Daniel Shirey-USA TODAY Sports
Alabama's already-certain spot in the national championship game has been locked up, but it's not the only reason that the conference is atop the college football world
After Saturday's wild SEC Championship Game, there were more than a few people who thought that the human pollsters would vote for Georgia at No. 3 in droves, making it a tight race for the at-large bid that Florida would eventually win. But when the rankings came out on Sunday, it wasn't even close.
Georgia fell from third in the BCS rankings to seventh as humans and computers both punished them for a four-point loss to the Tide. And while Florida ultimately got the contractually guaranteed spot for the third-ranked team, the humans actually gave No. 3 to Oregon and while keeping the Gators no higher than fourth.
The harsher punishment for Georgia came from the chips. Human voters dropped the Dawgs to No. 5 on their final ballots, perhaps a bit more than you might expect for a close game against No. 2. But the computers, which had given Georgia an average of No. 4 the week before, dropped them to No. 11 after the loss to the Tide. Last week, no computer had Georgia lower in its rankings than seventh; this week, no machine had the Dawgs higher than ninth.
Florida, meanwhile, ended up ranked second among the computers. Alabama's dominant position in the human polls will make that little more than a historical footnote, but it's an interesting footnote nonetheless. But if Florida hadn't been second among the computers, it might have been a much closer race with Oregon, which was kept out of the third spot by the chips ranking them No. 6 on average.
Meanwhile, the SEC had a half-dozen teams in the Top 10, but no one else in the rankings. That might not be the definition of a top-heavy league -- it's hard to call a conference top-heavy when almost half of its teams are ranked -- but it certainly shows that this is a two-tier league right now, with the top tier consisting of Alabama, Florida, Georgia, LSU, Texas A&M and South Carolina. Aside from Georgia's problems with the computers, the five other teams are all ranked in the Top 10 by the humans and the computers. For those who have long said that the SEC can't claim to be the best conference in the country based on winning one game, you have your answer.