Final Top 25 & SEC Commentary

In Bowls, College Football, Post-game, Rankings, Rankings Commentary on January 7, 2014 at 6:28 PM
Florida St. and Auburn switched spots again.  Michigan St. and Missouri moved up after the Spartans beat Stanford.

Florida St. and Auburn switched spots again. Michigan St. and Missouri moved up after the Spartans beat Stanford.

Some people might think I’m upset about the SEC’s dominance over the BCS title game coming to an end (as is the game itself of course), but I’m really not. Like I said initially, I’m glad it’s not Saban or Meyer with another trophy.

I am indeed happy for Jimbo Fisher. He had his fingerprints on the development of a lot of quality programs, especially in the SEC, over the years. Even if Florida St. had lost, it’s really a tribute to him that they were in the game in the first place. Even though the ACC wasn’t great by any measure, it’s remarkable to win 14 games and only really have two in doubt much into the second half.

I’m not really a huge Malzahn fan, but I have gained some respect for him as well. I initially thought he was just a silly high school coach whose goofy plays would be exposed, but I’ve learned that his ideas are rooted in the study of the game’s history. I’ve also learned that he’s not just presenting the same plays over and over again. He finds new wrinkles and ways of running the offense that keeps defenses offguard. Whatever one has to say about the differences in competition, Auburn was the team that was luckier to be there, so I don’t feel it’s a huge injustice that they lost, although I’m not sure there has been a team in the title game that has faced that level of competion in the history of the BCS championship apart from that 2011 LSU team that also lost.

I don’t think Florida St. would have made it through the 9 SEC teams Auburn faced without a loss, but I also don’t necessarily think they would have lost more than once. Had the ’Noles played in the SEC, they may well have ended up BCS champions anyway. I don’t think that’s true of any of the other challengers the SEC has faced over the last few years.

Florida St.’s win should serve to remind some hardcore SEC fans that maybe one or two of those semifinal slots should go to non-SEC teams every year.

I’m in no way soft-pedaling the fact that this was a great year for the SEC though, and I don’t just mean going 7-3 in bowl games (one of the three was with a backup quarterback).

I have South Carolina 7th partly because I consider the loss to Tennessee pretty bad, but whether it’s top five or top seven, having three SEC teams in that group is about as good as you can hope for. I also have Alabama in the top 10, as do both polls. So that’s twice as many top 10 teams as the Big XII and four times as many as the other BCS conferences. I have Texas A&M a bit lower than the polls, but LSU and A&M are also consensus top 25 for a total of six. I also have the Pac-12 with six, but they’re mostly toward the bottom, and there aren’t teams like Vanderbilt (which is ranked in both major polls), Georgia, and Ole Miss with strong arguments in the Pac-12 either. If you look at the top 50 (or simply consider all those receiving votes in either major poll), the SEC has ten teams to the Pac-12’s seven.

The ACC and Big XII only have 5 teams apiece in the top 40, although both polls had Texas Tech #30. Even if you count them, a larger percentage of SEC teams is still in the top 40 than Big XII teams. Also to look at the lower teams, this is how I rank SEC and Big XII teams that fell outside of the top 70:
83. Florida (SEC)
89. TCU (Big XII)
96. Arkansas (SEC)
101. West Virginia (Big XII)
102. Iowa St. (Big XII)
103. Kansas (Big XII)
104. Kentucky (SEC)

So of the group above, 40% of the Big XII is there but only 21.4% of the SEC. I think that makes a big difference on the schedule, especially since every Big XII team who’s not among those four faced them. South Carolina was the only team to play all three SEC teams on the list above, which is another reason I only have them 7th in the overall rankings.

Anyway, I’ll have more to say another time, but these were just my first thoughts upon the completion of bowl season.

2013 Final Top 25

rank / team / prior

1 Florida St. 2
2 Auburn 1
3 Mich. St. 4
4 Missouri 7
5 UCF 10
6 Stanford 3
7 S Carolina 11
8 Oklahoma 12
9 Ohio St. 5
10 Baylor 6
11 Alabama 8
12 Clemson 17
13 Oregon 16
14 Louisville 18
15 Arizona St. 9
16 UCLA 19
17 LSU 20
18 Okie St. 15
19 USC 25
20 N. Illinois 13
21 Fresno St. 14
22 TX A&M —
23 Notre Dame 24
24 Washington —
25 Duke 21

Out of rankings: (22) Wisconsin, (23) Georgia

All 126 teams

Prior rankings:
Week 1
Week 2
Week 3
Week 4
Week 5
Week 6
Week 7
Week 8
Week 9
Week 10
Week 11
Week 12
Week 13
Week 14

And if I get enough responses, I might do a Blogger Poll again.

  1. […] rank/team/prev 1 Florida St. 1 2 Auburn 2 3 Oregon 13 4 Alabama 11 5 Oklahoma 8 6 Georgia – 7 UCLA 16 8 S Carolina 7 9 Ohio St. 9 10 LSU 17 11 USC 19 12 Clemson 12 13 Mich. St. 3 14 UCF 5 15 Stanford 6 16 Ole Miss – 17 Washington 24 18 Arizona St. 15 19 Texas – 20 Michigan – 21 Louisville 14 22 Baylor 10 23 Florida – 24 Duke 25 25 N. Illinois 20 […]

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