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SEC > B1G: Let’s Stop This Nonsense About TWO Power Conferences

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Do these two teams deserve to be spoken of in the same sentence? | Photo by Jamie Schwaberow/Getty Images

Top to bottom, there is no doubt who the better conference is.

The duo announcements of Oklahoma and Texas future alignment with the SEC and Southern Cal and UCLA jumping to the Big Ten have sent shock waves through the college football world. Those defections have strengthened two conferences and severely damaged two – though some would say three – other Power 5 conferences.

These moves were followed by a rash of reports of the new pecking order in college football. According to the national sports press, we now have TWO mega/super/power conferences on the top of the hill and then everyone else. But is that number one too many? Yes, the Big Ten is looking slightly more attractive, but the SEC – even without Texas and Oklahoma – stand alone on the gold medal podium.

NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIPS

As far as National Champions are concerned, the SEC has far and away taken home more trophies over the last 10, 20 and 30 years.

Team
NC 1990-1999
NC since 2000

Alabama
1992
2009, 2011, 2012, 2015, 2017, 2020

LSU

2003*, 2007, 2019

Florida
1996
2006, 2008

Georgia

2021

Auburn

2010

Tennessee
1998

Arkansas

Kentucky

Mississippi State

Missouri

Ole Miss

South Carolina

Texas A&M

Vanderbilt

Texas

2005 #

Oklahoma

2000 #

Ohio State

2002, 2014

Michigan
1997*

Michigan State

Iowa

Purdue

Minnesota

Wisconsin

Penn State

Illinois

Maryland

Rutgers

Northwestern

Indiana

Nebraska
1994†, 1995†, 1997*†

UCLA

Southern Cal

2003*@, 2004&@

* Split NC
# As a member of the Big 12
† As a member of the Big 8 Conference
@ As a member of the PAC-12
& vacated

As you can see from the chart above, there is a big disparity in National Championships between the two conferences.

The SEC has had six different current member schools win NC’s in the last 30 years. SEC teams have won 13 since 2000. Texas and Oklahoma add two more to those amounts.
The Big Ten has had three different current member schools win NC’s in the last 30 years and one of them, Nebraska, was a part of a different conference at the time. Furthermore, the Cornhuskers have been dreadful since joining the B1G. But more on that in a moment. Big Ten teams have won 2 championships since 2000 and the were both by Ohio State. Add two more if you want to include Southern Cal’s split 2003 NC and the tainted, vacated 2004 trophy.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL PLAYOFF

Since the inception of the CFP for the 2014-15 season, three SEC and three B1G teams have made appearances. However, two of the B1G teams have made one appearance and have one loss each. The SEC three have each taken home the top prize.

APP
FINAL
NC
School
Conf
Record

4
2
1
Ohio State
Big Ten
3-3

1


Michigan State
Big Ten
0-1

1


Michigan
Big Ten
0-1

7
6
3
Alabama
SEC
9-4

2
2
1
Georgia
SEC
3-1

1
1
1
LSU
SEC
2-0

The SEC is 14-5 in the CFP while the B1G is 3-5.

Oklahoma has had four appearances with no wins. Texas, Southern Cal, and UCLA have yet to make it to a playoff.

