This was going to be a part of the BlogPoll Ballot for this week, but I decided it was worthy of its own article.
I'd like to take this opportunity to sound off on the polls of late. My poll below features 3 SEC teams in the top ten. What can I say? They're pretty good teams. The AP Top 25 features 5 teams in the top 10 and 7 in the top 25. That's absolutely ridiculous, the first part in particular. Ranking certain teams in relation to others when they haven't played should be based on strength of schedule, and the teams on your schedule's strength of schedule, and so on. The SEC is getting ranked so highly because, well, we're supposed to, right? I mean, they're the SEC, they've won 6 straight national titles as a conference, and ESPN talks about them all day long...surely that's worth 5 bonus spots in the poll or something right? georgia has played two teams currently in the top 25 (both in their division), and got demolished by one. Their out-of-conference schedule has featured the murder's row of Buffalo, Florida Atlantic, and Georgia Southern. Definitely the third best team in the country though, right? Alabama's OOC schedule has featured a quite overrated Michigan team, Florida Atlantic, Western Kentucky, and now Western Carolina. South Carolina has stretched themselves by really slugging it out with Eastern Carolina, UAB, and Wofford. LSU has beaten North Texas, a decent Washington team, Idaho, and Towson. Texas A&M appears to be fitting right on in, playing Louisiana Tech, SMU, and TWO FCS teams in Sam Houston State and South Carolina State. Florida beat Bowling Green by 13 and Louisiana-Lafayette by the skin of their teeth in the last 3 minutes, largely because the entire year their offense has been embarrassingly bad. HOW THE HELL CAN YOU JUSTIFY THOSE AS TOP 10 TEAMS?!?!? Of those 6 teams, only two have played a BCS opponent, and the best team of all of those may well be unexpectedly impressive Louisiana Tech.
"But Joey, they play SEC teams (awesome by default) week-in and week-out, why should they challenge themselves with OOC games?" Bullshit. Bull. Shit. This is the mentality that ends in 5 SEC teams in the top 10 without any real good reason as to why. Yes, georgia, South Carolina, and Florida have games against in-state ACC opponents this week, meaning it'll get a bit tougher than their schedules to date have been (USC and Florida may well lose those games, too). But the sentiment remains, it's absurd to suggest that certain teams are good based on their games played against a bunch of teams with no real credentials and a bunch of teams who have also played nobody with any credentials.
Am I saying that SEC teams aren't good? No. Am I saying that of the 10 best teams in the country, less than 5 are from the SEC? Not necessarily. What I'm saying here is that an entire conference is being rewarded for a collectively crappy OOC schedule based on the circular logic that they're good because they've played conference opponents that are good because THEY'VE played conference opponents that are good, and on and on and on. Come Bowl season, maybe the SEC will dominate teams from other conferences again. Last year they won a lot of bowl games, even though the only two "blowouts" were USC over Nebraska by 17 and Auburn over Virginia by 18. Outside of those, every game involving an SEC team (save the MNC game) was within two possessions (not my idea of a blowout, or subsequently of dominance). My BlogPoll ballot for this week reflects my irritation with this self-sustaining mindset. I hope we're able to shake it in the coming years...but somehow I have a hard time seeing that happening.
Am I way off base here, readers, or am I onto something that you agree with? Here's your chance to sound off too.