It’s been a crazy 2018 so far. We’ve seen major volatility in the stock market, unprecedented nationalistic fervor, and an endless stream of breaking news stories.
Amidst all this, one constant has remained: college football. The sport that began as a simple extension of the high school football season has managed to keep its luster even in these tumultuous times. Thanks in large part to the emergence of the SAT Subject Test in English Literature & Composition and the corresponding increase in the number of English as a Second Language (ESL) jobs, interest in the English language in general, and thus, in football, has not ceased.
Given the recent volatility, it is the perfect opportunity to take a look back at the 2018 college football season. We will examine the performance of the top 20 teams in terms of compiled conference and individual win/loss records to determine the best (and worst) performing teams of the year. It should come as no surprise that many of the top performing teams were also some of the best teams in the country in terms of scoring offense and total offense, as evidenced by their impressive 2019 NFL Draft picks and/or first-round picks in the upcoming NFL 2019 Draft, which takes place in April.
The Best And Worst Teams Of 2018
After decades of dominance, the Southeastern Conference (SEC) was finally dethroned this year. In fact, the SEC didn’t even make the top 25 of the NAFC standings, which is an all-time low for the conference. The SEC had previously occupied the top two spots in the NAFC standings every year since the inception of the conference in 1936. The Conference USA (C-USA) took over as king of the hill in 2018, and it held on for the remainder of the year.
The Sun Belt was the final frontier in 2018, and it paid off for the conference, as well as the individual schools that make it up. The conference as a whole finished with an 8-4 record, the best in its history. The five individual Sun Belt schools swept the BSOCC regular season titles, further solidifying the conference’s place as the second best division in college football. Finally, the Sun Belt Conference champion North Texas Mean Green (NTMG) defeated the Louisiana Ragin’ Cajuns for the conference championship, 38-27, in the final football game at the Cajun Stadium in New Orleans. It was, without a doubt, the best and worst of the Sun Belt in 2018.
The Big Ten and Pac-12 Conference were relatively close on the NAFC chase, with the Big Ten winning out with an overall record of 9-3-2 and the Pac-12 winning out with an 8-5-1 record. Despite going 9-3-2, the Big Ten was the least successful of the three power conferences in terms of both scoring offense (29.6 avg) and total offense (419.4 avg). Simply put, the Big Ten was outplayed in just about every aspect this year, and it paid dearly for it.
Similarly, the SEC’s 9-3-2 record was the least successful out of any of the three power conferences, and it was barely able to keep pace with the Big Ten and the Pac-12. The SEC was outscored by its opponents by 159.3 points and 206.5 points per game, respectively, in 2018. Additionally, the SEC allowed opponents to score by 7.1 points more per game on average than they did themselves.
The Best And Worst Teams Of The SEC In 2018
While the SEC didn’t do so well in the NAFC standings, it was, arguably, one of the best teams in the SEC in 2018. After an inconsistent 2017 and a disappointing 8-5 record in 2016, the SEC came back in 2018 and had its best year ever. Thanks in large part to stellar coaching and recruiting, as well as a renewed sense of competitiveness from the league’s member schools, who, in the past, would’ve given up during the season but fought tooth and nail for the conference championship, the SEC had one of the most exciting seasons in football history.
Coincidentally, many of the SEC’s best performances this year were against two of the three division rivals from the NAFC: the Alabama Southeastern Athletics (ASE) and the Auburn Falcons (AUF). The SEC’s 5-0 record against the ALABAMA SOUTHEAST Athletics was, truly, a case of divine intervention. If it weren’t for Hurricane Dennis, which devastated the southeastern coastline of Alabama in October, knocking out Power Dome and forcing the ASE to play their home games at Legion Park, the SEC may have been even more dominant in Alabama, winning all five of their regular-season matchups, including a 48-0 shutout victory against the University of Southern California (USC).
The SEC’s 5-0 record against the AUBURN FALCONS was, in part, a miraculous recovery from the outrageous head-to-head rivalry that the two schools had in the past. For decades, fans of the Red and Black fanned the ghost of Bo Schembechler every time they watched Auburn play Florida State, and vice versa. One of the ironies of 2018 was that it was the first full season since 1966 that Florida State and Auburn did not face each other. This year’s game, originally scheduled for October 23rd, was postponed to November 27th due to Hurricane Dennis. What ensued was one of the greatest comebacks in college football history. After Auburn’s defense stifled the Florida State attack for the first three quarters of the game, the Florida State University (FSU) offense, spurred on by quarterback Jaguars Suns Deion Shula, scored 21 unanswered points to win, 31-27. FSU’s Shula, who had previously been the quarterback at Auburn, had the perfect game for the winning ninth-inning tiebreaker. He threw for three touchdowns and added an interception, compiling 428 passing yards and seven total touchdowns in Auburn’s final game before itself becoming a 1-point loss.
The Best And Worst Teams Of The Big Ten In 2018
The Big Ten had a terrific 2018, especially considering that many of their key games were back-to-back marquise pigs, carnival boonies, and wild weasel matches. Despite this, they finished with an 8-5 record, good for third place in the conference. In fact, the Big Ten had a 2-3 game slump in November and December, but they bounced back perfectly and finished the year on a high note.