Wednesday, December 3, 2008

One Conference to Rule Them All?

As college football fans, we hear, most usually from southerners, that the SEC is the mightiest, toughest-to-play-in, king of all conferences. To those SEC preachers, I say, look again.

Let's look at the 10 ACC vs. SEC matchups this past regular season (2008):

  1. South Carolina vs. NC State. Winner: South Carolina (SEC 1-0)
  2. Alabama vs. Clemson. Winner: Alabama (SEC 2-0)
  3. Mississippi vs. Wake Forest. Winner: Wake Forest (SEC 2-1)
  4. Florida vs. Miami. Winner: Florida (SEC 3-1)
  5. Mississippi State vs. Georgia Tech. Winner: Georgia Tech (SEC 3-2)
  6. Vanderbilt vs. Duke. Winner: Duke (SEC 3-3)
  7. Georgia vs. Georgia Tech. Winner: Georgia Tech (ACC 4-3)
  8. South Carolina vs. Clemson. Winner: Clemson (ACC 5-3)
  9. Florida vs. Florida State. Winner: Florida (ACC 5-4)
  10. Wake Forest vs. Vanderbilt. Winner: Wake Forest (ACC 6-4)
So the so-called mighty SEC is down two games to the ACC this year. Even if the SEC wins the Chick-Fil-A bowl, the ACC will still win the year. You esseeseemenites out there can make up whatever excuses you want about some of the ACC's wins against your worst teams, but you got similar wins against NC State and Miami, and you couldn't even beat Duke. When the SEC teams beat up on each other, all football fans have heard time and time again that it's such a "tough" conference to play in. Yet, this season, some people actually had the nerve to say the ACC was so unpredictable because the teams suck. Well, these same sucky teams have a two-game lead over your "tough" SEC teams.

The SEC also no longer has an argument that its in-conference schedule is tougher than the ACC's. In fact, four teams have a 2-6 conference record in the SEC where Florida and Alabama dominate. In the ACC, there is no one dominant team because all of the teams are so tough and competitive. In fact, the ACC has six teams with tied 4-4 in-conference records and four teams with 5-3 in-conference records. Only Virginia (3-5) and Duke (1-7, but who still beat an SEC team) have poor records, meaning there is less dominance and more competition. The ACC has 10 bowl-eligible teams compared to only eight in the SEC.

Now I'm not willing to say that the ACC is the best conference in the NCAA, and I am willing to acknowledge that those bragging rights will likely change from year to year. In fact, it looks to me that the Big 12 is the best conference this year. I will argue that the ACC is the toughest conference to play in now that schools such as UNC are actually putting together respectable teams. In another few years, a national championship contender will emerge from the ACC. The final argument I'll make is that the ACC, as a whole, is a better conference in 2008 than the SEC. Yes, Florida or Alabama will likely play in the national championship game, and both are SEC teams. However, taking into account the conference as a whole, the SEC isn't all its fans think it is — this year anyway.


Matt Joey said...

Josh, the ACC is not tough and competitive. It's mediocre, just like the Little East and the Big Eleven. Fact is, there are two conferences who deserve everything they get, the SEC and the Big XII.

It's cool for you to be an apologist for your league. God knows I'm an apologist for C-USA. When everyone else is making fun of you, you have to speak up for yourselves. But really, neither of our leagues are worthy. Making your argument is like making the argument C-USA is as strong as the ACC just because ECU beat VT. Yes, the ACC won most of the matchups, but your conference champion lost to a mid-major.

JD said...

Matt, I will give you that the Big XII is easily the best conference this year. I think that's probably inarguable.

However, the SEC is extremely top-heavy, and it is overall not a good conference. Remember, I'm looking at all the teams, not just Alabama and Florida.

Also, Matt, the numbers don't lie. Everything in college football is based on numbers, from the rankings to who gets to play where. The fact is, who won the most matchups between two conferences DOES matter when comparing conferences. Would you rather compare them based on mascots?

The ACC beat the SEC, and THIS YEAR, the ACC is the better conference. Overall, the ACC has a ton of great teams. Sure, ECU beat VT, but it's obvious that was a fluke off a last-minute blocked kick. It's obvious because one of the ACC's worst teams, NC State, beat ECU.

Using one or two games as a comparison point isn't fair, and it isn't accurate. Looking at two conferences over the course of a season in head-to-head matchups is the best way to determine which conference had the better season. Period. Not team. Conference.

We'll have to see what happens by the end of bowl season, though. And don't beat up on your C-USA too badly, they had a lot of good teams this year as well with ECU, Tulsa and Houston. With Marshall reloading and Memphis looking decent, I expect it to be a very competitive conference in the near future.

Thanks for reading and commenting.