Tuesday, November 16, 2004

Sorry, Auburn

The Tigers have had a great season, but the SEC's down year is going to cost them a shot at a national title. The Sooners and the Trojans have just a couple of games left, and none of them are cause for much concern on their part...

Oklahoma Sooners (or, according to Bill Callahan, the "[]ing Hillbillies"):

@ Baylor
Big XII Championship (Probably against the likes of Nebraska, Colorado, or maybe even Mizzou)


vs. Notre Dame


The Big XII title game will be the most lopsided championship game in the history of the conference. The Big XII North (you know, the one without the TX and OK schools) is atrocious. The simple fact that Iowa State has a chance to win the division (though not a realistic one) tells you everything you need to know.

USC shouldn't have trouble with Notre Dame, but who knows. That's the only realistic upset possibility left on either OU's or USC's schedule.

For the record, I don't buy the arguments favoring Auburn's schedule over Oklahoma's (or USC's). I think the perceived strength of their opponents is a mirage, and by that I mean LSU and Tennessee ended up proving themselves unworthy of the rankings they had going into their respective games against Auburn. So while it sounds nice to say Auburn has beaten three top ten teams, that's really not the case. Georgia's the only true top ten team of the three. The SEC has maintained a strong reputation despite a down year, and that works in favor of the Tigers as well. In reality, the conference is pretty lame this year.

Just look at Auburn's division, the SEC West. Ole Miss and Mississippi State are complete chaff, while Arkansas and Alabama aren't much better (though the Tide would be very good with a healthy Brody Croyle). LSU has been the only other contender in that division all year. The Tigers played UL-Monroe, The Citadel, and La Tech outside of the conference.

Oklahoma has had difficult games at Okie State, at Texas A&M, vs. Texas, and vs. Texas Tech. They played a much better out of conference schedule--Oregon, Bowling Green, Houston. The comparison between OU's schedule and Auburn's schedule is pretty much a wash ... and any way you want to look at it, there is no clear cut difference in the difficulty of the schedules, so I don't see a legitimate argument for Auburn as #2 in the country.