… but it’s certainly louder.
Daily Archives: October 5, 2017
There’s a fair amount of hemming and hawing from SEC head coaches about the apparent lack of conference parity this season, because nobody wants to hand the selection committee any additional ammunition, but Kirby Smart acknowledges the obvious.
Smart said the lopsided scores “certainly could” influence how the College Football Playoff committee or even bowl committees view the strength of the conference at the end of the season. Yet, he cautioned, “there’s a lot of season left. We’re not quite half way. It’ll be interesting to see how it plays out.”
The strength of schedule of SEC teams is eroding, per Brian Fremeau.
Prior to the start of the year, SEC teams laid claim to seven of the eight toughest projected schedules. This week, Auburn (No. 13 SOS) is the only remaining SEC team with an overall schedule strength ranked in the top 25. The Big 12 and ACC lead the way now in the overall schedule strength ratings because, quite simply, they’ll play multiple highly ranked opponents…
On the flip side of that coin is the SEC. My ratings are very high on both Alabama and Georgia, but Auburn and Florida are the only other SEC teams ranked in the FEI top-30 this week. At the beginning of the year, Auburn’s schedule ranked as the toughest with four projected top-10 opponents and nine games against top-50 opponents. This week, they have only a total of three top-10 opponents on their regular season schedule and only five games against the top-50 on their slate.
The top SEC teams are still very formidable, but much of the rest of the league has dropped precipitously. Missouri has dropped 64 spots in the FEI rankings from the start of the year, Ole Miss has dropped 63 spots, LSU has dropped 50 spots, Vanderbilt has dropped 40 spots, Tennessee has dropped 33 spots, Arkansas has dropped 29 spots, and Texas A&M has dropped 26 spots. Seven of the 13 biggest ranking drops in FEI rank from the preseason to date have come from SEC teams.
Again, it’s still early in the year, and several of these SEC teams may recover with a strong finish. And even if they don’t, both Alabama and Georgia could be playoff contenders with an opportunity to carry the torch for the rest of the league. They just may not have the opportunity in the postseason selection debate to lean on the strength of that league in the same way they have in the past.
The problem is that, as we’re in the middle of the season now, there aren’t that many opportunities left for conference schools to notch wins over P5 schools outside the SEC. Florida, Georgia and South Carolina will have their rival games to wrap up the season, but there’s likely to be as much bad news as good out of those. Outside of that, the pickings are rather slim.
I suppose it would help if the blowouts declined, but you look at some of these programs and realize, barring a freakish day in the turnover department, that’s more of a wish than a given. Bottom line, if you’re invested in seeing an SEC presence in the CFP, the programs at the top of the conference probably have less margin for error than in years past.