There’s no question that the SEC is the toughest, most competitive conference in college football. It's become painfully evident for the rest of the country with the five straight BCS champions coming out of the league.
You’ll have a pretty hard time convincing me that any other conference has the strength of the SEC.
While most can just point to recruiting class numbers or the championship success, I’ve provided some extra ammo for you when you find yourself in a college football conference argument.
Feel free to use this at parties to impress your friends and family, especially when they try to convince you that the SEC might not be everything it’s cracked up to be.
Since 1992, the SEC has played in 767 regular-season nonconference games, sporting a 602-163-2 record. That’s a .786 winning percentage. In bowl games the SEC is 83-54 (.606).
The SEC hasn’t had a losing record against nonconference opponents in that 19-year span. The highest regular-season winning percentage came in 1997 when the SEC went 32-4 (.889). The lowest winning percentage came in 2003 with a 31-15 (.674) record against nonconference foes. The league has only sported a losing bowl record in 2002 (3-4) and 2000 (4-5).
Teams from the SEC have posted 29 wins in the past five years against nonconference Top 25 teams (teams that were ranked at the time the game was played), an average of almost six wins per season. Nine of the 12 SEC teams have at least one win against a nonconference Top 25 team in the past five years with Georgia (6), LSU (6), Florida (4), Alabama (4) and Auburn (3) leading the way.
Since 2006, the SEC has posted a higher nonconference winning percentage (regular season and bowls) than any other conference at 231-55 (.808). The SEC has won no less than 43 nonconference games (regular season and bowls) during the past four seasons (2006-2010).
Also, since 2006, the SEC has accrued more bowl wins (30) and bowl appearances (46) than any other conference. The conference’s .652 bowl winning percentage is third behind the Mountain West (18-6, .750) and the Big East (20-8, .714).
Excluding bowl games, LSU has had the best nonconference record of SEC teams since 2000. The Tigers are 38-2 (.950) in that time. Arkansas is second with a record of 37-3 (.925). Vanderbilt is last with a 21-19 record (.525).
Here’s a look at each team since 2000:
So how did the SEC do in 2010? Including the postseason, the SEC was 46-12 (.793) in nonconference games. In 2009, the league was 48-10. Both were conference highs.
The SEC went 8-0 against the Conference USA and 2-0 against the Western Athletic Conference. Against the automatic qualifiers, the SEC was 15-10.
Here’s a look at how the SEC compared to the rest of the country in nonconference games in 2010: