(By the way, am I the only one who thinks of REM Green when using the word "eviscerate"? You know, the line "Eviscerate your memory/here's a scene/you're in the backseat laying down/the windows wrap around to the sound of the travel and the engine." Here's the song if you want it. Green was one of the first rock albums I bought when I started to flower as a music fan in 1989 at the age of 14. We can now return to our regularly scheduled programming.)
I did a little grunt work and, using Stassen's composite pre-season rankings, measure the number of out-of-conference games major conference teams play against pre-season top 30 teams. Here are the results:
Pac Ten - 7 (ASU @ LSU, UCLA vs. Oklahoma, USC vs. Fresno State, Oregon vs. Fresno State, Boise State @ Oregon State, Oregon State @ L'ville, Arizona @ Utah)
SEC - 7 (Ark @ USC, Florida vs. FSU, Kentucky vs. L'ville, LSU vs. ASU, Georgia vs. Boise State, Auburn vs. Georgia Tech, Georgia @ Georgia Tech)
ACC - 5 (FSU @ Florida, Georgia Tech vs. Georgia, Georgia Tech @ Auburn, Clemson vs. Texas A&M, UNC vs. Utah)
Big Ten - 4 (Ohio State vs. Texas, Northwestern @ Arizona State, Illinois @ Cal, Bowling Green @ Wisconsin)
Big XII - 4 (Texas @ Ohio State, Iowa vs. Iowa State, Nebraska vs. Pitt, Colorado vs. Miami)
As expected, the Pac Ten comes our in front, given their smaller size, but lo and behold, the SEC, that stereotypical collection of teams who refuse to play anyone good outside of the league, is right behind them. The Big XII being last is no shock; the exalted Big Ten coming in next-to-last is something of a surprise, although in their defense, if Notre Dame is a top 30 team, then their total shoots up. In any event, the point is that Walters' criticism is unfounded: the SEC's out-of-conference menu is just as good (if not better) than that of the rest of major college football.