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Just when you thought SEC football couldn’t get any better, 2013 signing day is just over two weeks away and the SEC schools are poised to post their best recruiting classes in the history of the conference.
So far every school but Arkansas is killing it on the recruiting trail.
Per 247 Sports: Alabama, Florida, LSU, Texas A&M, Ole Miss and Georgia are all six in the top ten.
Per Rivals: Florida, Alabama, LSU, Texas A&M, Georgia and Ole Miss are all six in the top ten.
Every team save Kentucky and Arkansas is 34 or higher in the overall rankings.
Here’s a scary thought, after seven straight BCS titles the SEC is actually becoming stronger and more dominant.
The rest of college football is falling further behind.
Don’t believe me?
Do you know how many top twenty classes the other five major conferences in college football have combined?
That’s just one more than the SEC has by itself.
In fact, the SEC has nine top twenty classes according to the most recent 247 Sports and Rivals rankings. The Big Ten is the next best with an average of 3.5 top 20 classes. Then comes the Pac 12 and the ACC with an average of 2.5 top twenty classes. The Big 12 has just 1.5 top twenty classes across the entire conference. And the poor Big East has no top 25 classes, not even when you give it credit for all the schools that are leaving the conference soon.
What’s all this mean?
After seven straight BCS titles, the SEC is increasing its college football dominance. Yep, the conference is adding even better players than the ones who already won seven straight titles. The best players want to play in the SEC because the best players play in the SEC.
Indeed, the best analogy to apply isn’t even from college football, it’s Google search. How so? The perception of Google’s dominance in search actually fuels Google’s dominance in search. It’s a virtuous circle. Everyone believes that Google is the best search engine so everyone uses Google’s search engine; the resulting perception that Google is the best continues to fuel the reality that Google is the best. in other words, Google accelerated into the curve, took that perception of dominance and made it even more true.
The same is true of the SEC right now, it’s the impregnable search king of college football.
High school recruits were just nine or ten when another conference won a BCS title. They can barely remember, if at all, Reggie Bush and Matt Leinart at USC. Hell, this year’s seniors were three years old when Tennessee won the BCS title in 1998. High school recruits know nothing but SEC dominance.
So where do those recruits want to play?
What’s more, where do the vast majority of them live? The sunbelt. Good luck getting Southern boys north.
It hasn’t gotten much attention, but do you know what the scariest thing for the rest of college football should be? Even if Nick Saban isn’t at Alabama to win three of the last four BCS titles, the SEC probably wins those titles anyway. Think about it, in 2009 Alabama beat an undefeated Florida team to advance to play Texas. Tim Tebow’s Gators went on to crush Cincinnati in the Sugar Bowl. That Florida team finished 13-1 and was favored over Alabama. So the Gators would have been a substantial favorite over Texas had they advanced to that title game. In 2011, Alabama beat undefeated LSU, but LSU would have otherwise played Oklahoma State, a team the Tigers would have been a substantial favorite over. Finally, in the season that just ended either LSU, Georgia, or Texas A&M would have all advanced to play Notre Dame. After what Alabama did to the Fighting Irish does anyone like Notre Dame’s odds of beating any of these teams?
Didn’t think so.
So even if Nick Saban’s dynasty didn’t exist, the SEC would probably still be coming off seven straight national titles.
Want another crazy stat? The SEC has covered all eight times it has played a non-SEC opponent in the BCS title game. If you’d bet $1,000 on Tennessee in 1998 and kept betting on the SEC in every BCS title game — excluding Alabama vs. LSU and replacing the casino’s share of your wins — you’d now have $128,000.
Non-SEC fans reading this are thinking, okay, so what can we do to break the SEC’s cycle of dominance? The easiest answer is — you have to recruit the best players. While recruiting services can miss on individual players, they don’t miss on total classes. That is, it’s no coincidence that every team to win a BCS title has had multiple top ten recruiting classes in the five years before that team won the title. The best players win, period. Looking at the rest of college football’s recruiting, most conferences have really boiled down to two team competitions. Looking at recruiting, it’s clear that the Big Ten will be a Michigan vs. Ohio State battle in most years going forward. The Pac 12 will be USC vs. Oregon and maybe UCLA. The Big 12 remains Oklahoma’s conference. (Texas’s recruiting is sliding fast with the rise of A&M in the SEC). The ACC is Florida State’s conference with an occasional blip from Clemson or Virginia Tech. Notre Dame is recruiting well, but will that last? And they better recruit well, because the gap between the Irish and the SEC is massive.
Really, college football’s national title race has boiled down to the SEC vs. about eight teams in the rest of the country.
No one else can catch the SEC.
This spring the SEC will sign its most dominant recruiting class in league history. Then come April the league will produce more NFL draft picks than any conference in the history of college football.
Which means the SEC isn’t slowing down, it’s actually increasing its lead over the rest of college football.
And that’s before the SEC Network money starts pouring into the conference.
Look out, y’all ain’t seen nothing yet.