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Admittedly the bottom of the SEC has been larger (than the traditional and perennial bottom two) AND worse than usual the past 6 or so years. I blame that on loss of program stability as so many middle-tier programs have been starting-and-stopping their trains to change coach cars on the "GottaBecomeCompetitiveInThisNewEra Express."
But something tells me there's also a statistical tipping point at work here. If the top third of the conference is undefeated or one-loss in regular season matchups, aren't the middle and bottom thirds left between .500 and winless?
In the old Big-10, where typically undefeated Michigan & Ohio State met in December to decide the conference champion and Rose Bowl representative, there was a greater statistical (and practical) opportunity for the middle of the conference to finish well over .500.
Say you're the fourth best team in the SEC East--there's 3 losses. If you also play 2 of the West's top 3--that's now 5 losses in-conference. Throw in a season ticket holder pleasing non-Conference game against a national power... and your middle-of-the-pack team that would finish .750 in most conferences is a .500 team at best.
But what do I know? I'll ask my Calculus teaching friends. They'll appreciate the opportunity to use their knowledge for the good of mankind.
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