SEASON WINS OVER LAST 10 YEARS

SEC

Team
2012
2013
2014
2015
2016
2017
2018
2019
2020
2021
Total
Avg

Alabama
13
11
12
14
14
13
14
11
13
13
128
12.8

Oklahoma
10
11
8
11
11
12
12
12
9
11
107
10.7

Georgia
12
8
10
10
8
13
11
12
8
14
106
10.6

LSU
10
10
8
9
8
9
10
15
5
6
90
9.0

Texas A&M
11
9
8
8
8
7
9
8
9
7
84
8.4

Florida
11
4
7
10
9
4
10
11
8
6
80
8.0

Auburn
3
12
8
7
8
10
8
9
6
6
77
7.7

Mississippi State
8
7
10
9
6
9
8
6
4
7
74
7.4

Texas
9
8
6
5
5
7
10
8
7
5
70
7.0

Missouri
5
12
11
5
4
7
8
6
5
6
69
6.9

Ole Miss
7
8
9
10
5
6
5
4
5
10
69
6.9

South Carolina
11
11
7
3
6
9
7
4
2
7
67
6.7

Tennessee
5
5
7
9
9
4
5
8
3
7
62
6.2

Kentucky
2
2
5
5
7
7
10
8
5
10
61
6.1

Arkansas
4
3
7
8
7
4
2
2
3
9
49
4.9

Vanderbilt
9
9
3
4
6
5
6
3
0
2
47
4.7

Totals
2142
2143
2140
2142
2137
2143
2153
2146
2112
2147
1240
124.0

B1G

Team
2012
2013
2014
2015
2016
2017
2018
2019
2020
2021
Total
Avg

Ohio State
12
12
14
12
11
12
13
13
7
11
117
11.7

Wisconsin
8
9
11
10
11
13
8
10
4
9
93
9.3

Michigan State
7
13
11
12
3
10
7
7
2
11
83
8.3

Penn State
8
7
7
7
11
11
9
11
4
7
82
8.2

Michigan
8
7
5
10
10
9
10
9
2
12
82
8.2

Iowa
4
8
7
12
8
8
9
10
6
10
82
8.2

Southern Cal
7
10
9
8
10
11
5
8
5
4
77
7.7

Minnesota
6
8
8
6
9
5
7
11
3
9
72
7.2

Northwestern
10
5
5
10
7
10
9
3
7
3
69
6.9

UCLA
9
10
10
8
4
6
3
4
3
8
65
6.5

Nebraska
10
9
9
6
9
4
4
5
3
3
62
6.2

Indiana
4
5
4
6
6
5
5
8
6
2
51
5.1

Maryland
4
7
7
3
6
4
5
3
2
7
48
4.8

Rutgers
9
6
8
4
2
4
1
2
3
5
44
4.4

Purdue
6
1
3
2
3
7
6
4
2
9
43
4.3

Illinois
2
4
6
5
3
2
4
6
2
5
39
3.9

Totals
2126
2134
2138
2136
2129
2138
2123
2133
2081
2136
1109
110.9

The numbers speak for themselves. Top to bottom, the SEC puts out a better product than the Big Ten. If six wins and bowl eligibility is the goal, only two SEC teams are below that threshold as an average over the last ten years, and one of those two has seemingly remedied their ills. Five B1G programs have averaged under six wins a year and none of them appear to be on track to being a national power anytime soon.

NEWBIES

Take a look at what each conference is getting in their new additions.

SOUTHERN CAL AND UCLA TO THE B1G

It is quite comical how so many observers see that the Big Ten have picked up two teams from the US’s number two TV market and think all of a sudden the people of that city are going to tune into Big Ten games. First off, the two teams they got are from the same city. Wouldn’t it have been smarter to go after two different markets??

Secondly, Southern Cal football takes a back seat to many other sports in La-La Land and UCLA football is on a stinky Metro Bus, five vehicles back.

Speaking as a person who lived in Tinseltown for ten years, University of Southern Cal graduates/fans are pretty wishy-washy and mostly fair-weather about their football. As for UCLA football, they have close to zero presence in the city. That school has been and always will be a basketball school. As a matter of fact, L.A. is not even a football town. The city went without an NFL team from 1995 to 2015 and the league did not suffer one iota.

The biggest draws are in order the Lakers, Dodgers, and Clippers. Even the two NFL teams are secondary in L.A.

OKLAHOMA AND TEXAS TO THE SEC

While Oklahoma does not have the population of L.A., they love them some Sooners football. They only really have the NBA’s Thunder to compete with for local fandom.

The Longhorns have a plethora of sports teams to compete with, most notably the Dallas Cowboys. However, they have a large rabid – bordering on insane – fan base, as well as the second largest endowment of roughly $31.90 billion after Harvard and ahead of Yale, Stanford, and Princeton.

IT JUST MEANS MORE

Some people make fun of the SEC slogan, but it is so damn true. College football is a part of who we are and so geographically centralized. Other sports – even the defending World Series Champs Braves – are secondary in the Southeast. Up in the Rust Belt, they mostly favor the NFL.

According to a 2018 Gallup poll, college football is the favorite major sport in states of 12 of the 16 to-be SEC schools. Only six home states of Big Ten schools can make that claim.

Gallup.com

Just look at all that red side-by-side-by-side on that map. Conversely, the guys up north look like a bag of Skittles.

