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

Boca Baby

August 23rd, 2010
4:08 pm

KC: But how can you explain the 8-1? And when is the last time you won a bowl game?

AD formerly known as Daddy Damon

August 23rd, 2010
4:08 pm

Heyah, Honey, blow on this whilst I hold yo’ drawuhs.

KC

August 23rd, 2010
4:08 pm

Boca Baby SEC is the best conference in college football. That doesn’t discount any of my points though.

Tide Rising

August 23rd, 2010
4:09 pm

UT should not be backing down from UNC. If it were Texas or USC I would understand but not UNC. UT has not suffered any scholly losses as a result of probation or anything like that and there is no way that in one year that Lane Kiffin could destroy a whole program. On the contrary people were saying he brought in a great recruiting class and had another good class lined up before he left. Plus UNC loses a lot of great seniors this year, especially on defense where several seniors on this team could have gone pro as jrs.

The only reason I could possibly think that UT would still think they are down next year and the year after would be if the people at the top are expecting to get hammered with major NCAA violations and thus they already know the program will be suffering sanctions. Other than that Dooley should be able to do what a lot of other coaches have done-Meyer, Saban, Richt, etc. and have his program rolling full steam in his 2nd year as those coaches did. Makes me wonder if UT’s athletic director knows if there is something brewing that the rest of us don’t know about.

Biff Condor and the Mid morning Raiders

August 23rd, 2010
4:10 pm

TNDave.. You guys punked out on playing UNC to play Buffalo. What is that about? Thanks for embarrasing the SEC!

Boca Baby

August 23rd, 2010
4:10 pm

KC: That is the point. Your points have no credibility because of where the numbers were posted. If you cannot see that then you are truly deluded.

69dog

August 23rd, 2010
4:13 pm

UGA is Just Fine...

August 23rd, 2010
4:14 pm

I will say this much for the ACC, they have the non-conference schedule to get some respect this year. Win the majority of them respect will be earned, drop most of them and they may fall behind the Big East.
Here are the notable games with predictions
UNC vs LSU (LSU wins – UNC has no offense, and D will be hurt by agentgate)
FSU vs OK & UF (FSU loses both, but the games will closer than most think)
VT vs Boise St (Gotta go Boise here, they are much better than people give them credit for, only lost 1 starter K.Wilson) and C.Peterson can flat out coach and game plan.
GT vs Kansas,UGA (GT goes 1-1 here, and no the jayhawks aren’t the loss)
Miami vs OHST, Pitt (I think Miami wins both of these and could be a darkhorse top 5 team. Tons of speed tons of talent, and ohst just doesn’t play teams with great team speed well.)
UVA vs USC(trojans)(USC wins, still have a ton of talent, and UVA is…well they’re still UVA)
Wake vs Stanford (flip a coin)
Duke vs Bama (Duke gets destroyed)
Clemson vs Auburn, SC (1-1, again flip a coin for which one, I think they beat SC but lose to Auburn)

Thoughts?

Delbert D.

August 23rd, 2010
4:15 pm

DawginLex – That would be a different ranking system, although it would include the OOC difficulty component. The SEC was more difficult to rank by me than the ACC, since the presence of one only difficult opponent affects the ranking of some teams in the SEC. An example of that is Alabama.

Lane Kiffin

August 23rd, 2010
4:21 pm

UT can’t blame me for being cowards. I recruited a top 10 class and we hung 45 on Jawga. Double D is a chicken sh!t and won’t play nobody, not me.

DAWG07

August 23rd, 2010
4:24 pm

As an avid SEC fan I admit National Championships translates to lots of luck and peaking at the right time. Take AL last year, lots of breaks and luck could have easily lost several games before the big game and got hugh break with UT QB going down early. A good team but not a great team but lots of breaks ”’

TNDave

August 23rd, 2010
4:26 pm

You guys better watch out again for that great KY team that beat you last year! Oh, but I’m sure
the 3-4 defense is just what the doctor ordered! It’s so much fun beating you guys with your own players! Da’rick, Juwan James, Eric Berry, Jamal Lewis, etc… Keep building those great high school players for us. We appreciate it.

Delbert D.

