Everyone has an agenda, and no one sees their team, and opponents’ teams under the same light. To compare the programs, we will compare only these teams, though a definite case should be made for Florida being the top SEC program in the modern era of football. We’re using data provided by a Georgia writer at Silver Britches blog.
Only thirteen teams have won 700 or more games. Of this number, five are SEC members; Alabama, Auburn, Georgia, LSU and Tennessee. They further break the competition down to wins over what is considered a quality opponent. They use the criteria of a team being a top 30 team to be considered a quality opponent.
Using that criteria, Auburn has had the toughest schedule of all-time for these thirteen teams, with 51.6% of their opposition being a quality opponent. The five SEC teams all occupy the top six spots in strength of opponent. Only Texas is rated higher than any of the SEC teams, barely beating out Tennessee for the number five position. Other “national powers” of note include the Ohio State University, who is dead last at 25.5%, Nebraska at 29.7%, and Oklahoma at 32.6%. Is it any wonder Oklahoma, Nebraska and Ohio State struggle in bowl games?
Auburn also has the most all-time wins against a quality opponent, with 305 of their wins coming against the top thirty. The top of the list is actually almost a dead heat, as Alabama and Georgia both have 304 wins against the top thirty. Ohio State has the fewest, with 173 wins against top thirty competition.
Over the history of the school, Auburn once again leads the pack, with 43.0% of their wins have coming against the top thirty, while 25.5% of Oklahoma’s wins have been against the top thirty, and 20.8% of Ohio State’s wins have been against top thirty teams. Is it any wonder Oklahoma and Ohio State seem to be permanent members of the pre-season AP polls? Who would lose more than one or two games a year playing that kind of competition?
One last note, Michigan leads all schools with 884 wins, but how impressive is that when you consider that only 26.5% of their games were against quality opponents? When looking at all-time wins, championships and quality of opponents, I’d say the SEC has six elite teams; Alabama, Auburn, Florida, Georgia, LSU and Tennessee. Even though they don’t have 700 wins yet, I would still consider Florida to be one of the elite programs because of their modern era dominance.