Alabama proved Saturday just how weak the SEC East is.
Georgia easily rolled to the division championship before Halloween. The Bulldogs made it look easy too. The most amount of points Georgia allowed in conference play was 17. The least amount of points Georgia scored against a conference foe was 30.
There is a question worth asking though: Who exactly did Georgia beat?
For starters, in non-conference play, Georgia played two ACC teams. One of those is a 3-9 Georgia Tech team. The other is a Clemson team who ranked 79th in offensive scoring. Clemson could not even win their division in a horrible ACC this year. We’re talking about the same ACC who saw Florida State lose at home to Jacksonville State, an FCS school who finished 5-6. Yet, Florida State scored more against Clemson than they did against Jacksonville State.
The Bulldogs other non-conference games came against FCS foe Charleston Southern and a decent UAB team out of the lowly Conference USA. Let’s look at the East Division. Aside from Georgia, the best team is Kentucky. The Wildcats lost to a Mississippi State squad which finished 7-5 with a loss at Memphis. They also lost to division foe Tennessee, who lost at home to ACC Champion Pitt. While that has a nice ring to it, the Panthers lost to a MAC team this year, and one that couldn’t even win its division. The Volunteers finished 0-2 against the SEC West.
After Tennessee, it all goes downhill. Florida allowed 52 points to Samford, an FCS school that finished 4-7. The Gators are tied with Tennessee Tech for the most points allowed by Samford. In fact, Samford held a 42-35 lead at halftime in “The Swamp”. In order to achieve bowl eligibility, Florida had to achieve a 4-0 non-conference record against zero bowl eligible teams. They also beat Tennessee and Vanderbilt.
When someone talks about how “great” SEC defenses are, they clearly forget Missouri. The least amount of points Missouri allowed was 23, and that was against Florida. FCS school Southeast Missouri State, North Texas of Conference USA, and the MAC’s Central Michigan all scored more points against Missouri than Florida did. The Tigers rank 117th in scoring defense. Yet, it’s the Big 12 Conference that apparently “doesn’t play any defense”.
South Carolina is in its first year under head coach Shane Beamer. It was a rough year to say the least. The Gamecocks finished 3-5 in conference play. Two of those victories came against Florida and Vanderbilt. They also beat an Auburn team during a trap game in which the Tigers had Alabama coming up the next week and just having lost to Mississippi State. Auburn was also on the road. The other three games to help them reach bowl eligibility? Eastern Illinois, East Carolina and Troy. Remember how bad that Clemson offense is? They’re only as high as 79th because they beat South Carolina 30-0. Yeah, that’ll help the ol’ scoring ranking.
Finally, there’s Vanderbilt. Oh goodness. Where do we start? How about the 20-point loss to ETSU at home. Yes, Vanderbilt lost to an FCS team at home by 20 points. In fact, they only scored a field goal. It was brutal. I would go as far to say that Vanderbilt isn’t even a top five team in the State of Tennessee. Heck, they might not even be top 10 in their own state. Vanderbilt could barely beat Connecticut at home, squeaking out a 30-28 victory against the worst team in FBS. Even Massachusetts managed to beat the Huskies, and they did so by 14 points. Vanderbilt is just downright awful, but Georgia did manage to beat them by a score of 62-0.
Here’s the deal. Georgia is going to get into the College Football Playoff with a 12-1 record. The best team Georgia beat was ranked 22nd in the Championship Week AP Poll (This was written Saturday night). That team is Clemson, who was unranked the previous week, but beat South Carolina 30-0. They shut out an SEC team? Stop the presses! Clemson for the National Championship! Okay, back to being serious. Baylor, despite having two losses, has defeated three teams in the top 15: BYU, Oklahoma and Oklahoma State. Notre Dame’s only loss comes against an undefeated Cincinnati team. Speaking of, the Bearcats could say they’ve played a tougher schedule than Georgia. Cincinnati won at an 11-1 Notre Dame team and defeated an 11-1 Houston team.
Look, I’m not saying Georgia doesn’t deserve to be in the College Football Playoff. They’ve won 12 games and only lost to a top five team. What I am saying is that if the committee is going to tell us, “Who has Cincinnati played?” then the same should be asked of Georgia. Who did Georgia play? Yeah, they beat Vanderbilt 62-0. Good for Georgia. If the schedule is the criteria, then Oklahoma, Oklahoma State and Baylor should all be ranked higher than a one-loss Georgia team.
The Big 12 Conference is far superior to the SEC Least.