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What happened to parity in college football?

November 3, 2013

Quick… who’s the 2nd best team in the SEC?

Quick… who in the ACC is half-decent outside FSU/Clemson & maybe Miami?

Quick… other than Ohio State, Wisconsin, & Michigan State, what Big 10 team even has a pulse?

2013 is fast becoming the year of the haves & have nots.  As of now, there are 4 teams with a legitimate shot to play for the national title, and 2 of those play schedules so weak that winning all their games might not be enough.  Let’s examine.

Ohio State

The Buckeyes will most likely finish the regular season having played one (1) ranked team – a home game vs Wisconsin.  The rest of their schedule:

Buffalo, San Diego State, Cal, Florida A&M, Iowa, Penn State, Purdue, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan.

Woof.  Buckeye fans can gripe all they want about media bias, etc, but that is a very weak schedule, and if there are more than 2 undefeated teams at the end of the year, the weakness of the Big 10 will likely freeze the Buckeyes out of the BCS title game.

Florida State

The Seminoles will complete 2013 with 1 marquee win:  @ Clemson.  They will also probably point to a home win vs. Miami, but let’s be honest – the ‘Canes aren’t an elite team.  Miami will have feasted on a very easy schedule & finish the year overranked.

The rest of FSU’s schedule:  Pitt, Nevada, Bethune-Cookman, BC, Maryland, NC State, Wake Forest, Syracuse, Idaho, Florida

Make no mistake, this is tougher than Ohio State’s road, but still not exactly murderer’s row.  FSU will be ahead of OSU in the pecking order, but they, too, need to hope both Alabama & Oregon lose a game, or else it’s Orange Bowl for them.


The Tide plays in the SEC, so they will have a great résumé, right?  Eh.  Bama lucked into a pretty easy SEC draw in a year when the whole conference is down.  Their schedule includes Texas A&M, LSU, & Auburn – all good teams.  But the rest?

Virginia Tech, Colorado State, Ole Miss, Georgia State, Kentucky, Arkansas, Tennessee, Mississippi State, Chattanooga

Even if you lump Ole Miss in with the “good” teams on their schedule, it’s not particularly daunting.  Certainly, this is good enough to keep their #1 slot, or at worst fall to #2, but the entire month of October was basically a vacation (Georgia State, Kentucky, Arkansas, Tennessee).


Very quietly, the Pac-12 has made a case for being the toughest conference in the nation.  There is only 1 elite team (Oregon), but the middle of the conference (UCLA, Washington, Arizona State, Oregon State, USC, Arizona) is surprisingly decent.  It certainly isn’t the SEC of the past few years, but unlike the above teams, Oregon won’t be able to lay an egg & expect to win each week.

It’d be a massive upset if either Ohio State or Florida State lost a game this season, whereas Alabama & Oregon may very well drop a game (Oregon, more likely).

In any case, it’s a fitting final year for the BCS, as someone will certainly be angry — either an undefeated Ohio State/Florida State team that is frozen out due to schedule, or an 1-loss Oregon who is passed over for one of the above teams simply because they had to play more tough games.

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