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SEC reputation gets in the way of rankings

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Cheers and Jeers,Sports,College,Jeffrey Tomik

An SEC team has won the past six BCS national title games, so schools from the powerhouse conference usually get the benefit of the doubt when evaluating resumes of one-loss teams.

With five teams in the top nine of the BCS standings, the SEC once again has dominated college football.

But when you look closer to the resumes of some of these highly ranked SEC teams, particularly the two that will likely face off in the SEC title game -- No. 2 Alabama (10-1) and No. 3 Georgia (10-1) -- it isn't that impressive.

The Crimson Tide opened the season with a convincing 41-14 win over No. 20 Michigan (8-3), but the rest of their nonconference schedule consisted of victories over Western Kentucky (6-5), Florida Atlantic (3-8) and Western Carolina (1-10). Alabama also has avoided playing the top three teams in the SEC East -- No. 3 Georgia, No. 6 Florida (10-1) and No. 13 South Carolina (9-2). The Crimson Tides' biggest conference wins have come against Mississippi State, a team that has fallen out of the BCS rankings, and No. 8 LSU.

Meanwhile, Georgia has only faced two ranked opponents all season. The Bulldogs defeated No. 6 Florida but were dominated by No. 13 South Carolina in a 35-7 loss.

If Alabama beats Auburn (3-8) and Georgia tops Georgia Tech (6-5) this weekend, the winner of the SEC title game will be in the national championship game.

And if No. 1 Notre Dame loses to USC on Saturday, the SEC may have two teams in the title game for a second consecutive season, with Florida stealing the other berth.

But this year, the resume may not back up the reputation of being in the SEC.

- Jeffrey Tomik

jtomik@washingtonexaminer.com

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