SEC Bowl Record Thus Far Proves the Conference Is Still Top Dog

Despite non-conference stumbles earlier, the SEC is showing its quality and depth this bowl season.

Dec 30, 2023; Miami Gardens, FL, USA; Georgia Bulldogs running back Kendall Milton (2) reacts after
Dec 30, 2023; Miami Gardens, FL, USA; Georgia Bulldogs running back Kendall Milton (2) reacts after / Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports
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SEC Bowl Record Proves the Conference Is Still Best in the Nation

This bowl season so far has been more than a bit controversial among college football fans. With the transfer portal seeing some extreme levels of activity compared to prior years, and draft-eligible players opting out more than ever before, the rhetoric around the bowl games is reaching a fever pitch in some corners.

There's one thing, though, that we do know from this bowl season. And it is that the SEC is still the top conference in the nation.

Praying on the downfall of the nation's premier conference is something of a pastime for fans of Big 10, ACC, Big 12, and Pac-12 schools. When the SEC had a somewhat lackluster non conference slate earlier in the year, these fans were quick to proclaim that this was a down year for the conference. As the year wore on, they pointed time and time again to those early-season results, shouting that this proved the teams were mediocre at best.

Those same fans are without a doubt ready to scoff at the premise of this article. After all, the SEC is only 3-3 in bowl games so far, including Texas A&M football's loss in the Texas Bowl! Why so cocky, then?

The reason is very simple. You have to look at the slots in which these teams land in each conference to compare them. The Texas Bowl wasn't just between a Big 12 team and an SEC team: it was between the 2nd-place Big 12 team and the 7th-place SEC team. More accurately, it was between the 2nd-place Big 12 team and the 7th-place SEC team with only 48 of its scholarship players, forced to play its 4th-string QB.

You might such a game to be a patent mismatch, with one team getting blown out, I don't know, 63 to 3. Instead, it was a one-score victory that came down to a Hail Mary falling short for said fourth-string quarterback. How did the Big 12 runner up only beat a shell of the seventh-place SEC team by eight points?

It's due to the fact that the SEC, much more than any other league, is and continues to be the deepest, and therefore, on average, best conference in the nation. This is an indisputable fact. There is one easy win in this league, and that is Vanderbilt. Every single other team can jump up and give a team hell on any given Saturday.

Most FSU fans will completely disregard the Orange Bowl, due to not only everything that transpired with QB Jordan Travis and the College Football Playoff, but the ensuing opt-outs. This was but a husk of the team that was, they will say. How different, though, is that situation from a numbers and contributors standpoint than that of the Aggies?

For that matter, look at how many UGA players entered the transfer portal. No less than 20. Stud TE and, in many ways, engine of the offense, Brock Bowers, didn't play against the Seminoles, either.

Now, I'm not saying that the Bulldogs had lost as many contributors as the Seminoles did. What I am saying is that this factor does not explain that margin of loss. Oklahoma State had most of their big time contributors. Texas A&M football had precious few of theirs. Why did those two games look so different?

It's a different brand of football in the SEC. It always has been. Someday, opposing fans will learn to accept that fact.

Next. Ranking all 12 seasons. Ranking All 12 A&M Seasons in the SEC. dark