August 23rd, 2010
4:30 pm

UGA is just fine – FSU is #1 in my ACC OOC ranking:

FSU___________Samford, Oklahoma*, BYU, Florida

I ranked Georgia Tech #7:

Ga. Tech_______SC St., Kansas*, MTSU, Georgia*

MTSU is a 3 game, home and home opponent, 10 wins last year including a bowl win. Since I originally did those rankings, 2 things have happened. Turner Gill replaced the maniacal Mark Mangino, and it appears that MTSU’s star QB is in *big* trouble with a police investigation in progress.

Delbert D.

August 23rd, 2010
4:33 pm

Mangino was fired by Kansas for alleged player abuse, charges of bigotry and a litany of related stuff. Makes for a good Google search.

Freddie

August 23rd, 2010
4:34 pm

SEC is deepest, and any conference Mark Richt is in, will be favored, when Richt was in the ACC, FSU & ACC dominated, of course, now that Richt’s in the SEC, the SEC has dominated.

Wherever Mark Richt goes, that’s which conference dominates.

Just the way it is.

J City BDogs

August 23rd, 2010
4:36 pm

Anybody noticed, that when Richt was in the ACC, the ACC & FSU was always in the hunt, and now that Richt’s in the SEC, Georgia & SEC is in the hunt?

It’s a 25 year trend, and Mark Richt is the onyl common denominator.

Baller

August 23rd, 2010
4:37 pm

Freddie-

Good stuff, havn’t thought about that, you’re the first guy to bring that out.

Best post I’ve read in years.

NC Time

August 23rd, 2010
4:39 pm

JCITY, I agree, Saban & Meyer didn’t influuence their conferences the way Mark Richt has, Utah? please, Mich St, don’t think so, Richt’s been the King Pin for the last 25 year sin college football, wherever he goes, that conference dominates.

Double A

August 23rd, 2010
4:39 pm

Is Dooley or Chizik the worse hire?

Both are awful and will be fired within 3-4 years.

J City BDogs

August 23rd, 2010
4:40 pm

Wheever Richt goes, since 1985, that conference is the strongest. Everybody follows Richt, the top Dawg.

Patrick Sulley arrives with his first 3 handles

August 23rd, 2010
4:40 pm

Patrick Sulley alert,

Freddie,
JcityBdogs,
Balller

All 3 are the same person using different handles talking to himself. What a troll. It is the infamous Patrick Sulley

Delbert D.

August 23rd, 2010
4:41 pm

How does anybody explain th 8-1? I explain it this way: It is a coach’s record against a *team* during his tenure. Now that *team* has a different coach. His record against the other *team* is 1-1.

W-L records for current coaches should be against current coaches, mano a mano. Jim Donnan might still be HC at Georgia if Bill Lewis had been give a Paul Hewitt-type contract.

Patrick Sulley arrives with his first 3 handles

August 23rd, 2010
4:41 pm

NC time is Patrick the troll’s 4th handle.

Beast from the East

August 23rd, 2010
4:42 pm

Not sure if it is Patrick or not, but whoever it is is certainly talking to himself! Could this really be Richt’s wife? If not, he certainly appears to want to be!

Freddie

August 23rd, 2010
4:42 pm

Thanks Baller, I’m not sure why no one else has noticed this. Pretty obvious to me, just how influential Mark Richt has been for the last couple of dozen years in college football. Basically, which team he coaches, their conference starts getting noticed by the media, whether Richt’s in the ACC, or SEC.

LHardingDawg

August 23rd, 2010
4:43 pm

TNDave needs to go back to the Knoxville paper. I can’t ever remember Georgia backing out on a football game. Ever!

DawginLex

August 23rd, 2010
4:43 pm

Last Saturday in november 2010

UK 28
UT 24

The drought ends.

NC Time

August 23rd, 2010
4:44 pm

Freddie—

Why don’t people like Herbsteit and Jame son ESPN point this out/ They’re so anti-Georgia, didn’t even vote Georgia top 25 pre-season, absurd, should be firesd for their stupidity.

Baller

August 23rd, 2010
4:45 pm

Yep, you guys are right.

Richt’s in the ACC 1985-2000, ACC is the main conference.

Richt shifts to SEC in 2001-2009, SEC becomes the most influential conference.

Wheever Richt goes, football follows.

Follow the leader, his name is Mark Richt.

Patrick Sulley arrives with his first 4 handles

August 23rd, 2010
4:45 pm

beast of the east,

He’s here. Already talking to himself with his first 4 handles. This troll is easy to detect because his first 3 or 4 handles all agree with each other and they all extoll the virtues of Richt with some off the wall statistic that has nothing to do with nothing. Now he is saying whatever conference Richt is in that conference dominates by simple fact that Richt is in the conference.

