In college football they are called the Power 5. The power conferences and teams with power broker athletic directors who control the purse strings through TV contracts.
They are the ACC, Big 10, Big 12, Pac-12 and the SEC, and for the record, not one of them has distinguished itself during postseason bowl play, although, the title for best football conference will be on the line Monday when Alabama takes on Clemson for the national championship.
Currently the ACC, Clemson's conference, is 5-5 in bowl games and 1-1 against the SEC. The SEC, the league Alabama rules, is 6-5. The Big Ten finished 5-4, the Big 12 4-3 and the Pac 12, easily the weakest of the Power 5, was 3-4.
Mostly, those conferences beat up on each other in the bowls, but there are reasons to believe that perhaps the SEC wasn't quite the monster truck that people think it is. Against the Big 12, a league known for offense and almost no defense (but Texas might be about to change that), the mighty SEC was 1-3 with the lone win being Alabama over Oklahoma in the College Football Playoffs. All three of the losses were by a touchdown or less.
Of the SEC's five losses, four were by teams from the Eastern Division as Vanderbilt, South Carolina (who was shut out), Missouri and Georgia took it on the chin.
Georgia, which apparently had its feelings hurt by being left out of the playoffs, was mostly manhandled by the Texas Longhorns, who were big, strong and extremely physical. That's the same Longhorn team who beat Oklahoma earlier in the season, but lost to Maryland, Oklahoma State and West Virginia before the Sooners paid them back in the Big 12 Championship Game.
The Bulldogs were so uninspired that they should give all or part of their bowl payoff back to the Sugar Bowl. Not even the little run they made at the end gave much hope for a victory.
One thing seems crystal clear now that all of the bowls have been played and the national championship game remains: The College Football Playoff selection committee got it right, and yes, they are getting some criticism, but it doesn't seem warranted.
First, its No. 1, Alabama, and its No. 2, Clemson, are meeting for the championship.
Second, the criticism that its Nos. 3, 4, 5, 7, 8 and 9 all lost is unqualified.
No. 3 Notre Dame lost to No. 2 Clemson, No. 4 Oklahoma lost to No. 1 Alabama, No. 5 Georgia fell to No. 15 Texas, No. 7 Michigan lost to No. 10 Florida, No. 8 Central Florida lost to No. 11 LSU and No. 9 Washington lost to No. 6 Ohio State.
How are any of those considered real upsets?
They certainly can't be used in the argument against expanding the field to eight for the playoffs. Consider if this year had been an eight-team field it would have had Central Florida vs. Alabama (both undefeated), Michigan (another team that looked more like a no-show than a bowl team) vs. Clemson, Ohio State vs. Notre Dame and Georgia vs. Oklahoma.
That would have been sweeter than 10-cent wings.
As for the glut of bowls, 40, consider the first 10 bowl games were decided by an average of 20 points, while the last 10 were decided by an average of 8. In between there were some good and some bad games.
The 17 days of bowl games was a lot, but in the final analysis it means that there is parity in the Power 5, and that once again, either Clemson and the ACC or Alabama and the SEC will have any bragging rights.
Sports on 01/03/2019
Print Headline: Power, parity exist at top of college football