Paul Finebaum

The SEC has been represented by Alabama in each of the last two national championship games. If you include the BCS title games, the SEC has been represented 10 out of the last 11 years dating back to 2006.

Despite this ridiculous stat, two well-known college football broadcasters think the SEC has fallen from grace.

The first is Paul Finebaum. The 62-year-old is a prominent figure on the SEC Network and ESPN talking about the glory of SEC football. On ESPN’s Mike & Mike Thursday morning, Finebaum didn’t parse his words when he made the bold statement that the SEC is no longer a powerhouse.

“It’s time to tell the truth down here. The SEC won six straight National Championships and owned college football, but it doesn’t anymore,” Finebaum said. “I think the coaching hires have been very questionable. A lot of recycled coaches, a lot of Nick Saban disciples, some have worked out, some haven’t.”

The other prominent broadcaster to acknowledge the SEC’s fall is Brent Musburger, on our very own Awful Announcing podcast. At 1:06:40, Musburger says the following:

“You know they do a fabulous job and if the one thing they have to work with now, and it’s going to be a little bit difficult for them, the SEC is down,” Musburger stated. “The days of their dominance, that’s long gone right now.”

“You’ve got Alabama and everybody else with what’s going on in the conference,” Musburger added. “It’ll be interesting to watch.”

While this will definitely light a fire under fans all over the southeastern part of the United States, both Finebaum and Musburger may have a point.

Let’s start off by examining how SEC teams have fared out of conference just this year. While the college football season is only a couple of weeks old, most of the SEC schools have played their first couple games out of conference instead of within.

The result? The SEC is tied for the worst out of conference record between the power five conferences. The ACC is 5-7, the Big Ten is 7-5, the Pac 12 is 6-2, and both the BIG 12 and SEC are 4-6. That is abysmal. Here is how the SEC breaks down when they play each of the other four power conferences:

ACC: 3-1

Big 12: 1-1

Big Ten and Pac-12: 0-2

The 0-2 record against both the Big Ten and Pac-12 specifically is pretty bad. Only one other power five conference has a winless record against another power five conference, and that’s the ACC at 0-1 against the Pac 12. Of course, record alone isn’t everything given the vastly differing quality of matchups out there, but to make matters worse for the SEC, some of their out-of-conference losses have been pretty bad.

Texas A&M blew a huge lead to UCLA and lost 45-44. Missouri got absolutely demolished by Purdue, 35-3. Auburn struggled and lost to Clemson 14-6. Finally Ole Miss went on the road and lost at Cal, 27-16.

The SEC as a conference arguably only has one good out-of-conference win so far, but it is a nice one: Alabama over Florida State 24-7. But that speaks to another major point Musburger mentioned: the SEC really is Alabama and everyone else. You know that stat about the SEC being represented in 10 of the last 11 college football title games? Well, it’s been Alabama that has represented the SEC in five of those 10 games. No other school has made it more than twice.

As for the final AP or BCS rankings in the last seven years, Alabama has been the highest-ranked SEC school four of the last seven years and second two of the other three. So what does this tell us? Alabama is in a world of its own inside the conference, and no school has been able to do much to dethrone them on a consistent basis. And even beyond that, other SEC schools aren’t finding as much success against non-conference opponents as they were a few years back. We even ran a roundtable this summer looking at other conferences catching up to the SEC.

At the end of the day, Finebaum and Musburger may be right that the SEC isn’t what it used to be. Except for Alabama, because they are Alabama. But conferences’ relative strengths do change over time, so even if the SEC is down as a whole, it may not be in a permanent valley. The likes of Finebaum and Musburger bashing the current SEC is certainly interesting, though, and is going to create a lot of reaction.

[SEC Country]

About David Lauterbach

David is a writer for The Comeback. He enjoyed two Men's Basketball Final Four trips for Syracuse before graduating in 2016. If The Office or Game of Thrones is on TV, David will be watching.

  • BobLee Says

    Finebaum’s callers are “a strange bunch of cocoanuts” on their best day. Give them this piece of gristle to chew on and Hang On Sloopy.

  • Deon Hamner

    They are right. But that is good for college football fans. I always like when the regional powers are good. Ohio State, USC, Alabama and the usual big boys. To me, the SEC hasn’t been the same since McCarron and Andy Murray and those group of qbs left for the nfl. The QB play in the SEC is awful. Hell I love the Gators and they haven’t had a QB who was decent since Tebow. And that was 8 years ago now.

  • sportsfan365

    College football is about the head coach. They need to be able to recruit, cheat to keep people eligible, and do a little game-time coaching. For that they are paid millions in salary and millions in booster/advertiser giveaways. The SEC is current filled with guys who can’t do these three things very well. They get lucky every once in awhile and ride that world class athlete to glory, but that is only the occasional triumph. Don’t worry though, as the SEC will pay whatever it takes during the upcoming off-season to swap them out with better choices.

  • Jeff Johnson

    I’ve been an Auburn fan, and by default an SEC fan, all my life, but just looking at the current landscape in the SEC, how can I disagree with their assessments? Presently, the SEC is not the greatest conference in the country, and as the stats prove, in many ways they are the worst. Even as an Auburn fan, I believe they are over-ranked right now given the competition they’ve faced and how they’ve done. Everything cycles.

  • Simmonds17

    Other than Alabama, obviously, and probably Georgia, who in the SEC is all that intimidating these days? Maybe Auburn too. But Florida? No. LSU? No. Mississippi State? Not after last week? Tennessee? Not yet. Texas A&M? Unh uh.

    Not sure what the best conference is these days. I’m a Big Ten guy and I know our league, while strong at the top, has been deeper. It might just be the ACC or the PAC12.