4 of AP Top 5 From SEC West

Four teams from the SEC West—two each from Mississippi and Alabama—are in the top 5 of the AP poll.

AP (“SEC is 1st conference to put 4 in top 5 of AP poll“):

The Southeastern Conference has reached a new milestone in The Associated Press college football poll, becoming the first league to place four teams in the top five — all from the western division.

Mississippi State stayed No. 1 after a weekend off. The Atlantic Coast Conference’s Florida State held its ground at No. 2 after beating then-No. 5 Notre Dame 31-27.

Mississippi remains No. 3. Alabama jumped three spots to No. 4 after a 59-0 victory against Texas A&M. Auburn moved up a spot to No. 5 during a bye week, taking advantage of losses by previously unbeaten Notre Dame and Baylor.

That’s rather phenomenal eight weeks into the season. Indeed, two of the four teams—Alabama and Auburn—lost to two of the others. There’s still a lot of football played, including multiple matchups among those four teams. Mississippi State still plays Alabama and Ole Miss. Ole Miss still plays Auburn. And Auburn and Alabama still play each other. All of them can’t finish in the top 5. They may well deserve it, though.

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm veteran. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. al-Ameda says:

    I don’t think so many SEC schools would be ranked so highly if their players actually had to attend classes, do you? …… Just kidding.

    The SEC is a football juggernaut.

  2. Will Truman says:

    There is not much doubting that the SEC is the best conference in the country (though the Pac-12 is closer in than a lot of people think). A lot of this becomes self-fulfilling, though. Each time an SEC team beats another SEC team, it’s proof of how awesome the SEC is. The OOC is heavily loaded with light opponents, but that’s understandable because the SEC is awesome and so they have to play the Sun Belt to balance it out. When the SEC loses non-championship bowl games, it’s shrugged off because everybody knows that Alabama is really better than Oklahoma and only played down because they weren’t properly motivated.

    The last two additions to the SEC were mediocre Big 12 schools, both of which somehow managed to survive the “brutal” transition into the SEC by being competitive their first or second year.

  3. DC Loser says:

    Well, specifically, it’s the SEC West that’s the powerhouse. The SEC East is pretty weak this year. Now that my son is at Alabama, I’m following college football much more closely. It’s a good thing Bama has home field advantage for both the Mississippi State and Auburn games.

  4. James Pearce says:

    Sometimes I envy the regions in this country that are all about college football. Today is Sunday. My town is festooned in orange and blue and only dimly aware that CU took on USC in LA yesterday.

  5. Hal_10000 says:

    The SEC is the powerhouse. If you look at their bowl record over the last few years, it’s not only better than any other conference, it’s way bette (80-53 in the BCS era; every other conference is about at .500 or below).

    On the other hand, there is a bit of circularity here in that teams are rated well because they’ve played each other. The SEC has done very well in non-conference games (and was 7-3 in bowl last year) but the ranking, at least from the humans, are based on a very narrow slice of games.

    The gripping hand is that the computers agree that the SEC is best. Sagarin has SEC teams in the top five spots. All the others have SEC teams in four of the top five. So it’s not just sportswriters who can’t be bothered to think outside the box.

  6. All of them can’t finish in the top 5. They may well deserve it, though.

    Well, that’s certainly the Disney Corporation’s line.

  7. Will Truman says:

    @Hal_10000: Over a span of six seasons, I actually ran a statistical analysis of the conferences. It basically compared in conference records of the participants in out-of-conference games. So, for example, if a team that went 2-6 in their conference beat another team that went 6-2 in theirs, the first conference would get a nice boost and the second conference would get docked. But if a 6-2 team beat a 2-6 team, it didn’t count for nearly as much. (This was roughly 2006-10, before the most recent realignment.)

    I also had controls for things like home field advantage and the conference strength of the opposing conferences. I also had a few metrics that included the mid-majors, though most did not (except the MWC). There were 16 different weights in all.

    Anyhow, the SEC came in #1 for 10 of them. The Pac-12 had the next best combined score, winning the other six. The ACC and Big 12 came in after that (the ACC came in 3rd in 9 metrics, and the Big 12 in 7). To my surprise, the Big East outperformed the Big Ten, scoring 5th across the board. The MWC actually outperformed the Big Ten in something like four of the 12 metrics.

    Anyway, it’s a bit outdated now, but I suspect that the rankings would probably be pretty similar now, with the exception of the Big East.

  8. superdestroyer says:

    You have to love a conference where everyone gets to play 7 home games. The conference champion usually has played eight home games. They almost ever play the other four power conferences in home and home series and they never play a game north of Lexington, KY or west of Dallas Texas.

    Look at how Michigan State screwed itself by scheduling a home and home against Oregon when it should have just scheduled another MAC school (the MAC being the Sunbelt conference of the north).

    What is amazing is how many SEC fans talk about breaking away from the NCAA without thinking about how there will be no more 7 and 8 home game schedules if they do.

  9. Anonymouse says:

    Look, it is just a matter of time before the playoff is a one-conference state.

  10. superdestroyer says:


    The SEC is best engineered to get two schools in since they insist on playing only 8 conference games per season instead of 9 like the Pac, Big10, and Big12 conferences.

    Also, since the conferences have sorted themselves out into the 5 relevant conferences and the 5 irrelevant conferences, it makes sense that the five relevant conferences will sort themselves out to the most important (SEC) and least important (Big 12 or ACC)

  11. Hal_10000 says:

    @Will Truman:

    I found the same thing. The Big Six conference quickly became the Big Five and are rapidly becoming the Big Two. The Pac-10 is the only other conference that is consistently excellent.

    However, these things can wax and wane. A decade ago, the Big Ten was the powerhouse conference. Then the Big Twelve. I think realignment has made the conference uneven, but we’ll see what happens.