SEC Schedule Strength in 2009

After having gone through the BCS automatic qualifying formula numbers, I was left (among other things) the end-of-regular-season computer poll averages of every team in the country for the past four years. You didn't think I'd just leave those numbers there, did you?

I went through and looked to see who had the toughest SEC slates of last year. One of the big reasons Florida was favored to repeat was because most thought UF got really lucky with its SEC schedule. How true was that?

First, it's worth mentioning that the SEC West was noticeably stronger than the SEC East. The six teams in the West came out with an average computer poll ranking of 24.25, with only Mississippi State (49) below Auburn's average of 31. The East teams however ended up with an average of 39.71. Florida was at 3.25, Georgia was at 25.5, and everyone else was below South Carolina's 31.25 ranking. Vanderbilt was the outlier that futzed things up, being last place (98.5) behind Mississippi State by a mile.

Anyway, here's the average rankings of each team's SEC foes in 2009 (SEC title game not included):

  1. Arkansas, 22.31
  2. Auburn, 27.47
  3. Vanderbilt, 28.22
  4. Mississippi State, 30.09
  5. Alabama, 31.94
  6. Tennessee, 32.50
  7. South Carolina, 32.81
  8. LSU, 32.84
  9. Kentucky, 34.59
  10. Georgia, 35.16
  11. Ole Miss, 35.69
  12. Florida, 40.19

The overall average of each SEC team was 31.98, for reference.

The answer is yes: Florida had the easiest schedule in conference play last season. It wasn't exactly a cake walk by any stretch, but it was in last place by a good margin. Florida had Mississippi State, Arkansas, and LSU from the West, who were sixth, fourth, and second in the West. The biggest deal though was that the Gators, being the Gators, didn't play what was by far the best team in the East. The other five SEC East teams averaged a ranking of 47.

Arkansas, having played in the West and the top three teams of the East, ended up with the toughest schedule. The East team with the toughest slate was unsurprisingly Vanderbilt, who ducked the worst team in the division by being the worst team in the division. Incidentally, Arkansas trades Florida for Vanderbilt next year, which means we're probably going to have a different team on top of this list next year.

After the jump, in case you're interested, are the computer poll averages for the SEC teams. They're calculated the same way the BCS does it: dropping the highest and lowest and averaging the rest.

 

  1. Alabama, 1
  2. Florida, 3.25
  3. LSU, 10
  4. Georgia, 25.5
  5. Ole Miss, 27
  6. Arkansas, 27.5
  7. Auburn, 31
  8. South Carolina, 31.25
  9. Tennessee, 37.25
  10. Kentucky, 42.5
  11. Mississippi State, 49
  12. Vanderbilt, 98.5
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