Is the pendulum swinging? The top 3 teams in CFB are all northern/midwestern teams

Submitted by M-Dog on November 17th, 2012 at 10:30 AM

The top 3 teams in CFB are all northern/midwestern teams.  I don't recall this happening for a looong time.

Have the northern/midwestern teams finally caught up in terms of recruiting and schemes, or is this just a blip on the unending road of SEC hegemony?


[Edit:  The people have spoken - blip it is!]



Mmmm Hmmm

November 17th, 2012 at 10:44 AM ^

Although I agree this is a true statement, should it be?  I do not claim to really know K-State, but they seem pretty legit.

I will grant you ND because I have built in "Returning To Glory (for the past 20 years)" bias.

Also, as you implied in your response to the OP, there sure are a glut of SEC teams just outside the top 3...


November 17th, 2012 at 10:40 AM ^

In the north, sure, but in the college football landscape not really classified that. Another is one of those lucky break runs that if they actually have to play an Oregon or Alabama will so painfully get killed that it won't do anything for the rep of Midwest football (see: Ohio State). And while Kansas State is generally good, they'll really have to start ruling their conference regularly to be taken seriously. They've won a lot of games for years, and have hardly become a recruiting destination.


November 17th, 2012 at 10:43 AM ^

The SEC has won something like six straight national championships.

The polls on November 17, 2012, don't necessarily indicate a change in power.


November 17th, 2012 at 10:51 AM ^

The problem with your hypothesis is that #4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11 in the BCS standings are teams south of the Mason-Dixon line, with #4, 5, 6, 7, 8, and 9 being SEC teams.

They are just better right now.  You can see this in the standings, you can see this in the number of 1st, 2nd round draft picks in the NFL recently.

Confident that Hoke, Meyer, and yes, even O'Brien (has done a hell of a job keeping the wheels on what was a burning garbage truck @ PSU at the start of the season) can turn the tide in a few years, but we're not anywhere close at the moment.


November 17th, 2012 at 11:04 AM ^

Six of the top ten in the BCS are from the SEC, but six of the ten best in the country are not from the SEC.  No one who has watched Florida the last couple weeks can say they are a top 10 team.  I don't think South Carolina is either.  Georgia we will see how they fare against Alabama.  Other than Florida Georgia's best win is Vandy.  After you get past the top 6 teams in the SEC the rest are awful which makes the top 6 look alot better then they actually are.


November 17th, 2012 at 11:09 AM ^

Valid point.  However, SC was a whole lot better before Lattimore suffered the injury-which-shall-never-be-replayed-again.  I've only seen a few of the marquee SEC games, but you have to wonder how much of stumbling-bumbling look Florida/LSU/etc displayed was due to the competition they were playing.

We'll see in the bowls at the end of the year, but the SEC has had a pretty dominant record over the last decade (BCS games, CapitolOne, etc.).


November 17th, 2012 at 11:04 AM ^

Oregon bought themselves a great team, ala most of the stronger SEC programs, and could end up being an "example" if the NCAA is serious about "new" enforcement rules.  KSU is having a "once in a lifetime" year.  Only ND is positioned to be a power for years to come.  

ND has been a "sleeping giant" for twenty years now.  Even with the "admissions handicap" their fans bitch about, ND usually recruits top ten-caliber talent, and only utter incompetence from their administration has kept them from having a coach who could take advantage of that talent.  

They now have a head coach with a modern offense, a strong track record, and enough charisma to keep those four and five-star recruits rolling in.  And they were patient enough not to fire him when outside forces tried to turn up the heat.  

If anyone thinks I like writing this, you are wrong.  I am more than old enough to remember how insufferable ND fans are when their team starts winning National Championships.  It's bad enough that Ohio State will be instant contenders when they get off of NCAA probation; adding a dominant ND to that scenario is a recipe for chronic "reverse peristalsis."


November 17th, 2012 at 11:09 AM ^

Oregon's violations occurred before the new enforcement rules were put in place.  Plus they are a high profile team so I can't see them getting hammered.   Jerry Tarkanian had it right when he said "The NCAA is so mad at Kentucky they are going to put Cleveland State on probation"

Eye of the Tiger

November 17th, 2012 at 11:08 AM ^

I think there's a strong argument that the SEC remains the best conference in the country, that southern teams are on average the best in the country, and that the lack of a national championship contender at this precise moment in time is a function OF that conference/regional advantage--since everyone in the SEC has to play at least 3 other high quality SEC teams, the law of averages suggest the chances of anyone going undefeated is lower than in other conferences.

That said, I think there is an element of truth to what you are saying. Texas A&M may be an SEC team right now, but they are still in essence a Big 12 team. And anyone who thinks K-State playing in the SEC wouldn't win some big games over elite SEC talent hasn't watched K-State play this year. Oregon too. 

I think what we are seeing is a lessening of the SEC's advantage, but it's a marginal lessening rather than a tectonic shift. Notre Dame has arguably the best player in CFB in Manti Te'o, and a whole lot of luck, but they really aren't that good. The PAC-12 and Big 12 lack elite teams after Oregon and K-State. The Big 10's best team (record-wise) can't play in a bowl game, and probably couldn't hang with the top 3 SEC teams anyways. Alabama may get shut out of the National Championship Game, even though it's the best team in CFB. Could Oregon or K-State beat them? Yes. Would they? I'm not so sure. 

Would any conference's #2 or #3 or #4 team beat the SEC's #2, #3 or #4? I kind of doubt it. 




November 17th, 2012 at 11:15 AM ^

While I agree the SEC is still the best conference by expanding to 14 teams the argument that they all play 3 elite teams in conference isn't true any more.  Georgia has played Florida and South Carolina and that is it.  Look at their schedule and you can't find any team on it that would be in the top half of the Big 12 or PAC12.  Alabama, while I think they are defintely one of the best 2/3 teams in the country has played LSU and Tex A&M in conference.  


November 17th, 2012 at 11:11 AM ^

I know it's semantics, but I've always considered the PAC teams to be western, neither southern nor northern.  That said, if we can claim Oregon as a norther team, I'll take it.


November 17th, 2012 at 11:29 AM ^

1. Widely cited and read are the analyses showing SEC talent discrepancy is primarily their DL (based on NFL draft and playing). They have quality and depth of DL on probably 8-9 teams. Part of the reason Saban is maniacal about OL recruiting to handle the competition.

2. As usual for the last decade, the SEC has 6 of top 10 recruiting classes right now with USC, ND, UM and OSU the other 4. If those 4 were in a conference, you could probably expect 1 of them to annually challenge for Nat Chmp.

3. HS football is a step above in the South. Being here in Atlanta now, I can say the year-round speed & agility training, spring practices and jr high programs separate the HS quality from the Midwest. Just see Urban's push for HS spring practice in Ohio.