You can make a case for Ohio State, Southern California, Boise State, Wisconsin and Louisville. It would be nice if teams had the opportunity to make their own case on the field, but since major college football elects not to hold a tournament, all we can do is guess.
My guess is Louisiana State is college football’s second-best team.
The Tigers were cheated out of the opportunity to prove it because they had what was tantamount to a postseason bye, beating bloated Notre Dame. Fans, too, were cheated. The Tigers are as athletic as Florida and as entertaining.
To Notre Dame’s credit, fans of the Fighting Irish were strong New Year’s Eve as they cascaded down Bourbon Street and pulsed through the French Quarter. They had come to New Orleans for the Sugar Bowl, and I saw more of their colors that night than LSU’s.
The Tigers showed their colors three days later when they pounded the Irish (they were not the Fighting Irish that day) 41-14.
Never doubt the SEC. There is always SEC backlash because of the attention the conference attracts, but the SEC earns that attention.
Along with college football’s most passionate fans and best football towns, it offers the best athletes and best teams. Those teams played in nine bowls and won six.
There’s a spirit to SEC football –despite the presence of new Alabama coach Nick Saban – no other conference can match. To play in those stadiums against that competition and escape with a single loss is the reason Florida, and not Michigan, earned Monday’s game against Ohio State.
If I were voting, my final top 10 would be: Florida, LSU, Ohio State, Southern Cal, Boise State, Louisville, Wisconsin, Auburn, Oklahoma and, tied for 10th, Michigan and West Virginia.