SEC, ACC are deepest. But who has best conference?

We just completed our next-to-last weekend before the season starts. So what did we learn?

1.  SEC, ACC are the deepest conferences: We can argue all day about who has the best conference in college football. Is it the SEC with six teams in the Top 25 and two in the Top 10? Or is it the Big 12 with three teams in the Top 10 but with nobody else ranked? There is no winner in that argument.

What I like to do is use the polls (in this case the AP poll) to break down the conferences by depth. How many teams were ranked plus how many teams actually got votes?

SEC (8): Six ranked (Alabama, Florida, Arkansas, LSU, Auburn, Georgia). Two more got votes (South Carolina, Ole Miss.)

ACC (7): Five ranked (Virginia Tech, Miami, Georgia Tech, UNC, FSU). Two more got votes (Clemson, BC).

Big 12 (7): Three ranked (Texas, OU, Nebraska). Four more got votes (Missouri, Texas Tech, Texas A&M), Oklahoma State).

Pac-10 (6): Three ranked (Oregon, USC, Oregon State). Three more got votes (Stanford, Arizona, Washington).

Big Ten (4): Four ranked (Ohio State, Wisconsin, Iowa, Penn State). No others got votes.

Big East (4): Two ranked (Pittsburgh, West Virginia). Two others go votes (Cincinnati, Connecticut).

2. Tennessee really had no choice on UNC game: Tennessee athletics director Mike Hamilton is getting hammered by his fans for trying to buy out a two-game series with North Carolina in 2011 and 2012 and replacing the Tar Heels with Buffalo. It’s easy to understand why the fans are mad. Such a decision makes it look like the Vols are ducking North Carolina (which they are) and it gives opponents, like Steve Spurrier, a free shot (which he gleefully took).

But when your program is down–and Tennessee’s is way down thanks to 14 months under the Boy Wonder–you have to make some tough, unpopular decisions. You can pretend that nothing is wrong and still keep the same schedule. Or you can swallow your pride and modify the non-conference schedule in the short term to give Derek Dooley a chance to rebuild the program.

And let’s face it. Hamilton is fighting for his professional life as well. He needs for Dooley to have some success sooner rather than later. It was a tough decision but the right decision. And the right decisions are not always popular.

3. The WAC is in trouble as a Division I football conference: I spoke to WAC Commissioner Karl Benson on Thursday. He is not having a good summer. Back in June Boise State, the flagship football program of the WAC, announced it was headed to the Mountain West Conference in 2011. On Thursday the Mountain West took two more of Benson’s schools, Fresno State and Nevada. And this was right after he met with the presidents of the league, who all agreed to the idea that each school must pay $5 million penalty to leave the conference. Then the MWC picked up the phone when BYU threatened to leave. Nevada and Fresno will pay the $5 million. They want to go in 2011. Benson will fight to keep them until 2012.

Bottom line: The WAC had better hope that Boise State has another magical run this season. Because its long-term future as a football conference at this level does not look good.

Just asking: If you’re WAC member Louisiana Tech, shouldn’t you be on the phone begging to get into Conference USA or the Sun Belt?

4. I hope Scott Stricklin has an extra $130,000 in the bank: Stricklin is Mississippi State’s new athletics director and back in the spring helped forge a compromise that will allow Bulldog fans to bring their beloved cowbells to home games in Starkville. But there is one stipulation: Fans cannot ring the bells at inappropriate times like, for example, when the visiting team is trying to run a play. Strickland and his staff have launched an education program hoping to get their fans to buy in and follow the rules of when to ring–and more importantly–when not to ring.

If they don’t, the conference rules that apply to artificial or electronically generated sound kick in: The first violation is a $5,000 fine. The second is $25,000. Every violation after that costs a cool $50,000.

Four SEC home games in Starkville. You do the math. Stricklin will probably have to write a check or have $130,000 deducted from Mississippi State’s revenue check next spring. Fans can’t help it. That is why they are fans. And that’s why we love them.