Alabama
Alabama
CFB

Arkansas
Arkansas
CFB

Auburn
Alabama
CFB

Florida
Florida
CFB

Georgia
Georgia
CFB

LSU
Louisiana
CFB

Mississippi State
Mississippi
CFB

Oklahoma
Oklahoma
CFB

Ole Miss
Mississippi
CFB

South Carolina
South Carolina
CFB

Tennessee
Tennessee
CFB

Vanderbilt
Tennessee
CFB

Missouri
Missouri
MLB

Texas A&M
Texas
NFL

Texas
Texas
NFL

Kentucky
Kentucky
CBB

Iowa
Iowa
CFB

Michigan
Michigan
CFB

Michigan State
Michigan
CFB

Nebraska
Nebraska
CFB

Ohio State
Ohio
CFB

Penn State
Pennsylvania
CFB

Rutgers
New Jersey
MLB

Southern Cal
California
NBA

UCLA
California
NBA

Illinois
Illinois
NFL

Indiana
Indiana
NFL

Maryland
Maryland
NFL

Minnesota
Minnesota
NFL

Northwestern
Illinois
NFL

Purdue
Indiana
NFL

Wisconsin
Wisconsin
NFL


EYEBALLS

Medium.com did research on every Power 5 team, every AAC team, every Mountain West team, plus Notre Dame, BYU, and Army for the average number of viewers per week from 2015–19. Below are just the B1G and SEC including the future new additions to each conference.

1
Ohio State (5.19M)
B1G
5,190,000

3
Michigan (4.18M)
B1G
4,180,000

10
Penn State (2.55M)
B1G
2,550,000

12
Wisconsin (2.27M)
B1G
2,270,000

15
Michigan State (2.20M)
B1G
2,200,000

21
Iowa (1.57M)
B1G
1,570,000

22
Nebraska (1.51M)
B1G
1,510,000

34
Indiana (1.17M)
B1G
1,170,000

40
Northwestern (867K)
B1G
867,000

43
Minnesota (803K)
B1G
803,000

54
Maryland (681K)
B1G
681,000

55
Purdue (620K)
B1G
620,000

70
Illinois (401K)
B1G
401,000

75
Rutgers (266K)
B1G
266,000

TOTAL

24,278,000

2
Alabama (5.09M)
SEC
5,090,000

5
LSU (3.22M)
SEC
3,220,000

6
Auburn (3.12M)
SEC
3,120,000

7
Georgia (2.91M)
SEC
2,910,000

11
Florida (2.46M)
SEC
2,460,000

17
Texas A&M (1.851M)
SEC
1,851,000

18
Tennessee (1.849M)
SEC
1,849,000

20
Mississippi (1.61M)
SEC
1,610,000

27
Arkansas (1.33M)
SEC
1,330,000

29
Mississippi State (1.31M)
SEC
1,310,000

36
South Carolina (1.07M)
SEC
1,070,000

57
Missouri (611K)
SEC
611,000

63
Kentucky (484K)
SEC
484,000

65
Vanderbilt (438K)
SEC
438,000

TOTAL

27,353,000

[Did you notice that even sorry ass Vanderbilt outdraws the FBS teams that represent the nation’s No. 1 TV market (NYC) in Rutgers and No. 3 (Chicago) in Northwestern?]

The B1G proponents will point to the above graph and proclaim that they have the No. 1 and No. 3 highest viewed teams. But therein lies the problems. They are top heavy. Does Gonzaga’s membership in the West Coast Conference make that one of the best basketball conferences?

The SEC numbers are still higher without the two new teams added to each league: Big Ten = 24,278,000; SEC = 27,353,000. So, are we splitting hairs here? Not if you think 3 Million more average viewers per week isn’t a big deal.

WRAP IT UP

Even with out Alabama, the SEC looks better top-to-bottom. To these eyes, the SEC will have nine to eleven teams that will make the league great and one that drags it down. The Big Ten will have seven teams of strength and a bunch of teams that detract or are filled with apathy.

The below is based on IMHO, so feel free to disagree in the Comments section.

TEAM
STATUS

Alabama
Elite of the elite

Georgia
Reigning Champ

LSU
2019 Champs/Rebuilding

Oklahoma
Rebuilding

Texas A&M
Good not great

Florida
Rebuilding

Texas
On the Rise

Tennessee
On the Rise

Arkansas
On the Rise

Auburn
In a slump

Ole Miss
Can never get over the hump

Kentucky
Basketball school

Mississippi State
Scrappy little brother

South Carolina
Scrappy little brother

Missouri
Meh

Vanderbilt
Anchor

TEAM
STATUS

Ohio State
Top 5

Michigan
Days of yore

Penn State
Good not great

Southern Cal
Days of yore

Wisconsin
Can never get over the hump

Iowa
Can never get over the hump

Michigan State
Scrappy little brother

Nebraska
Five straight losing seasons

Indiana
Basketball school

UCLA
Basketball school

Minnesota
Hockey school

Purdue
Meh

Maryland
Anchor

Illinois
Anchor

Northwestern
Anchor

Rutgers
Anchor

So, let’s stop all this talk about TWO supreme conferences as if they are on equal footing.

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