Troll detector has found Patrick already he is baller, freddy, nc time, and jcityBdogs

Andy

August 23rd, 2010
4:48 pm

I don’t know why Kirk Herbstriet even has a job after he didn’t vote Mark Richt into the top 25 pre-season, since Richt’s finished in the TOP 10, 19 times in the last 24 seasons. The bias is unreal.

The truth

August 23rd, 2010
4:48 pm

LHardingDawg,

Georgia backed out of a return trip to LA to play UCLA in 1986. UCLA came to Athens in 85 and the dawgs reneged on the return trip. They should have gone because UGA went 50 years without playing a regular season game outside of the friendly confines of the immediate southeast.

Community Organizer

August 23rd, 2010
4:48 pm

As you say 8 SEC teams ranked and 7 ACC, why has no one mentioned that the SEC has more teams?

Delbert D.

August 23rd, 2010
4:49 pm

Time to check out. Blog’s dead. The self-assumed handmaid to Mark Richt as a diety has arrived like a virus.

SEC

August 23rd, 2010
4:49 pm

Community organizer,

Because some things are self evident

Sanders

August 23rd, 2010
4:50 pm

What a nut. Anyone that agrees with Freddie is a fake, sure? We all have to agree with Beast or he goes nuts. Beast has the lamest posts on this blog, his posts are troll like, can’t miss him.

Troll Detector

August 23rd, 2010
4:51 pm

Delbert D.,

You are correct. The troll blogger with all the multiple handles who talks to himself all day and thinks Mark Richt is God has appeared with at least 4 handles already. Its none other than patrick sulley.

Troll Detector

August 23rd, 2010
4:53 pm

Sanders must be handle # 5 for the troll known as Patrick Sulley and today as – Freddie, jcityBdogs, baller, and nc time

The Whole Bandit

August 23rd, 2010
4:54 pm

Agreed, SEC is strongest right now, because Mark Richt’s in the SEC. If Richt switches to any other conference, that conference will become the focus of college football. Since 1985 Richt’s been the central hub for college football’s conference power. That’s an undeniable fact.

Jammer Hammer

August 23rd, 2010
4:55 pm

Uh huh baby, where Richt be, the power in college football be.

Cheese Whiz

August 23rd, 2010
4:57 pm

P.S. Delbert’s posts are lamer than Beast’s, anydays. The guy is clueless when it comes to college football, and rarely post on topic. Yes, the SEC dominates now, and is deep, because Richt’s in the SEC, as any football knows.

Go Vols

August 23rd, 2010
4:58 pm

I don’t like how the decision to drop UNC looks. I like it even less how bad my Vols will be for the next two years (light on talent, tough SEC schedule). I am hopeful that we will return to competitiveness the following year.

Cowbell

August 23rd, 2010
4:58 pm

Hey, why does college football always swing to whichever conference Coach Richt goes to?

Cowbell

August 23rd, 2010
4:59 pm

Whichever game Herbstiet calls, that’s the one all college football fans ignore.

Hello Dolly

August 23rd, 2010
5:01 pm

Hey Delbert-

You checked out a long time ago by the looks of your posts–what a loony poster.

Man Up, Time's Up

August 23rd, 2010
5:03 pm

Look, it’s simple, Mark Richt goes to FSU, ACC dominates college football for 15 years while Richt’s there. Richt goes to Georgia, SEC dominates college football for 9 years.

DawginLex

August 23rd, 2010
5:05 pm

Actually Herbstreit picked auburn to play florida for the SEC but, he did pick UGA as his darkhorse team for the SEC title.

UGA is Just Fine...

August 23rd, 2010
5:05 pm

Freddie
JCity Bdogs
Baller
NC Time
The Whole Bandit
Jammer Hammer
Cheese Whiz
Cowbell

Dude, you’re only fooling yourself. You might want to change up your diction if you want to try to fool anyone. you are as transparent as freshly windexed glass.

Freddie

August 23rd, 2010
5:06 pm

Tony:

The best conference is whichever one Richt’s in, check the stats, since 1985.

Tar Guy

August 23rd, 2010
5:09 pm

Poor Beast, if you don’t agree with him, he labels you in his anti-fan club. Someobody needs a hug.