There ought to be a college football equivalent of Godwin's Law that any time an otherwise reasonable pundit tries to rank conferences, he inevitably writes his worst material. Tony Barnhart illustrates this maxim. The Pac Ten sixth? The same conference that Sagarin has at number one?
Tony's reasoning is, to be blunt, inept. LSU's close games against Mississippi State and Georgia show the depth of the conference, but Cal's losses to USC and Oregon show that Cal is terrible. The same Cal team that won fairly easily against Maryland and Minnesota. (I know those two opponents aren't world-beaters, but given the sorry state of non-conference scheduling, those are relevant results.) Barnhart just blithely asserts that the Pac Ten is full of bad teams and then moves along.
The worst part of Barnhart's piece is that he makes no reference whatsoever to non-conference results. Call me crazy, but that might be a useful way to compare teams. Arizona State took Georgia to the wire in Athens. Oregon handed Utah its only loss. UCLA won in Knoxville and beat Kansas State by two scores. USC has beaten Ohio State and Notre Dame on the road. Washington played very close games with LSU and Notre Dame. Leaving Washington State aside, there are almost no embarrassing losses for the conference. The Pac Ten is a good league this year. I'm not convinced that it's better than the SEC, but it's better than the remainder of the leagues and it's laughable that Barnhart could suggest that the Mountain West is in its vicinity.
Look, I love the SEC. I wouldn't blog so much about it if I didn't. However, there ought to be a limit to the "woo, SEC!!!" sentiment. Barnhart goes off the deep end with that sentiment this morning. For a guy with the "Mr. College Football" moniker, he comes across as a guy who doesn't know about or pay attention to football outside of the region.