SEC one-loss champion likely needs Ohio State to lose to reach championship game


It’s the great debate that I truly enjoy each and every year. The anticipation; the wait; the angst; the debate. That’s why I’ve loved this system since 1998.

Related: What happened to you on Saturday?

With Alabama’s loss to Auburn, Ohio State moved up to No. 2 in the country in the latest BCS rankings. So, the impending question becomes: Does a one-loss SEC Champion deserve to jump an undefeated Ohio State?

That question is going to get ripped apart in every debate on every media outlet in the country. Auburn AD Jay Jacobs has already lobbied for a one-loss SEC Champion.

History does not bode well for either Auburn or Missouri, though, because no one-loss team has ever been ranked above an undefeated BCS conference team in 16 years.

The BCS is made up of three polls – Coaches’ Poll, Harris Poll and the computers. Ohio State is No. 2 in every single one of them. There’s a chance that if Auburn wins the SEC Championship, the computer polls would have Auburn No. 2 and Ohio State No. 3. However, since the Coaches and Harris make up two-thirds of the rankings, Auburn would still likely not get the nod over the Buckeyes because coaches tend to vote for and highly regard undefeated records, not to mention the rest of the country is tried of the SEC winning championships.

Here’s a look at the resumes of each teams: (*denotes currently ranked teams)

#1 Florida State #2 Ohio State #3 Auburn #5 Missouri
Pittsburgh (6-6) Buffalo (8-4) Wash. St. (6-6) Murray St. (6-6)
Nevada (4-8) SD State (7-5) Ark. St. (7-5) Toledo (7-5)
Bethune-Cook. (10-3) California (1-11) Miss St. (6-6) Indiana (5-7)
Boston College (7-5) FAMU (3-9) Ole Miss (7-5) Ark. St. (7-5)
Maryland (7-5) *Wisconsin (9-3) West. Car. (2-10) Vanderbilt (8-4)
*Clemson (10-2) Northwestern (5-7) *Texas A&M (8-4) *Georgia (8-4)
NC State (3-9) Iowa (8-4) FAU (6-6) Florida (4-8)
Miami (9-3) Penn State (7-5) Arkansas (3-9) Tennessee (5-7)
Wake Forest (4-8) Purdue (1-11) Tennessee (5-7) Kentucky (2-10)
Syracuse (6-6) Illinois (4-8) *Georgia (8-4) Ole Miss (7-5)
Idaho (1-11) Indiana (5-7) *Alabama (11-1) *Texas A&M (8-4)
Florida (4-8) Michigan (7-5) *LSU (loss) (9-3) *S. Carolina (loss) (10-2)
71-74 (49%) 65-79 (45.1%) 78-66 (54.2%) 77-67 (53.5%)

Sagarin’s strength of schedule ratings currently ranks Auburn as the 26th toughest schedule in the country. Missouri is 41st; Ohio State is 61st; Florida State is 66th. The margin of victory tells a similar story. Auburn has played the toughest schedule and is beating opponents by a 16-point margin; Missouri is winning by 19.4 points per game; Ohio State is winning by 27.9 per game, and FSU is throttling teams by 42.7 points per game.

The debate will wage on this week, and even up to last year, I thought an undefeated Notre Dame deserved a shot in the national championship game. But after forgetting to get off the bus against Alabama, I think it’s fair to pick apart the contenders and poke holes in their resumes. In hindsight, Notre Dame had no business being in that game, but their resume sure screamed championship-caliber before kickoff.

Then again, why are we wasting our time, when Ohio State will lose to Michigan State Saturday?

Photo Credit: Marc Lebryk-USA TODAY Sports



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  • I raised this same question last week. And while I can’t stand Urban Meyer I feel like I am completely unbiased and do not wave the SEC flag as much as others. BUT…if Auburn can beat Mizzou after beating Bama and UGA (#5, #1, and #25) I feel like that might be enough to turn just enough human votes in their favor. Bad thing is Mizzou, to me may be a better team than both but doesn’t really have the same shot.

  • JPDawg, I agree with you re: Mizzou’s chances of leap-frogging tOSU if they beat Mich St. The best Mizzou would get is the BCS Sugar. However, they can’t be denied if Mizzou wins the SEC and tOSU loses to Mich St. ( I just don’t see FSU losing to Duke).

  • I’m with you JP I’m not gonna wave the flag unless my team is the one in the game. But, this is what irks me, if OSU beats Mich St they should get a chance to play in the NC game. 1. Because they’re a BCS Conference AQ just like the SEC is, 2. The players don’t schedule games, they play whoever their AD schedules. I have no doubt that AU or Mizzou would probably beat OSU on a neutral field but remember Auburn in 04? So if OSU & FSU finish undefeated their PLAYERS & COACHES will have earned the right to play for it all! Just my .02.

    • I partially agree with you. Yeah, the players don’t schedule the games and the AD doesn’t schedule the conf games, but they do schedule the OOC games. OSU opted to play little league games instead of decent opponents in order to make up some of the gap. To me, that speaks to their intent from the beginning to ensure an undefeated season while other teams lost in-conf. That decision does not deserve to be rewarded. However, to your first point, OSU doesn’t exactly play in the MAC. Big 10 is not what it used to be, but it’s still a real, AQ conf. Going undefeated, then beating a top-10 Mich St team is deserving of NCG over a 1-loss anyone. If it was a 9-3 Mich St, or if they didn’t have a conf champ game, I’d be singing a different tune. As it is, the potential boost of that win would, in my opinion, be sufficient to lock in a #2 rank.

      Let’s face it, the SEC has had a down year compared to recent seasons. If UGA, Tenn, A&M, and LSU had been at the tops of their games, Auburn would have a much stronger claim. Losses to Vandy and Ole Miss by each of those teams really weakens the resume.

  • Here’s a conversation I haven’t seen/heard yet: what will happen to the SEC bowl teams as a result of having one “extra” team in the mix? The past 7 years, we’ve had a NCG team and a Sugar Bowl team. This year, we’re likely to only have one with a likely at-large bid for another BCS bowl. Will we see Bama in Pasadena? Or will the SEC backlash cost us the at-large bid, thereby bumping each bowl team down one “spot?”

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