5. The NCAA Clearinghouse is broken: I understand that the NCAA Academic Clearinghouse is understaffed and overworked. I also understand that these situations are always more complicated than they appear. But there is something fundamentally wrong about a freshman who has gone through training camp being told in mid-to-late August that he is not academically eligible to play. Such was the case late last week when Alfy Hill, an Alabama signee from Shallotte, N.C., was suddenly declared ineligible.  The Clearinghouse ruled that a couple of online courses Hill took would not be counted towards his eligibility. So suddenly the kid is ripped out of Tuscaloosa and will apparently enroll at East Carolina instead. He’ll have to sit out this year and cannot be on scholarship.

Maybe these online courses raised a red flag. Maybe they should raise a red flag. Maybe this is part of  what seems to be a larger NCAA crackdown on just about everything from agents to living quarters. Whatever. Either the kid is eligible or he’s not. But he shouldn’t find out this late in the game.

Is it any wonder that kids take stuff from agents and others? They know the system is stacked against them. If the school signs too many players, they can get their scholarship yanked two weeks before class begins. Sorry kid. It’s a numbers game.

And what if the Clearinghouse drags its feet or is too understaffed to process the cases in a timely fashion? That’s just too bad for you, young man. Now you have to pack up and go home. I guess it’s tough being you right now.

Bottom line: All Clearinghouse cases involving football players must be resolved by August 1. No exceptions. Hire the staff. Other than rules enforcement and conducting championships, what does the NCAA do that is more important than this?

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440 comments Add your comment

Lewis Grizzard

August 23rd, 2010
2:46 pm

? down ?, those were Fulmer recruits… not ‘Boy Wonder’ recruits. Kiffin was/is an idiot of the highest magnitude. Again, Dooley will get Tennessee back on the right track if given the chance.

Nole 5050

August 23rd, 2010
2:53 pm

Tennessee does have a choice- they can man up and play the schedule they agreed to play. Please spare me the hearts and flowers in absolving them for ducking the schedule.

Delbert D.

August 23rd, 2010
2:53 pm

Georgia Tech had to schedule Gardner-Webb in 2008 because Army backed out late. It may have worked out better if Tech had just left the date open. A hugely embarrassing 10-7 win, albeit without Nesbitt.

TNDave

August 23rd, 2010
3:01 pm

Dropping UNC or not, we still own Georgia. Every year I read how bad you guys are going to be us and we end up putting the hammer to you, just like last year. You guys have the most overrated football program in the history of the NCAA.

what?

August 23rd, 2010
3:05 pm

TNDave:

“in the history of the NCAA”?
Outlandish statements were Kiffin’s trademark. UGA finished higher than their preseason ranking in 6 of the last 9 years. That doesn’t sound like “overrated” to me. Your bitter attitude still doesn’t make up for ducking UNC!!

TNDave

August 23rd, 2010
3:10 pm

What were the scores 3 of the last 4 games? Ask anyone who doesn’t live in this area and they will tell you no school does less with more than UGA. Either the recruiting services are wrong or your coaches aren’t doing their job. You guys will be lucky to win 8 games this year even with your soft schedule. It will interesting to see how you act after losing 2 of your first 3 games.

Biff Condor and the Mid morning Raiders

August 23rd, 2010
3:19 pm

TNDave is a big talker with a coach from La. Tech and a losing record to boot. This after they hired Kiffen, also a loser who dumped their program and hauled a$$ when he got a better offer. And then they dump the UNC game to play Buffalo. Yea, you go TNDave.

Time Out

August 23rd, 2010
3:20 pm

Nesbitt has the arm strength of a girl.

Boca Baby

August 23rd, 2010
3:23 pm

Why is the NCAA Clearinghouse understaffed in the first place? The NCAA makes money out the whazoo. This is a lame excuse. In other words, they don’t have an excuse.

