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October 2, 2013

Is the Pac-12 on the verge of unseating the SEC?

As we venture into Knoxville, let's not over look what happened in week three to Tennessee:

Final

Tennessee 14

(2-1, 0-1 away)

(2) Oregon 59

(3-0, 2-0 home)
Coverage: ABC
3:30 PM ET, September 14, 2013
Autzen Stadium, EUGENE, OR
1234T
TENN700714
#2ORE102821059
Top Performers
Passing: M. Mariota (ORE) - 456 YDS, 4 TD
Rushing: D. Thomas (ORE) - 13 CAR, 86 YDS, 1 TD
Receiving: J. Mundt (ORE) - 5 REC, 121 YDS, 2 TD












And it wasn't that close.

Still, to use it as some sort of proof the Pac-12 is catching the SEC takes a pretty big leap, if you ask me. Yet, that is what Paul Myerberg did in the USA Today.

Let me say, I'm a fan of Myerberg. He is (usually) even handed and level headed. However this isn't his best work. Especially when Exhibit A for his thesis is this:
Oregon's near-flawless win against a blueblood SEC program serves as a microcosm of the Pac-12's recent growth
I guess that is one way to look at it. Or you could say that the best team in the Pac-12 did exactly what they should have done at home against the hopelessly over matched 13th best team in the SEC. Does anyone think there would be a different outcome if Alabama played Washington State in Tuscaloosa, especially considering the Cougars lost to the 9th or 10th best team in the SEC in Auburn opening weekend?

I get what Myerberg is saying, and he is right. The Pac-12 is the best conference to challenge the SEC from top to bottom. However, when you look at the two conferences side by side, I'd say they have a ways to go:

NCAA Men's Football - Southeastern (2013-2014)
Conf. Ranking: 1    Conf. SOS Rank: 1
Overall Recard: 43-18    Non-Conf Record: 32-7
Only games against Division I opponents are counted.
Rankings update every 5 mins.
Last updated - Wed Oct 2 10:01:07 PDT 2013
RankSoutheasternConfAllIndexSOS RkSOS

West Division
Alabama2-0  4-0 50.207 60.67
Texas A&M1-1  4-1 44.099 60.22
16 LSU1-1  4-1 38.0225 57.03
34 Mississippi1-1  3-1 28.1065 54.02
51 Auburn1-1  3-1 23.1412 58.66
62 Mississippi St.0-1  2-2 21.8373 53.61
72 Arkansas0-1  3-2 21.0545 55.34

East Division
Georgia2-0  3-1 45.201 64.44
11 South Carolina1-1  3-1 41.8817 57.68
14 Florida2-0  3-1 39.8123 57.26
24 Missouri0-0  4-0 33.0647 55.24
50 Vanderbilt0-2  3-2 23.62192 45.98
64 Tennessee0-1  3-2 21.6648 55.16
113 Kentucky0-1  1-3 16.6521 57.30

NCAA Men's Football - Pacific-12 (2013-2014)
Conf. Ranking: 2    Conf. SOS Rank: 2
Overall Recard: 37-12    Non-Conf Record: 29-4
Only games against Division I opponents are counted.
Rankings update every 5 mins.
Last updated - Wed Oct 2 10:01:07 PDT 2013
RankPacific-12ConfAllIndexSOS RkSOS

South Division
12 UCLA0-0  3-0 41.09142 49.36
31 Arizona St.1-1  3-1 28.8254 54.66
32 Arizona0-1  3-1 28.658 60.61
33 Utah0-1  3-1 28.33108 51.29
59 USC0-2  3-2 22.4366 53.97
82 Colorado0-1  2-1 20.0661 54.11

North Division
Oregon1-0  4-0 47.19120 50.70
Stanford2-0  4-0 46.1653 54.69
18 Washington1-0  4-0 37.0452 54.72
35 Oregon St.2-0  4-1 28.05125 50.27
66 Washington St.1-1  3-2 21.5415 57.97
94 California0-1  1-3 18.912 64.28
Looking over the SOS numbers, only two SEC teams, Vandy and Mississippi State, has played a schedule below the top 50, with Georgia (1), Alabama (7), and Texas A&M (9) all playing top ten schedules. In the Pac-12, only three teams have played a top 50 schedule, led by California (2) and Arizona (8) in the top ten. 

Oregon has played the 120th toughest schedule this season. 

I get Myerberg's point: The Pac-12 has the financial resources, a commissioner who gets what it takes to brand the conference, programs willing to devote the resources to the kind of excellence it takes to be national players, and two legitimate national championship contenders. The Pac-12 may well end up with a national championship team this season. However none of that means the Pac-12 has passed the SEC in terms of top to bottom quality, national consciousness, or ability to field compelling match-ups through the season. 

TD

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