With the 2012 SEC regular season now complete, let's explore how the two-team expansion gave scheduling a major role in each team's success or failure.
The SEC's 14 teams can be split into the top 6 and the rest. The top 6 are Georgia, Florida, South Carolina, Alabama, LSU, and Texas A&M. They were a perfect 30-0 vs the rest.
|East Division||Overall||Top 6||The Rest|
- Georgia and Alabama are the only teams to play only two games versus the top 6.
- Florida is the only team with three wins over top 6 teams.
- Missouri played 5 of the top 6, only missing LSU.
- Vanderbilt and Mississippi State played 5 games against the rest.
- Tennessee and Arkansas only beat the teams that never won.
- Kentucky and Auburn lost no matter who they played.
- Georgia and Alabama are playing for the SEC championship.
- Florida and LSU should be disappointed.
- Texas A&M and South Carolina should be cautiously optimistic.
- Vanderbilt and Mississippi State are more optimistic than they should be.
- Missouri are more disappointed than they should be.
- Mississippi doesn't know what to think.
- Tennessee, Kentucky, Arkansas and Auburn fired their coaches.
Cross Division Games
Georgia and Alabama avoided playing the other division's top 3 teams, helping them win their division. This was possible with a 12-team conference, but it's more likely with 14-teams because the inter-divisional games have dropped from 3 to 2. Here's a look at these games for 2012 and 2013:
|Florida||at Texas A&M, vs LSU||vs Arkansas, at LSU|
|Georgia||vs Mississippi, at Auburn||vs LSU, at Auburn|
|Kentucky||vs Mississippi State, vs Arkansas||vs Alabama, at Mississippi State|
|Missouri||vs Alabama, at Texas A&M||at Mississippi, vs Texas A&M|
|South Carolina||at LSU, vs Arkansas||at Arkansas, vs Mississippi State|
|Tennessee||at Mississippi State, vs Alabama||at Alabama, vs Auburn|
|Vanderbilt||vs Auburn, at Mississippi||vs Mississippi, at Texas A&M|
|Alabama||at Tennessee, at Missouri||at Kentucky, vs Tennessee|
|Arkansas||vs Kentucky, at South Carolina||at Florida, vs South Carolina|
|Auburn||at Vanderbilt, vs Georgia||at Tennessee, vs Georgia|
|LSU||at Florida, vs South Carolina||at Georgia, vs Florida|
|Mississippi||at Georgia, vs Vanderbilt||at Vanderbilt, vs Missouri|
|Mississippi State||at Kentucky, vs Tennessee||vs Kentucky, at South Carolina|
|Texas A&M||vs Florida, at Missouri||vs Vanderbilt, at Missouri|
A red box indicates playing two of the other division's top 3 or playing a top 3 team on the road. A green box indicates not playing a top 3.
- UGA or South Carolina will win the east.
- Alabama will win the west.
- Missouri will rebound from a bad 2012.
- Vanderbilt and Mississippi State will have disappointing years.
- Kentucky will continue to suffer.
- Arkansas will not contend for the western championship.
- Mississippi and Texas A&M will be happy.
- LSU and Florida will be disappointed again.
Unless the SEC adds more conference games, champions will continue to be determined by who didn't play who, but college football thrives on controversy, so why fix it?