Boca Baby

August 23rd, 2010
3:25 pm

Tennessee is going to suck out loud this year. It couldn’t happen to a nicer bunch.

rick

August 23rd, 2010
3:26 pm

what? ….uh what? four time s.b. winning coach chuck knoll from ohio . 2 time s.b. winner and winningest coach of all time , don shula, from ohio . s.b. winner john gruden , ohio , and all but 1 of the last 10 ncaa champ coaches have been from or coached in ohio . stoops, meyer miles, saban , carroll , and tressel . (carroll is a stretch!)

TNDave

August 23rd, 2010
3:28 pm

Maybe TNDave is big talker, but you still didn’t comment on 3 of the last 4 games when we’ve could have run the score upon you more than we did. We beat you worse than FL last year.

what?

August 23rd, 2010
3:29 pm

The people in this area are the ONLY ones who say outlandish stuff like that Dave. Nobody in any other part of the country thinks that. I think UGA has finished about where the recruiting rankings have placed them. Contrary to popular belief, UGA has NEVER had the top rated recruiting class and has been top 5 once or twice- THAT’S IT. Blindly following other people’s outlandish statements without knowledge is very foolhardy.

Cracker Jacket

August 23rd, 2010
3:29 pm

Beast – very simple. If you pund the ever loving crap out of the dogs, they hate you, a la Spurrier.

what?

August 23rd, 2010
3:31 pm

Could’ve run the score up? When?

rick

August 23rd, 2010
3:32 pm

just so you will know , the two generals who won the civil war , grant and sherman , were also from ohio . just thought i would toss that one in………………lol.

what?

August 23rd, 2010
3:32 pm

Cracker Jacket,

Kind of like UGA “punding” the living crap out of the Nerds?

TNDave

August 23rd, 2010
3:33 pm

Back to the thing that really matters, the games. We’ve scored at will against UGA and this year will be no different. You guys think no one has seen a 3 – 4 defense before? You couldn’t even win the SEC east when you had Stafford.

DawginLex

August 23rd, 2010
3:33 pm

TNDAVE,

Don’t let the facts get in the way of your spewing.

Last 10 games: UGA 6-4
under coach Richt: UGA-5-4

UT’s last SEC title 1998

UGA has won 2 since then.

UT is starting 3 true freshmen on the OL in 2010. You will get stomped in Athens.

what?

August 23rd, 2010
3:34 pm

“King James” is from Ohio too and he’s a loser douch bag!!

what?

August 23rd, 2010
3:36 pm

TNDave,

If you think Tennessee has a chance against UGA this year you are insane. UGA will win by no less than 3 TD’s!!!! The game has been circled for a long time my friend.

gdawginkalamazoo

August 23rd, 2010
3:36 pm

TNDave, that is one thing you are right about. It cost us a shot at the NC in 2007 and last year was just plain embarrassing. With a new DC we all hope that will change, hell it can’t get any worse. Dawg fans know that our D has been lackluster at best the past 2-3 years. Dooley can get UT back on track but backing out of games with an ACC oppponent isn’t the way to do it. How does he measure the level of his program by playhing Buffalo? I would think if you want to get all the way back to prominence then manning up and playing UNC would give you a better idea of where you are at.

rick

August 23rd, 2010
3:37 pm

don’t be jealous what. i am just reporting the facts . james is a bag for what he did . no denying it .

Tim

August 23rd, 2010
3:37 pm

Even in times of vast unemployment, it appears the NCAA has trouble finding those who meet its low standards…….so we have work delays. No surprise they are still abusing athletes, fans, and the institutions that built the NCAA castle.

Cracker Jacket

August 23rd, 2010
3:39 pm

Delbert – that was an emabarrasing win against Gardner Webb. Reminds me of when the dogs got beat by Vandy in 2006 and sqeaked by with a field goal in 2007. You gotta play hard every game.

DawginLex

August 23rd, 2010
3:40 pm

TNDAVE,

just looked at Vandy’s schedule. you know what the most winnable game is for them?

