Sunday, January 14, 2007

The SEC just wins

The BCS title game has been around in roughly its current form since the1998 season (1999 game). The following are the results of ever game since then –

1999 Tennessee 23 – FSU 16
2000 FSU 46 – Virginia Tech 29
2001Oklahoma 13 – FSU 2
2002 Miami 37 – Nebraska 14
2003 Ohio State 31 – Miami 24
2004 LSU 21 – Oklahoma 14
2005 USC 55 – Oklahoma 19
2006 Texas 41 – USC 38
2007 Florida 41- Ohio State 14

In the modern era of the BCS, the SEC is undefeated at 3-0. Plus, in the 2005 game, a deserving and undefeated Auburn team was shut out of the title game.

Conferences records in the BCS title game –

ACC 1-2
Big 10 1-1
Big 12 2-3
Pac 10 1-1
Big East 1-2
SEC 3-0

The SEC is not the only the sole undefeated conference in the title game; it is the only conference with a winning record.

It is not only SEC football, but southern football, that dominates the BCS title games. By region (for the 18 slots since the 1999 game)-

South – 9 slots
West – 7 slots
North – 2 slots

All northern football has to show for 9 years of BCS title games is two appearances, with a narrow win on a questionable call in 2002 and a thrashing in 2007. (Northern football died 2 decades ago. Just no one bothered to tell the sports media.)

What is really interesting, however, is the breakdown by team.

Oklahoma – 3 (1 win)
FSU – 3 (1 win)
Miami – 2 (1 win)
USC – 2 (1 win)
Ohio State – 2 (1 win)
Florida -1 (1 win)
LSU – 1 (1 win)
Tennessee – 1 (1 win)
Texas – 1 (1 win)
Nebraska -1 (0 wins)
Virginia Tech – 1 (0 wins)

For the ACC, the Pac 10 and the Big 10, a single team has reached the title game (FSU, USC and Ohio State – Miami and VT were Big East in this period).

The Big East has had 2 – the aforementioned Miami and Virginia Tech.

The Big 12 has had 3 teams – Oklahoma, Nebraska and Texas.

Only the SEC has had a different team each time – Tennessee, LSU and Florida (and it should have been 4 in Auburn). Moreover, unlike every other conference, each of these SEC teams has won.

What this shows is that most conferences have sent a re-occurring dominant team – the Florida State’s, the Ohio State’s and the USC’s. These conferences have sent teams that have built those dominant records by feasting on sub-par conference opponents. And, these ACC, Big 10 and Pac 10 teams conference winners have , overall, a .500 or less record once they reach the title game.

In the SEC, however, there has been no dominant team. But whichever team was good enough to navigate the brutal SEC schedule and become SEC champion has been good enough to beat all comers.

And the SEC teams have done it with defense. In the 3 BCS title games the SEC has competed in, and won, their opponent's scores have been 16, 14 and 14. Consider the offenses these points came against –

Tennessee over FSU – FSU 15 points below their season average

LSU over Oklahoma – Sooners 29 points below their season average.

Florida over Ohio State – 21 points below their season average.

Can we agree that SEC defenses, and SEC speed, is real?

If I were a conspiratorial type, I would think that the efforts by the national sports media to keep Florida from the BCS title game (and their successful efforts against Auburn) were because they know something they don’t want to admit to.

And that is that the SEC, when allowed to play in the BCS title game, simply wins.


Anonymous said...

And why wouldn't they be expected to win, if these same kids had to travel up north into colder climates leaving their families over the holidays one would think those SEC results would be much different. Just something to think about before jumping to conclusions.

Mergz said...

Dear anonymous,

The 3 BCS title games the SEC has won have been the Fiesta Bowl, the Sugar Bowl and the BCS title game in Glendale.

Yes, the Sugar bowl was an LSU home game. But how is traveling to Arizona different for Tennessee or Florida than it was for FSU or Ohio State?

All of these bowl games are pretty much played in warm climates. Columbus Ohio is actually slightly closer to Glendale than Gainesville Florida. Neither team had a travel advantage here.

As for "jumping to conclusions", the perfect record of the SEC in BCS title games is fact.

Anonymous said...

Probably what he's getting at is the bowls were always an after thought, a warm place the students could go on vacation between semester breaks. The regular conference season was officially over so the kids got to soak up the sun, not really taking the bowl game too seriously.

Anybody who watched that OSU/Michigan game kinda knows how much more important that game is to those players than any bowl ever could be.

However like the first poster was probably getting at, times have changed and our southern states grew in population and our Florida teams got better, now decades later the tradition continues but teams coming out of the snow belt are still at a disadvantage.

I suspect someday we'll be playing some of these bowls back up north probably when the BCS is again reorganized.

Anonymous said...

Alabama, Florida, Tennessee, LSU and Florida (again) have all won national title matchups since 1990 despite being underdogs (and usually big underdogs) in all those games.

Which makes the SEC 5-0 in the last 25 years in 1 vs 2 matchups.

Chris said...

Yeah, I noticed the 3-0 thing while looking over the Championship program waiting for the game to begin...nice to see someone break it down.

Anonymous said...

It was great our Gators came thru in the NC game after the SEC was going 0-4 against the Big Ten this year. We Gat-or-done.

Stankfinger said...

Broke down this years bowl season as far as SEC Teams go.

Anonymous said...

In 2002 Oregon was left out of the BCS Championship game despite Nebraska losing to Colorado 62-36 and not being in the conference championship game. Oregon went on to beat Colorado in the Fiesta Bowl 38-16 while Miami beat Nebraska 37-14 in the Rose Bowl.