Tuesday, the SEC became the first conference to ever have 10 teams ranked in the Associated Press Top 25. You can argue the merits of whether the league deserves to have double-digit teams ranked in what’s a meaningless poll, but that doesn’t mean the conference isn’t gonna crow about it nonetheless — or go over the top in touting how deep the league is while simultaneously taking shots at the current king of the college football hill.
During the weekly SEC coaches teleconference, Les Miles was asked about the 10 SEC teams — No. 2 Alabama, No. 6 Auburn, No. 10 Georgia, No. 14 LSU, No. 16 Texas A&M, No. 17 Ole Miss, No. 18 Arkansas, No. 21 Missouri, No. 23 Tennessee, No. 25 Mississippi State — being ranked in the AP Top 25. Miles jokingly (I think) stated that the 10 teams wasn’t enough for the 14-team league.
“I think the SEC should have 25 teams ranked in the top 25,” said the LSU head coach. “They didn’t quite use all of them or rank second teams.
“This league is as good as any league in America.”
A short time later, it was Arkansas’ Bret Bielema‘s turn, and he used the opportunity to tout how tough of a stretch his Razorbacks will face when they enter conference play. And to get chippy with Ohio State’s schedule.
Bielema certainly has a point when it comes to OSU’s schedule moving forward. After beating an unranked Virginia Tech on the road in Week 1, OSU will go another nine games before facing a team that is currently ranked — No. 5 Michigan State. Not only that, but the only team in that nine-game stretch that received votes in the AP poll was Minnesota with five, a total that would put them 36th in the country. Add in the regular-season finale against Michigan, and OSU could very well go the entire season facing just one ranked squad, which will certainly be the focus of any rhetoric directed at the College Football Playoff committee by those with a vested interest in securing one — or more — playoff spots.
Circle back around, though, and there’s the question of whether the SEC actually deserves to have those 10 ranked teams as part of its postseason résumé. The AP voters thought they were deserving, and that’s enough for the SEC to add another notch to a football bedpost that’s been bereft of titles the last two seasons. And, ironically enough, the drought was extended by the easy-slate Buckeyes at the expense of the best the SEC had to offer in 2014.