Nonethless, we somehow find Alabama and Florida ranked 1-2 in the Associated Press poll. This comes a day after Oklahoma drilled the previous No. 2 — Texas Tech — by 44 points, while Florida was beating up on Citadel, a I-AA team it has no business playing. For some reason, SEC teams don't get penalized for 1) playing nonconferences schedules full of I-AA and Sun Belt opponents; 2) rarely playing road nonconference games.
So the buildup begins for Alabama and Florida in the SEC title game. Forget the Bowl Championship Series title game. There's no need for the Alabama-Florida winner to play an Oklahoma, Texas or USC. The SEC winner will have already done enough to win it all.
Seriously, what has the SEC accomplished this season? The answer is not much. Alabama has played Clemson, Tulane, Western Kentucky and Arkansas State in nonconference play and we've all seen what a house of cards Clemson turned out to be. Alabama's resume is built on one half against Georgia, which we were told was going to win the national title (more SEC hype). Don't forget that the Crimson Tide gave up 30 points in the second half to the Bulldogs.
Florida hasn't played a nonconference game out of the state since 1991, a 31-7 loss at Syracuse.
As for the rest of the conference, here's what you have. Auburn was ranked No. 10 at one point and Vanderbilt was No. 13. Combined, the Tigers and Commodores stand a pedestrian 11-11.
Tennessee was No. 18 in the preseason poll. It just fired Phil Fulmer after it lost at home to Wyoming.
Mississippi State lost at Louisiana Tech. Vanderbilt lost at home to Duke.
As for nonconference victories against Bowl Championship opponents, the resume is not impressive. The SEC can claim five victories. Alabama beat Clemson on a neutral field, Florida defeated Miami at Gainesville, Kentucky won at Louisville, Georgia won at Arizona State and South Carolina defeated North Carolina State in Colombia. Of the bunch, only Clemson and Miami are bowl-eligible.
When SEC teams have ventured on the road, it hasn't been pretty. Arkansas was routed at Texas, Auburn was drilled at West Virginia, Mississippi lost at Wake Forest, Mississippi State was embarrassed at Georgia Tech and Tennessee lost at lowly UCLA.
But what about that SEC speed, you ask? Check the video below from the 2008 Capital One Bowl. How do you explain Florida's world-class speedster Percy Harvin getting run down by Michigan's Morgan Trent?
We're not saying one conference is superior in 2008. That's not the point. What we're saying is that the SEC hasn't lived up to the hype.