The BCS national championship game between Auburn and Oregon should be a dandy. Dynamic offenses. Played at a fast pace. Star players, including Heisman Trophy winner Cam Newton of Auburn.
And it’s the SEC vs. the Pac-10.
This is a rare postseason clash for the leagues at any level. The last time an SEC team played a Pac-10 squad in the postseason it was 1989. Washington beat Florida 34-7 in the Freedom Bowl.
The SEC vs. the Pac-10: You know which conference is going to get the benefit of the doubt in this matchup.
The SEC deserves whatever praise it gets. It’s the best football conference in the country. The most elite teams, the biggest stadiums, craziest fans, highest salaries …
The Pac-10? Dadgum, they sure do play some cute football out there in the West …
But there has been a disconnect between perception and reality when it comes to the two leagues. They have met 21 teams since 2000, and here is the scoreboard:
The Pac-10 is 12-9 in those games.
OK, you say. The matchups probably favored the Pac-10. After all, if USC played Vanderbilt 20 times, the Pac-10 would be 20-0 against the SEC.
Let’s look deeper.
The SEC was favored to win 12 of those 20 games … but won only eight times as the favorite.
Overall, the Pac-10 is 14-6-1 against the spread in its last 21 games against the SEC.
Head-to-head or against the spread, the Pac-10 comes out ahead.
So, yes, Auburn is about a three-point favorite against the Ducks for Monday night’s game. But remember that public perception almost always tilts too heavily in favor of the SEC when it plays the Pac-10.
Here is the breakdown of those 21 games (per the first comment on this story, I have changed the numbers on my original post to reflect the 2008 Arizona State-Georgia game):
|2000||No. 3 Alabama at UCLA||UCLA, 35-24||Alabama by 7|
|2001||No. 17 UCLA at No. 25 Alabama||UCLA, 20-17||Alabama by 2|
|2002||Auburn at No. 19 USC||USC, 24-17||USC by 7|
|2002||Mississippi State at No. 15 Oregon||Oregon, 36-13||Oregon by 13|
|2003||No. 13 LSU at Arizona||LSU, 59-13||LSU by 11|
|2003||No. 8 USC at No. 6 Auburn||USC, 23-0||Auburn by 3|
|2003||Oregon at Mississippi State||Oregon, 42-34||Oregon by 3|
|2004||Oregon State at No. 4 LSU||LSU, 22-21, OT||LSU by 18|
|2005||No. 5 LSU at No. 15 Arizona State||LSU, 35-31||ASU by 1|
|2005||Arkansas at No. 1 USC||USC 70-17||USC by 30|
|2006||Arizona at No. 8 LSU||LSU, 45-3||LSU by 15|
|2006||No. 9 Cal at No. 23 Tennessee||Tennessee, 35-18||Cal by 2|
|2006||No. 6 USC at Arkansas||USC, 50-14||USC by 7|
|2006||Washington State at No. 4 Auburn||Auburn, 40-14||Auburn by 14|
|2007||No. 15 Tennessee at No. 12 Cal||Cal, 45-31||Cal by 6|
|2008||No. 18 Tennessee at UCLA||UCLA, 27-24 (OT)||Tennessee by 7.5|
|2008||No. xx Georgia at Arizona State||No. 3 Georgia, 27-10||Georgia by 7|
|2009||No. 11 LSU at Washington||LSU, 31-23||LSU by 17.5|
|2009||UCLA at Tennessee||UCLA, 19-15||Tennessee by 8|
|2009||Arizona State at Georgia||Georgia, 20-17||Georgia by 7|
|2010||No. 7 Oregon at Tennessee||Oregon, 48-13||Oregon by 10.5|