Critics love to rip the SEC when it has a down year. Or a down week. Or a down bowl season. Those down times don’t happen very often — or in the last decade as the league has become the most dominant in all of college football.
Arkansas coach Bret Bielema chimed in on the strength of the conference following his team’s 45-23 Liberty Bowl win over Kansas State on Saturday. The SEC West went 6-1 in bowls this season, and all seven teams went bowling for the second straight year.
“What people have to realize is we play each other,” Bielema said, according to ESPN’s Greg Ostendorf. “If somebody wants to find out, come in and play all seven of us, and see what you think.”
The SEC struggled to a 7-5 record in the 2014 bowl season, only to come back and win a record eight bowls in 2015 with just two losses. Of the eight wins, seven were by 21 or more points, including the Hogs’.
“I think there’s been talk that the SEC is kind of down, that it’s not the best conference,” Arkansas quarterback Brandon Allen said after the game. “To see us playing all these other teams, it’s not even really close. That means a lot. The SEC has always been and will always be the toughest conference to play in.”
And Alabama still has one more game, as it faces Clemson in the national championship game on Jan. 11.
After the SEC collectively went 12-1 in Week 1 to start 2015, the league looked a bit more vulnerable in Week 2 as Arkansas lost to Toledo, Auburn survived an overtime scare against Jacksonville State and Tennessee blew a big home lead and lost to Oklahoma.
“It blows my mind that people can’t wrap around that concept. They just see it as a loss. Well, who’d they lose to? It’s really mind-blowing the fact that people can’t grasp that simple concept.”