SEC Football Weekend Reaction: Nice try, PAC-12


After posting the best bowl record of any conference in 2014-15, PAC-12 fans felt like their conference was ready to challenge the SEC for national conference supremacy.  It was understandable.  Their conference had just completed a 6-2 bowl season, saw their Top 25 teams go 5-1 and made an appearance in the National Championship game.

On the other hand, the SEC’s bowl season was not nearly as fruitful.  While the SEC managed a 7-5 record, the stats go much deeper.  The “weak” East?  5-0.  The “mighty” West?  2-5 with their victories coming in two lower-tier bowl games.  Additionally, the conference’s champion fell in the first round of the College Football Playoff.

As a result, we heard the same narrative for the entire offseason.  PAC-12 fans and media personalities proclaimed their conference’s greatness.  According to their analysis, we should all brace ourselves for the impending dominance of the PAC-12.

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The narrative did not stop there, however.  Suddenly the SEC was overrated and looking weak.  Instead of the SEC East gaining respect, the SEC West had infinitely more venom coming in its direction.

Even SEC media members began to question the SEC.  I was listening to the Head to Head radio show out of Mississippi when they had Edward Aschoff as a guest.  For those unfamiliar with Aschoff, he is a blogger on ESPN’s SEC page, graduated from Florida and grew up in Oxford, MS.  As a result, he is a tried and true SEC man.  He was on the radio show to preview the upcoming weekend of SEC football.

In short, he went on-air and said that what he saw as the SEC’s best case scenario for their 3 nonconference marquee games was a 2-1 showing.  Since when was 2-1 a best case scenario in SEC football?  Fans did not get outraged, however.  They had heard the same narrative we all had and started doubting some of their conference brethren as well.

And then week 1 of the 2015 season happened.  No, one week of football is not enough to rewrite college football history.  But neither is one bowl season.  Week 1 should serve as a reminder that the SEC has been the nation’s preeminent conference for over a decade and will not easily be removed from that perch.

The conference went 12-1 (LSU had their game canceled) with their only loss coming from Vanderbilt.  Spoiler:  no surprise here they lost.  SEC opponents were outscored 536-210, with an extra buoy coming by way of a 76 point outburst from Ole Miss.

Top teams easily handled their tough competition (#1 Alabama 35- #20 Wisconsin 17) and unranked teams played spoiler (Texas A&M 38- #15 Arizona State 17).  Things could not have gone much better for the SEC in week one.   Sure Vandy could have won and LSU could have added to the ridiculous point differential…but SEC fans will be happy with these results.  PAC-12 fans however…

PAC-12 teams outscored their opponents 388-256.  The conference was not nearly as successful as the SEC overall, however.  7-5 was their record…remember that number.  While most of their conference favorites played well, Arizona State fell to an unranked SEC opponent, Washington State fell to D-2 Portland State, and Stanford fell to an unranked BIG 10 opponent in Northwestern.   There are other bad losses, but we’ll stop with the worst.

There is a lesson to be learned here.  The PAC-12 had a disappointing week in which they went 7-5 and had some embarrassing losses.  In bowl season they went 6-2.  The SEC went 12-1 with mostly mediocre competition and a few big wins.  In bowl season they went 7-5.

It is eerily similar to the 2014-2015 bowl season.  Instead of overreacting like the media and PAC-12 country did, let’s just act like we’ve been there before SEC fans.  Let’s not overreact to still being the best conference in college football.  It shouldn’t be too hard.  We’ve never left.

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