An annual tradition in the south is the second-to-last week of the regular season, where many SEC teams get another filling of cupcakes. Why this happens, I’m not sure. But it does, and since the SEC conference slate is so challenging, nobody ever says anything about it.
The fact that the SEC teams usually romp their foes also helps in keeping any national attention off of them. Today, however, wasn’t the SEC’s finest day. Even though none of their teams were upset, none looked all that great against teams you normally only hear about in the first two weeks of September.
Florida defeated Furman 54-32, but needed a 17-0 fourth quarter to do so. Alabama and its vaunted defense gave up more points than it had all season (21) to Georgia Southern, and had a 24-14 halftime lead. Auburn clung to a 14-10 halftime lead against Samford before winning 35-16.
These results shouldn’t be considered high crimes, as every team should be afforded a bad day throughout the season as long as it can hold on and win. But one has to wonder what the national conversation would be if any of the other automatic qualifier conferences would have had a similar day. My guess is there would have been plenty of bashing.
It certainly would have hurt the case for any of those leagues to possibly have two teams in the national championship game. Not the SEC, however, which will come out of this completely unscathed.
And while we’re here, the idea of a rematch for the national title is absurd for several reasons. First off, Alabama’s loss to LSU will essentially mean nothing. The Crimson Tide can get to the title game despite not winning their division, having a loss at home, and possibly owning a single win against a ranked opponent (Arkansas) if Penn State can’t remain in the top 25.
Do I think Alabama and LSU are the country’s top two teams? Yes, actually, I do. But I — and a lot of others — thought Ohio State and Michigan were the top two teams in 2006, and that didn’t turn out so well. The point is, we’ll never know thanks to the absence of a playoff and weak schedules (outside of LSU) that don’t give us an idea how the conferences stack up against each other.