The criteria to determine the strongest division will be based on the following: 1) head to head competition vs Power 5, Non-Conference (NC) opponents (Please note, SCFP counts games vs ND & BYU as P5 equivalents), SEC or B-10 teams who did not schedule a P5 (DNP) will be noted as well; 2) Bowl Wins, Losses, or Bowl Ineligible (BI) will be factored into the process, College Football Playoffs (CFP) games will be part of this post-season count! and 3) the number of divisional teams ranked in Sully’s College Football Page (SCFP) final poll!
1. SEC West: Division record vs NC Power 5 in the regular season: Alabama 1-0, Arkansas DNP a P-5, Auburn 1-0, LSU 1-0, Mississippi State 1-0, Ole Miss 1-0, Texas A&M 0-1, ! Totals: 5 wins 1 Loss! Bowl Results: Alabama 1-1, Arkansas BI, Auburn 1-0, LSU 1-0, Mississippi State 0-1, Ole Miss BI, Texas A&M 1-0, Bowl Record: 4 wins 2 losses, SCFP’s Final Rankings: SEC West: 4 teams ranked, Alabama (2nd), LSU (8th), & Texas A&M (15th), Auburn (24th),!
2. SEC East: Division record vs NC Power 5 in the regular season: Florida 1-0, Georgia 1-0, Kentucky 1-0, Missouri 1-0, South Carolina 0-1, Tennessee 0-1, Vanderbilt 0-1 RS vs P5’s Record: 4 wins 3 losses! Bowl Results: Florida 1-0, Georgia 0-1, Kentucky 1-0, Missouri 0-1, South Carolina 0-1, Tennessee BI, Vanderbilt 0-1 Bowl Record: 2 wins 4 losses! SCFP’s Final Rankings: SEC East: 3 teams, Georgia (6th), Kentucky (9th), Florida (10th)!
3. B-10 East: Division record vs NC Power 5 in the regular season: Indiana 1-0, Maryland 1-0, Michigan 0-1, Michigan State 0-1, Ohio State 2-0, Penn State 1-0, Rutgers 0-1; RS vs P5’s Record: 5 wins 3 losses! Bowl Results: Indiana BI, Maryland BI, Michigan 0-1, Michigan State 0-1, Ohio State 1-0, Penn State 0-1; Bowl Record: 1 win 3 losses! SCFP’s Final Rankings: B-10 East: 3 teams, Ohio State (5th), Michigan (13th), & Penn State (16th)!
4. B-10 West: Division record vs NC Power 5 in the regular season: Illinois DNP, Iowa 1-0, Minnesota DNP, Nebraska 0-1, Northwestern 0-2, Purdue 1-1, & Wisconsin 0-1! RS vs P5.s Record: 2 wins 5 losses! Bowl Results: Illinois BI , Iowa 1-0, Minnesota 1-0, Nebraska BI, Northwestern 1-0, Purdue 0-1, & Wisconsin 1-0; Bowl Record: 4 wins 1 loss! SCFP’s Final Rankings: B-10 West: 3 teams, Northwestern (17th), Iowa (21st), Wisconsin (23rd)!
So let’s review the results.
Which division performed best vs their regular season schedule against Power 5 Non-Conference Opponents.
The SEC West lone loss vs a P5, during the regular season, was to #1 Clemson, the Tigers beat Texas A&M 28-26! It should also be noted, that Auburn beat #11 Washington, 21-16, while the other 3 wins were against Texas Tech, Kansas State, & Louisville. The West played 2 ranked P5 teams and went 1 and 1!
The B-10 East Maryland led the way here beating #7 Texas, 34-29, while the other 4 wins were against Oregon State, TCU, Pitt, & Virginia! The East lost to #3 ND, 24-17, unranked Arizona State, 16-13, & Kansas 55-14! The B-10 East played at the 500 mark vs ranked teams, 1-1 (Beat the ‘Horns & Lost to the Irish)!
The SEC East did not beat a ranked team in their 4 NC P5 wins; Florida State, Georgia Tech, Louisville, & Purdue. Their 3 losses were all to quality opponents, South Carolina lost to #1 Clemson, Vandy lost to #3 Notre Dame, and Tennessee lost to #25 West Virginia. The SEC East went 0-3 vs ranked teams in the regular season!
In the B-10 West, two teams did not schedule a P5 opponent in 2018, Illinois & Minnesota! The Division did not beat a ranked team, as their wins came against BC & Iowa State. They lost to #3 ND, 31-21 and 4 unranked opponents; Colorado, 33-28, Missouri, 40-37, Duke, 21-7, BYU (counted as a P5 equivalent on SCFP, as is ND), 24-21!
The Divisions rank vs P5’s in the regular season is as follows: 1) SEC West 5-1; 2) B-10 East 5-3; 3) SEC East 4-3; 4) B-10 West 2-5
Next, let’s review the results in the postseason.
The SEC West placed 5 0f its 7 teams (Ole Miss was not eligible due to NCAA sanctions or on the field, as they won only 5 of the 6 games needed to become bowl eligible) The Division finished the Bowl season @ 4-2. They beat Oklahoma, Purdue, NC State, & Central Florida (SCFP ranks the Group of 5 separately from the Power 5, UCF was our #1 team in this G5 poll). The West lost to #1 Clemson & #21 Iowa!
B-10 West had 5 of its 7 teams play their way into the Bowl Season, winning 4 of the 5 games. Wisconsin beat Miami FL, Iowa beat Mississippi State, Northwestern cane back to beat #18 Utah, & Minnesota shutdown Georgia Tech’s run game! Purdue got hammered by Auburn!
SEC East only Tennessee failed to become bowl eligible; Florida blasted Michigan, Kentucky survived Penn State, while Georgia was upset by Texas, Vanderbilt lost to Baylor, South Carolina was shutout by Virginia, & Missouri fell to Oklahoma State!
B-10 East struggled not only to get divisional teams into the Bowl Season but with its performance for those teams that did get in the post season! Ohio State was their only winner, beating washington in the Rose Bowl. Michigan, as mentioned, was routed by Florida, Penn State fell to upstart Kentucky, & Michigan State lost to high scoring Oregon, amazingly, 7-6!
The Divisional rank in the Postseason: 1) SEC West 4-2 ; 2) B-10 West 4-1; 3) SEC East 2-4; 4) B-10 East 1-3
The number of the teams that finished the season ranked in their respective divisions.
1) SEC West Four; 2) SEC East, Three, B-10 East Three, B-10 West, Three
For those of you who believe the B-10 East is better than the SEC West, I would say using this criteria or other evaluators: recruiting, field performance, or the NFL draft, you should reconsider that statement/question to; Is the B-10 East better than the SEC East? The SEC West is head and shoulder above the other 3 divisions! Period, Please!! Move on!!!
The better discussion is the team comparison of the B-10 East vs SEC East: Georgia/Ohio State; Michigan/Florida; Penn State/Tennessee; Michigan State/South Carolina; Indiana/Missouri; Maryland/Kentucky; and Rutgers/Vanderbilt! Who would you like in each of those games?
Keep in mind Kentucky just beat Penn State and Florida busted up Michigan in this past Bowl season! A clear statement by the SEC East!
That said, the B-10 West is steadily improving to the point it looks like a 6 team race for the West Division Crown in 2019, with only Illinois on the outside of a legitimate shot!
Finally, these two conferences/four divisions accounted for 13 teams in the top 25 on SCFP final poll!