With four weekends of college football action now in the rearview, fans and pundits are now getting a feel for which teams are good and which aren’t. Or are they?
Below, we’ll take a closer look at the records of the SEC’s teams in an attempt to better understand who’s really accomplished to date. First, let’s start with the overall records of each SEC squad:
SEC Overall Records
1. LSU 4-0
2. Alabama, Missouri, Ole Miss 3-0
5. Arkansas, Auburn, Texas A&M 3-1
8. Florida, Georgia, South Carolina 2-1
11. Mississippi State, Tennessee, Vanderbilt 2-2
14. Kentucky 1-2
If you’re a fan of any of those 10 squads boasting records of 2-1 or better, you have to feel pretty good at this stage of the season. But let’s take a look at the records with wins over FCS opponents removed:
SEC Overall Records Without FCS Wins
1. LSU 4-0
2. Alabama 3-0
3. Auburn 3-1
4. Missouri, Ole Miss 2-0
6. Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, Texas A&M 2-1
11. Kentucky, Mississippi State, Tennessee, Vanderbilt 1-2
Looks a bit different when you yank victories against inferior competition out of the mix, doesn’t it? Well, let’s whittle things down to each team’s real accomplishments. Below we look at each team’s record against BCS-level competition. For each win an SEC squad has recorded against a BCS foe, we’ve awarded a point to the SEC team for each win their vanquished foe has recorded. For example, South Carolina is 2-1 against BCS competition (beat North Carolina and Vanderbilt, lost to Georgia). UNC and Vanderbilt have combined for three victories this season. That’s Carolina’s tally. The Gamecocks get no points for losing to Georgia.
Here’s how it looks:
SEC Records Vs BCS Opponents
1. Alabama 3-0 overall, 2-0 vs BCS — 6 points (Virginia Tech and Texas A&M have three wins each)
2. Auburn 3-1 overall, 2-1 vs BCS — 5 points (Washington State has three wins and Mississippi State has two)
3t. LSU 4-0 overall, 2-0 vs BCS — 4 points (Auburn has three wins and TCU has one)
3t. Ole Miss 3-0 overall, 2-0 vs BCS — 4 points (Vanderbilt and Texas have two wins each)
5. South Carolina 2-1 overall, 2-1 vs BCS — 3 points (Vanderbilt has two wins and North Carolina has one)
6t. Florida 2-1 overall, 1-1 vs BCS — 2 points (Tennessee has two wins)
6t. Georgia 2-1 overall, 1-1 vs BCS — 2 points (South Carolina has two wins)
6t. Missouri 3-0 overall, 1-0 vs BCS — 2 points (Indiana has two wins)
9. Texas A&M 3-1 overall, 1-1 vs BCS — 1 point (SMU has one win)
10t. Arkansas 3-1 overall, 0-1 vs BCS — 0 points
10t. Mississippi State 2-2 overall, 0-2 vs BCS — 0 points
10t. Tennessee 2-2 overall, 0-2 vs BCS — 0 points
10t. Vanderbilt 2-2 overall, 0-2 vs BCS — 0 points
10t. Kentucky 1-2 overall, 0-1 vs BCS — 0 points
Considering only what SEC squads have done against BCS foes (and the success of those foes), Alabama and Auburn have accomplished the most to this point of the season. That’s appropriate. Together they’ve won every BCS championship since 2009. Most impressive for Bama is the fact that both of their BCS wins have come against three-win squads and both have come away from Bryant-Denny Stadium.
LSU, Ole Miss and South Carolina follow closely behind the Alabama schools. That schools have each done more on the field than Florida, Georgia, Missouri, Arkansas or Texas A&M, five schools with good overall records, but so-so BCS records.
Through four weeks, naturally there are some teams that look better than other. But when peer at the SEC through a BCS-only lens, it’s easy to realize that looks can sometimes be deceiving.
CORRECTION — Texas A&M’s win over SMU — now a member of the AAC which is still a BCS conference this season — gives the Aggies a point in the chart above.