The SEC’s place in the pecking order in college football is clear.
Nine national championships in the 19-season period since the start of the Bowl Championship Series hammers that point home to the rest of the country with the subtlety of a jackhammer.
That dominance began when the conference won seven straight titles from 2006-12 and eight titles in the last 11 seasons.
It was re-affirmed in a study by Fox Sports’ Stewart Mandel, who has categorized college football programs for many years.
Mandel’s methodology includes rating the top programs as kings. Schools just behind are considered barons. Third-tier programs are knights. Fourth-tier schools are peasants.
The SEC’s breakdown includes:
Alabama, Florida, LSU
Auburn, Georgia, Tennessee, Texas A&M
Arkansas, Missouri, Ole Miss, South Carolina
Kentucky, Mississippi State, Vanderbilt
A composite score can be gleaned by considering the total points of each conference.
Give a conference four points for knights, three points for barons, two points for knights and one point for a peasant.
The SEC compiled 35 points. Divided by the 14 members gives it a final average of 2.50 — somewhere between a baron and a knight.
That ranking is the highest of any Power Five conference. Other conferences ranked similarly include:
- Big Ten – 2.36
- ACC – 2.29
- Big 12 – 2.20
- Pac-12 – 2.17
The SEC’s national narrative took a beating after a 6-6 composite bowl record last season and Alabama’s narrow loss to Clemson in the BCS title game.
But Mandel’s rankings show that reports of the SEC’s demise are overstated – especially when the depth of the conference is considered.