

        So, trap or no, we walked right into it.

  3. Dawgaholic

    The SOS metric is misused in college football. It seems for the most part that SOS is measured by aggregate wins and losses of opponents and their opponents. This is flawed as to top ten teams because such a teams chance of beating a 5-7 win team is essentially the same as it’s chance of beating a 2-4 win or less team. However, now a team that beats a 9 win team, 3 7 win teams, 4 6 win teams, 3 5 win teams, and a 4 win team (73 opponent wins) is seen as having played a tougher schedule than a team that beats 4 10 win teams, an 8 win team, 2 4 win teams, 3 3 win teams, and 2 2 win teams (69 opponent wins). The reality though is that the team that played 4 ten win teams played a much tougher schedule. A fairer approach would be one that gave a lot more credit for games against high win teams. For example, you could count opponent wins with a multiplier so that the opposing team got 1 point per win against a team with 5 or less wins, 1.25 for teams with 6-7 wins, 1.5 for teams with 8-9 wins, 1.75 for ten win teams, and 2 points per win for 11 win teams. In this scenario, the team above that played 4 ten win teams gets 103 points where the team that played a lot of 5-7 win teams gets 88.75 points. While such a scenario may not fit for pro football where teams are more balanced, it definitely fits for college football.

    • Dawgaholic

      A couple extra things would be necessary. 12 win teams would count 2.25 points per win and the first loss would net the team 50% of available win points and the second loss would net 25% of available win points. Third losses and beyond would get no points. For loss purposes 13 win teams would count 2.5 points per win.

    • Alkaline

      That’s a really interesting concept. I agree with the sentiment and like what you’re trying to do there. But I just ran the numbers against Oklahoma and Auburn for 2004, and it didn’t really make a difference. Both teams faced 12 opponents with a combined 70 wins. Using the multipliers you suggested, Auburn’s score comes to 89.5 and Oklahoma’s is 88.5 (that includes a 0.5 multiplier I used for Auburn’s game against a 3-win FCS team).

      When the regular season ended that year Oklahoma had only faced one BCS opponent with more than 7 wins and Auburn had faced 4 of them, so I was surprised there wasn’t more differentiation in the scores.

      • Dawgaholic

        Interesting – maybe the numbers could be tweaked. Then again, I thought OU and Auburn were pretty close that year. I did this off the top of my head – I want to run it on 2011 and 2007 and see what happens. I was thinking multiply FCS teams by .2 if 5 wins or less and by .33 if 6 wins or more. Also, not sure what difference it would make but 2004 was an 11 game year so I would adjust the points system down 1 so that a win against a 9 game winner would count like a win against a ten game winner etc.

        I would see the system as an aid to a human poll – not a definite ranking as it doesn’t take into account margin if victories and injuries – think USCe last year with the loss to us at close to full strength or Clemson with the win against us at nearly full strength.

  4. James

    To summarize the comments here: the conference that has been placed by the media into the last 8 national championship games, including an SEC v SEC REMATCH in 2012, is going to get screwed by the media now that there are four spots. And as proof: once, a decade ago, Auburn was justifiably left out when the music stopped, but would have definitely been included in a four-team playoff.

    Got it.

  5. Bulldog Joe

    Now that computers and strength of schedule have been taken out of the national championship picture, why would any major conference program serious about pursuing a national title want to risk an out-of-conference loss?

    Especially on the opponent’s campus?

    It sucks for the fans, but future schedules will reveal which programs are serious about a national title, and which programs are not.