SEC Dominance Is Not Just At The Top

While watching bowl games involving SEC teams the past few days I've heard a recurring theme from football analysts - "...this team doesn't seem to believe that the SEC is so dominate..." And when Duke was building a large lead over Texas A&M in their first half, there was a mention of the ACC over the SEC.


I thought to myself, "A&M wouldn't be considered one of the top 5 teams in the SEC. While Duke played for their conference championship and would be considered the 2nd or 3rd best team in the ACC."

With the run of consecutive national championships, there is really no argument about the dominance at the very top of the conference. But many media people, and even some top coaches, question the true depth of the SEC.

So I started going back through the bowl games of the previous two seasons (2011-12 and 2012-13) to compare the conference rank of SEC teams with the conference ranks of their opponents. The conference rank of each team is based on conference record and then overall record - not the perceived ranking of the bowl game itself (though you can make arguments to move the rank up or down a spot).

2011-12 Bowls

#1 Alabama vs #2 LSU - both teams from the SEC in Nat. Champ. game.

#3 Georgia (L) vs Mich St.(Big10 #1) 30-33(ot) Outback

#4 S. Carolina (W) vs Nebraska(Big10 #5) 30-13 Cap One

#5 Arkansas (W) vs Kansas St (Big12 #2) 29-16 Cotton

#6 Auburn (W) vs Virginia (ACC #4) 43-24 Chick-Fil-A

#7 Florida (W) vs Ohio St. (Big10 #8) 24-17 Gator

#8 Miss St. (W) vs Wk.Forest (ACC #6) 24-17 Music City

#9 Vandy (L) vs Cinn. (Big East #2) 24-31 Liberty

2012-13 Bowls

#1 Alabama (W) vs N. Dame (Indep #1) 42-14 Nat. Champ.

#2 Georgia (W) vs Nebraska (Big10 #2) 45-31 Cap One

#3 Florida (L) vs Louisville (BigE #1) 23-33 Sugar

#4 Tex A&M (W) vs Oklahoma (Big12 #2) 41-13 Cotton

#5 S. Carolina (W) vs Michigan (Big 10 #3) 33-28 Outback

#6 LSU (L) vs Clemson (ACC #2) 24-25 Chick-Fil-A

#7 Vandy (W) vs N.C. St (ACC #6) 38-24 Music City

#8 Miss St. (L) vs Nwestern (Big10 #5) 20-34 Gator

#9 Ole Miss (W) vs Pittsburgh (BigE #5) 38-17 Compass

The 11-5 record over the combined two years is impressive enough (12-6 if you count the SEC vs SEC Nat. Champ. game). But when you look closer you see that most of the games are played against teams that ranked higher (or much higher) in their perspective conferences. It looks like many of the middle and lower tier SEC teams fare pretty well against teams in other conferences, doesn't it? Unfortunately, there are barely any games to compare between the SEC and the Pac 12. But with the success of the SEC in both national championship games and top-to-bottom bowl games against the other major conferences, I think you can comfortably use the word "dominate".

I'll try to update this post (or create a new part 2 post) with the bowl games of the 2013-14 season.

From blog

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