UT

Otherwise they are 0-12.

gdawginkalamazoo

August 23rd, 2010
3:40 pm

what? I wouldn’t count on a W against UT this year. Remember last year? Remember 2007? That’s a game we should have won most of this decade, not be 6-4 against. And two arse whippings thrown in. Time for payback for the last couple of years.

Delbert D.

August 23rd, 2010
3:41 pm

TNDave – I just downloaded the UT media guide, and working through it I counted 11 players who had significant starts last year (including a couple of guys who became starters late in the season.) I excluded the players who have transferred and also the P and PK (who both return).

I usually do an actual count, game-by-game from the cumulative statistics download, but that data is not in the statistics. But does that sound about right, for the number of returning starters?

Cracker Jacket

August 23rd, 2010
3:45 pm

What – 6 points is hardly a pounding, especially when BayBay dropped a pass that hit him in the hands with no dogs in site at the end to tie it. But a win is a win and it really doesn’t matter how mnay points you score. 1 point is enough. A POUNDING is what Florida and Tennessee and Alabama did to y’all.

what?

August 23rd, 2010
3:47 pm

gdawginkalamazoo,

It is a W. There is NO DOUBT about it. Payback will be he!!.
Cracker Jacket,

Vandy is an SEC team….Gardner Webb , well, is not.

what?

August 23rd, 2010
3:50 pm

Alabama won by 10 points and we beat them the year before. I was talking about the beatings that go on year after year (8 out of 9) including 51-7!!!! Also, enough with the damn excuses about BahBah (how would he have tied it when he dropped it at the 40 yard line?). You lost…AGAIN!!!

KC

August 23rd, 2010
3:51 pm

I’ve seen ALL of these comments over time on these very blogs.

Paul Johnson will never win at Navy. Wrong-had much success at Navy(W 45-L29).
Triple option will never work at Division I college level. Wrong. Overall record Div 1 record W65-L40.
Triple Option would never work in a BCS Conference. Wrong. Overall 2 year won loss record of 20-7.
Running the Triple option will never lead to consistently ranked football teams. Wrong-Georgia Tech has been ranked at the end of the seasons in 2008 and 2009.
Tech will never go to a BCS Bowl with the Triple option offense. Wrong.
Tech will never win the ACC championship with the triple option offense. Wrong.

2008
Jax St. is going to come to Atlanta with former SEC quarterback Ryan Perriloux and Beat Georgia Tech. Wrong.
Mississipi State of the SEC is going to come in and beat Georgia Tech. Wrong.
Florida State and Miami with all that speed and talent will come in to Atlanta and win. Wrong.
Georgia will dominate and beat Georgia Tech in 2008. Wrong.

2009.
Opponents will stop the triple option now that they have had a year to see and play against it. Wrong.
UNC “Stopped” the Triple Option in 2008, they have the “formula” and they will stop it again in 2009. Wrong.
Tech got lucky when they beat Clemson and Florida State in 2008-it won’t happen in 2009. Wrong.
Tech will never beat Virginia Tech as Bud Foster also has the “formula” for stopping the triple option. Wrong.
Tech will never beat Clemson twice in the same year. Clemson will know how to stop the t.o having played against it earlier in the year. Wrong.

Remaining goals.
Win BCS Bowl
Win National Championship at Division 1 Level

Go ahead haters-tell us now THAT won’t happen. You’ve been soooo right so far.

YEAH

August 23rd, 2010
3:51 pm

51-7 is a “punding”!!!

Lewis Grizzard

August 23rd, 2010
3:53 pm

what?

has a hearing problem, or an A/D/D problem, or both

what?

August 23rd, 2010
3:53 pm

KC,

you forgot “2009: GT will kill Georgia”- WRONG

gdawginkalamazoo

August 23rd, 2010
3:54 pm

what? I hope you are right. It was suppose to be in the bag last year. New coach, terrible QB etc.

what?

August 23rd, 2010
3:54 pm

hows that Lewis? Enlighten me.

TNDave

August 23rd, 2010
3:56 pm

At least we won the NC game in 1998. You guys haven’t even been to one since 1980. 30 Years and you think you’re program is that good? Come on, go on the facts and not the emotions.

