SECond to none, with no end in sight

The SEC grind gets overrated. With expansion, the top teams are less likely to play each other. Alabama did not play Florida or South Carolina from the East Division. And by playing eight conference games instead of nine, the way the Big 12 and Pac-12 do, they can pad their schedules with enough soft spots and breaks to give their teams a break from the week-to-week pounding.

The SEC hasn’t cornered the market on selective scheduling, but its programs are good at it.

Alabama probably had more true walkovers than Notre Dame, but the closest the Irish came to playing anyone like Georgia, LSU or Texas A&M was its game at Oklahoma, and the Sooners lost the Cotton Bowl 41-13 to Johnny Football and the Aggies.

The Irish were exposed by a level of athleticism, skill and depth that only a handful or so teams in the country can come close to, and most of those teams play in the SEC.

Maybe Urban Meyer can build a team at Ohio State that can match the SEC’s best. Florida State is showing signs of being able to be a team like that. Maybe, Clemson? Southern California has the resources, but who knows what direction the Trojans are headed? Oklahoma and Texas have fallen off, but always have the potential to do big things. Brian Kelly wants us to believe this year Notre Dame took a huge step toward being a team that can compete on that level.

But right now they are all chasing and the gap doesn’t seem to be narrowing.

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Follow Ralph D. Russo at http://www.Twitter.com/ralphdrussoap

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