SEC Dominance Set to Continue Into the Near FutureBy Lucas M.
The SEC’s success is simple, often maddeningly so. They are simply stronger, faster and better than most other teams in the nation. It isn’t rocket science, but it is now an incontrovertible fact. The Alabama Crimson Tide were 9.5 point favorites heading into the BCS National Championship game against Notre Dame, and they played like they should have been favored by 19.5.
As college football moves toward an eventual playoff system, watered down though it may end up being, this game served as a crucial reminder of some of the BCS system’s many flaws. Namely, that a team like Notre Dame could make it to a title game against a clearly superior opponent, and somehow outrank them in the year-end standings. When was the last time a number one-overall ranked team was almost a ten-point underdog to the number two-ranked team? Only in the goofy, fundamentally broken world of college football could such a thing happen.
The difference between the two teams was obvious from the get-go to everyone who was watching the game – even Notre Dame head coach Brian Kelly, who looked and sounded like he was in shock after the 42-14 beatdown was over.
“We’ve got to get physically stronger, continue to close the gap there, and just overall you need to see what it looks like. Our guys clearly know what it looks like,” Kelly said. “We all now know what we have to do to move from where we are, which is a 12-0 football team, pretty darned good football team, but not good enough.”
As far as gambling goes, the Crimson Tide are just as much of a dynasty as they are in real life. In November, according to linemaker Ed Salmons in a Sporting News piece, the Crimson Tide are “43-29-1 (59.72 percent) against the spread in Nick Saban’s six seasons and have covered the number in 11 of their last 14 SEC games.” It is astonishing that the Tide cover the spread at such an impressive clip, especially given how heavily they are favored in almost every game.
Normally when a team is as popular and successful as Alabama, the lines swing way too far in the other direction and it becomes virtually impossible to bet on them to cover the spread and make any money; think Duke men’s basketball routinely opening games favored by 30-plus points. That’s damn hard to do. For Saban’s squad to consistently cover three and four touchdown spreads is nothing short of amazing. These successful on-field dynasties are often a total gambling stay-away; however, the Crimson Tide are a clear exception to the rule.
So what’s in store for the Tide next year? Well, pretty much more of the same. Quarterback A.J. McCarron is returning, and all told the team should return eight starters on each side of the ball. The team’s two top pass rushers are expected back, as are four of their top five tacklers. Vegas already has the Crimson Tide as heavy, heavy favorites to win the BCS National Championship next season, with odds in the 3-1 and 4-1 range. After all, why not? With a team this dominant both on the field and in the gambling lines, there’s absolutely no reason to bet against this team as long as Nick Saban is on the sideline.