SEC: Parity Reigns Supreme in 2013

Photo Credit:  Daniel Shirey-USA TODAY Sports
Photo Credit: Daniel Shirey-USA TODAY Sports

 

Saturday October 19th, 2013 will most likely go down as one of the most unpredictable days in the history of the Southeastern Conference.  Four nationally ranked teams not only lost to lower or unranked teams, it has created a very intriguing situation in the conference.  Not only has that Saturday created an uncertain end for the rest of the season, it has left the door open to what could be one of the most exciting finishes to a season that anyone has seen in a very long time.

 

NCAA Football: Arkansas at Alabama
Photo Credit: John David Mercer-USA Today Sports

 

Alabama is still the class of the SEC.  Nick Saban has managed to keep the Crimson Tide focus on repeating as national champions.  After Alabama, there is not a clear cut number two team to challenge Alabama.  Besides Alabama, The Missouri Tigers are the only other undefeated team remaining in the SEC.  The Tigers have played their way into contention for the SEC title.  The Tigers have had two signature wins against Georgia and Florida.

 

NCAA Football: Florida at Missouri
Missouri Tigers defensive lineman Michael Sam (52) is congratulated by defensive lineman Lucas Vincent (96) after sacking Florida Gators quarterback Tyler Murphy during the second half at Faurot Field. Missouri won 36-17.
Photo Credit: Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

 

No one saw this sudden surge coming, except the Tiger players and coaches.  Missouri has been led for most of the year by James Franklin.  However, Franklin has suffered a sprained right shoulder.  Maty Mauk has big shoes to fill in the absence of Franklin.  The Missouri defense has held its own against some of the top offenses in the country.  With a two game lead in the SEC East.  Missouri is in a good position to lock up the SEC East.

After Alabama and Missouri, it becomes tough to predict where everyone would finish.  SEC officials could not have imagined a better scenario.  When the conference expanded to the current 14 team format, some skepticism was produced around the country.  Critics of the newly formed SEC said that the quality of college football across the country would diminish.  So far, the critics have remained silent.

The competitive conference has twelve of its fourteen teams achieving records at or above .500.  What is even more impressive is that four teams are already bowl eligible.  The parity that has been created has resulted in more competitive match-ups throughout the season.

 

NCAA Football: Louisiana State at Mississippi
Mississippi Rebels kicker Andrew Ritter (96) kicks a field goal in the final seconds against the LSU Tigers at Vaught-Hemingway Stadium. Mississippi Rebels defeat the LSU Tigers 27-24.
Photo Credit: Spruce Derden-USA TODAY Sports

 

Some people may see the parity that is occurring in the SEC and interpret it as a sign of weakness.  The ACC currently has three teams placed in the Associated Press Top 25 Poll.  The SEC, Pac 12 and Big 12 each have two.  Although the argument can be made that the ACC is the more dominant league as of now, the SEC currently controls the number one and number five positions in the poll.  The other barometer that some people use to judge the quality of the conferences is placing hypothetical head to head match-ups.  Would Florida State beat Alabama on a neutral field?  Could the Clemson offense outscore the Missouri offense?  If judging off of what has occurred this season, the answer to both questions would probably be no.

Many teams in the SEC this season are currently at their crossroads.  Will the winner of the Georgia-Florida game make a late run to challenge Missouri for the SEC East?  Will LSU be able to bounce back from its loss to Ole Miss and still vie for a possible BCS bowl berth?  Is it possible that both Missouri and Alabama both arrive to play in the Georgia Dome with undefeated records?  College football fans are excited to see.  Parity is a good thing for the SEC.  The conference is even stronger and it will make the road to the SEC Championship an enjoyable experience to watch.

 

Chris Franklin is a staff writer for Coach and Player Magazine.  He has appeared on online radio and video productions across the country.  Follow Chris on Twitter: @thunder8671

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