It’s only the third week of the college football season, and ESPN is already working overtime to convince the nation (and more importantly the very corruptible new football playoff committee) that the SEC has been the most dominant conference in college football over the past 10 years. Their latest propaganda (below) shows the Power 5 conferences and their win percentage against the rest of the Power 5 out of conference (OOC) over the past 10 years.
SEC chanters just love this type of hand-picked skewed data, because it helps their “in your face” claims that the almighty SEC has been ruling the roost all along as the best top-to-bottom conference in all the land. But a closer look at the data via a simple schedule analysis of each individual SEC team (i.e. the teams who’ve been playing in the SEC each of the past 10 years*) reveals that these stats are very misleading and fail to tell the whole story. There is a hidden find in the data that the homers don’t want you to figure out… the SEC is top heavy. That’s right, the four teams that were responsible for the 7 consecutive national titles (LSU, Alabama, Auburn and Florida) are responsible for most of the success. Those four teams (along with Georgia) make up the upper half of the SEC in this ten year run of “Power 5 dominance”.** Cumulatively they had a 0.729 win percentage against the rest of the Power 5 in the ten seasons that occurred between 2004 and 2013. The rest of the SEC: a 0.449 win percentage. That is a big gap between the power teams of the conference and the lower half.
SEC chanters are fighting back with the argument that the other conferences had the same trends and that this data proved nothing. So we did the analysis next of the current Big 12, since this conference is second according to ESPN in Power 5 out of conference dominance over the past decade. Here is what we found… the 4 best teams in the present Big 12 over the past decade (i.e. the teams who’ve been playing in the Big12 each of the past 10 years) in Power 5 OOC win percentage (Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Texas, and Texas Tech) had a win percentage of 0.672. However the rest of the conference had a combined win percentage of 0.531.
The statistical difference in win percentage between the SEC’s four best and the rest of their conference over the past decade was 0.280.
The statistical difference in win percentage between the current Big 12’s four best and the rest of their conference over the past decade was 0.141.
The best SEC team in OOC Power 5 competition over the past 10 years is LSU at 0.833.
The worst SEC team in OOC Power 5 competition over the past 10 years is Tennessee at 0.285.
The best Big 12 team in OOC Power 5 competition over the past 10 years is Texas at 0.706.
The worst Big 12 team in OOC Power 5 competition over the past 10 years is Iowa State at 0.455.
What does all this mean? Well, it means a few things. For one, the five best teams in the SEC (i.e. the upper half) have been the more dominant teams against the Power 5 over the past ten years. BUT, it also means that the rest of the SEC has been pedestrian and sometimes even downright awful against the Power 5 over the past ten years. And the gap between the SEC’s best and worst is a proverbial canyon. If anything, this data supports the position that the Big 12 was a more “top-to-bottom” consistent power CONFERENCE than the SEC was over the past decade. Their bottom half was much better than the bottom half of the SEC since 2004.
Furthermore, it shows how even more asinine people look chanting “S-E-C” when Alabama or LSU win a big game while more than half of the conference rides the historic coattails of those top few. But the even greater purpose of this article is to show you how easy it is to manipulate historic statistical win data to prove the point you are trying to make. ESPN is working overtime to manipulate the data to force feed America this idea that the SEC has and always will be better than every other conference. And that simply isn’t accurate. Five teams in their conference have proven to be pretty much better than the rest of the nation in the past decade. LESS THAN HALF OF THE CONFERENCE. But the “SEC” as a whole has not been “better” than anybody except for in the minds of their chanting homers and those stat manipulators in the ESPN media working around the clock to promote their financial investment. It’s all pointless drivel meant to devalue the rest of college football for the sake of elevating the overrated SEC to deity status.
We are in week 3 of the 2014 season and all this mumbo jumbo about the past doesn’t mean a damn thing. Soon enough it will be playoff time, the time for the top teams in this top heavy SEC conference to put their money where their mouths are and step it up against the best of the other power 5 conferences in the new playoff format. Presuming ESPN’s playoff committee manipulation attempts do not succeed in cutting the other Power 5 champs out of that playoff, the SEC will have their chance to show us once and for all how “better” they really are than everyone else’s best.
And we are looking forward to it just as much as they are!