Delbert D.

August 23rd, 2010
3:58 pm

DawginLex – Seems like a good time to repost this. It could be argued that Vandy should be moved up a couple of spots. But it’s only my analysis, anyway, it’s not like it’s from SI or Athlon.

Delbert D.
July 29th, 2010
11:09 am

SEC 2010 Out of Conference Games (* away # neutral site)
Alabama_________San Jose St., Penn St., Duke*, Ga. St.
Auburn__________Ark. St., Clemson, UL-Monroe, UT-Chatt. (8 home games)
Arkansas________Tenn. Tech, UL-Monroe, Texas A&M*, UTEP
Ole Miss________Jacksonville St., Tulane*, Fresno St., UL-Lafayette
Miss. St_________Memphis, Alcorn St., Houston*, UAB
LSU____________UNC#, West Va., McNeese St., UL-Monroe

Florida__________Miami (OH), USF, App. St., FSU*
South Carolina___So. Miss., Furman, Troy, Clemson*
Georgia_________UL-Lafayette, Colorado*, Idaho St., Ga. Tech (5 road games, + #)
Kentucky________Louisville*, W. Kentucky, Akron, Chas. Southern
Vanderbilt_______Northwestern, Connecticut*, E. Mich, Wake Forest
Tennessee______UT-Martin, Oregon, UAB, Memphis*

Delbert’s Difficulty Ranking
1. LSU
2. Florida
3. Georgia
4. Tennessee
5. SC
6. Alabama
7. Vanderbilt
8. Miss. St.
9. Auburn
10. Kentucky
11. Arkansas
12. Ole Miss

DawginLex

August 23rd, 2010
3:59 pm

I am pointing out the facts to you oh delusional Dave.

6-4 this decade vs UT is not “UT always pounds UGA every year’

Read son.

DawginLex

August 23rd, 2010
4:01 pm

Vandy’s only chance at a win this year is UT and maybe E Michigan. Your difficulty scale should rate them first if it is based on probability of winning the games.

Dawghater

August 23rd, 2010
4:02 pm

Tony, Tony, Tony! Do you know how many UGA fans will be writing you nasty blogs. How dare your say the ACC has a deep conference. UGA fans have the delusion that the SEC is only conference in the country! Good Insight!

Damon Evans

August 23rd, 2010
4:02 pm

Any know where I can get a good martini?

Pour me a Guinness

August 23rd, 2010
4:02 pm

DawginLex, don’t waste your time with the Tennessee flamer. After all, they’re afraid to play an ACC team.

KC

August 23rd, 2010
4:04 pm

what? Georgia was the better team in 09 and won the game. That doesn’t discount any of my points though.

DawginLex

August 23rd, 2010
4:04 pm

SEC and ACC put more players in the pros than any other conferences. Not saying that there are not good players in the ACC.

However, the results on the field speak something else. Especially head to head with the SEC. Please don’t spew about Tech beating Vandy OK?

Boca Baby

August 23rd, 2010
4:04 pm

(((30–24))) 344 yds rushing, 8-1. KC you understand these numbers don’t you? Now take your ball and go home, your mommy’s calling.

KC

August 23rd, 2010
4:06 pm

boca baby. UGA won the game vs GT in 2009-they were the better team that day. That doesn’t discount any of my points though.

Boca Baby

August 23rd, 2010
4:07 pm

KC: Why doesn’t Tech jump ship and come back into the SEC. Post those numbers in an eight game conference schedule and then the stats will be credible.

Delbert D.

August 23rd, 2010
4:07 pm

what? – “KC,

you forgot “2009: GT will kill Georgia”- WRONG”

Valid point. Quite a few fans had abandoned the bandwagon last year when Georgia was 6-5, thinking they would lose to Georgia Tech, and were screaming for coaches’ heads. Then Georgia beat Georgia Tech, and then they seemed to want only Coaches Bobo and Martinez to be fired.