This will not be nearly as long as my posts I made a couple seasons ago. However, I feel the need to address this again. Simply put, the SEC benefits from overinflated rankings from the beginning of the season. Year in and year out, they sport the most Top 25 rankings than any conference. For the most part, they schedule seriously bad cupcakes for out-of-conference, and by the time intra-conference play happens, they’re all 3-0 and the beneficiaries of “Oh look at the SEC go!”
When an SEC team loses to another SEC team that it shouldn’t (Let’s say, South Carolina to Kentucky. Wouldn’t that be wild?), it just goes to show just how deep the SEC is. When any other conference loses to another intra-conference team (USC losing to Arizona State), the rest of the nation overreacts and drops them harshly. Stanford was also on the wrong end of a non-SEC ratings overreaction when they lost by 3 to a better ranked Notre Dame and dropped from #14 to #25. Stanford has only lost to #14 USC and #9 Notre Dame, yet sit teetering on the edge of being unranked.
Still not quite convinced? Remember last year’s SEC Championship game? Upstart Missouri came so close to winning that game against the out-of-nowhere Auburn (who came shockingly close to losing to Washington State in their opener). This year, #18 Missouri went into Week 4 thinking that visiting Indiana would be just another out-of-conference game against a historically bad program. While I didn’t watch the game, I do know they lost giving up a game-winning drive as the clock expired. As expected, Missouri dropped out of the Top 25. The injustice is that they were ranked the next week despite the shocking loss the week before.
The cherry on top? Texas A&M and Missouri, who have made quite a bit of noise over the last couple seasons, are still basically Big XII-recruited teams. Their oldest players (typically the ones who start) were all recruited before the conference shuffle. Isn’t it a surprising indicator that these basically-Big XII teams wreaked so much havoc over the last two seasons?