Seven SEC Bowl Wins Ring Hollow

The holiday season is a showcase opportunity for conferences to promote their individual stars and collective teams on the premiere stage of college football. An NCAA record 12 Southeastern Conference teams received a post-season invite, and seven of them posted wins. Not bad, except that the SEC Western Division – perceived as the strength of the league and of the nation -- fell flat.

The league has won an NCAA record seven postseasons bowl games three times – 2007, 2013 and 2014.

Alabama (1), Auburn (19), Mississippi State (7) and Ole Miss (9) lost to ranked opponents – Ohio State (4), Wisconsin (18), Georgia Tech (12) and TCU (6). LSU (23) came up short against unranked Notre Dame.

Florida, Georgia (13), Missouri (16), South Carolina and Tennessee from the SEC Eastern Division were victorious. SEC Western Division members Arkansas and Texas A&M Also were in the winning column.

A thorough analysis of the 7-5 record reveals only two of the seven victories came against ranked teams. Georgia and Missouri defeated Louisville (21) and Minnesota (25).

What are the ramifications of the league’s crème de la crème losing, particularly by wide margins in some cases? The proverbial pendulum of power has resided in the SEC for nearly a decade. Eight consecutive years, a member school has participated in the national championship game. Seven straight times the SEC hoisted the trophy symbolizing supremacy. Ironically the league omnipresent in the national championship conversation since 2006 does not have a representative in the final game.

Human pollsters and computers in the BCS era agreed the preeminent reputation of the SEC was valid. The league’s self-proclaimed fame as the best was acknowledged with high rankings and selection as one of the two finalists every year. Even with the advent of the College Football Playoff Selection Committee evaluation process, the SEC was the favored choice among the power five conferences this season.

Three of the four teams chosen had a single loss – Alabama, Oregon and Ohio State. The Tide was seeded number one in the inaugural CFP pairings, even though the final four included the undefeated and defending national championship team, Florida State.

Bowl victories act as an exclamation point to the regular season and garner future good will in the minds of voters and now selection committee members. Cries of false advertising by other conferences, coaches and fans outside the region are sure to reach a crescendo in the coming months after the recent less than stellar bowl performance.

The prevailing perception of the SEC as the paramount conference has been jeopardized. "Gone with the Wind" is the notion the league is a dominant entity.

Recapturing a measure of lost luster can be accomplished with early season wins over perceived power five elite teams. Non-conference top 25 ranked foes from the 2014 season lined up on schedules for 2015 are limited. Eight SEC teams will play seven opponents – Alabama vs. Wisconsin, Auburn and Kentucky vs. Louisville, Florida vs. Florida State, Georgia vs. Georgia Tech, South Carolina vs. Clemson, Tennessee vs. Oklahoma, and Texas A&M vs. Arizona State. Full rejuvenation of the brand depends on a successful 2015-16 bowl season.


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