Sunday, November 26, 2006

Shut up, SEC

Time for a little inconsequentiality: college sports.

Over the weekend, one of the ESPN football critics said that the SEC is getting the short end of some stick in the BCS and other rankings. I'm a little tired of hearing things like this. Here's a blog post from before this season started that lists the nonconference schedules of the SEC and Pac-10. The short version is, a big won-loss record in the SEC just doesn't mean much because of schedule padding: SEC teams play an incredibly weak nonconference schedule and play fewer road games.

For the seasons 2000 through 2005, the Pac-10 was 7-3 against the SEC. Yeah, this year the conference had one bad weekend (with Cal and Washington State losing their opening games on the road in the South), so now they're 8-5 head-to-head over seven seasons.

This season, USC beat the Big 12 North champion, the SEC West champion, and Notre Dame... and none of those games were close! We wound up with the fourth-hardest schedule. And yet fans of Florida (nonconference opponents Southern Mississippi, Central Florida, and Western Carolina!) want to somehow pretend that they're being cheated out of a title shot. Bah! I truly hope that Arkansas beats Florida, just so we don't have to listen to Gators whining all next year.

Of course, USC plays Notre Dame every year. We'll play Nebraska again next year. In 2008/2009, we'll have a home-and-home with Ohio State. (Future schedules are here.) USC doesn't completely go overboard on this—we have Idaho next year, San Jose State in 2009, and Hawaii in 2010--but at least we're not scheduling 1-AA schools!


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