David Shaw Saban_

(Photos Courtesy of RammaJammaYellaHamma)

by Andrew Skaggs

The SEC is widely regarded as the best college football conference in the country, for good reason too. The last seven BCS National Champions have hailed from the Southeastern Conference. Until someone dethrones this giant, it will be hard to argue against, but the Pac-12 has compiled quite the argument in the 2013 season thus far. While the SEC has seven teams in the AP Top-25 compared to just four for the Pac-12, the depth in the Pac-12 this season is unparalleled across the country. Here is a look at how the top teams in each conference stack up against each other.

No. 1 Alabama (SEC) vs. No. 2 Oregon (Pac-12)

It’s the matchup college football fans have been clamoring for since both programs returned to prominence in 2008. It’s smash-mouth defense against the “blur” offense. It’s the historic powerhouse against the new kids on the block. While Alabama typically has a better reputation on defense than the Ducks, that may not be the case this season. Nick Saban’s defense was carved up by Johnny Football and Texas A&M to the tune of 42 points and 628 total yards (the most since Alabama started playing football in 1892). Yikes. It could be argued that Oregon’s offense is even more explosive and talented than A&M’s. Currently the top two teams in both polls, if this matchup played out in the BCS National Championship, it would be an absolute treat for college football fans.

Edge: Oregon

No. 5 Stanford (Pac-12) vs. No. 6 LSU (SEC)

For football purists, this is a dream matchup between two teams that bring the hammer on defense while pounding the run game on offense. Stanford and LSU are eerily similar in the way their football teams are made up. Both have “game managing” quarterbacks who make defense pay when they stack the box against the run. Both have elite offensive lines capable of mauling opposing defenses. Both have stars on the defensive side of the ball that fit their respective schemes to perfection. It wouldn’t necessarily be the highest-scoring game, but it sure would be fun to watch. This matchup could easily play out as a BCS bowl or even a National Championship game if both teams upset the aforementioned Bama and Oregon.

Edge: Stanford

No. 10 Texas A&M (SEC) vs. No. 13 UCLA (Pac-12)

This matchup features two super sophomore quarterbacks in Johnny F***ing Football (the only way to properly call him because he is that spectacular) and Brett Hundley. This game would be an absolute track meet considering both teams average over 50 points per game on the season. UCLA’s defense has looked pretty strong in 2013, allowing under 20 points per game, while A&M’s defense has been one of the worst units in the country. Whoever has the ball last wins this game plain and simple.

Edge: Texas A&M

No. 9 Georgia (SEC) vs. No. 16 Washington (Pac-12)

A matchup of the Dawgs pits Washington against Georgia. Both teams feature senior quarterbacks that are looking to get over the hump of past failures in big games. Georgia has already lost once, to No. 3 Clemson, but should still be on track to win the SEC East. Washington is undefeated through three games, including an opening weekend win against Boise State. Georgia’s defense has been tasked with replacing a lot of NFL departures from last season while Washington’s recent recruiting prowess has the Dawgs defense as good as it has been in awhile. The winner of this game would come down to QB Aaron Murray (Georgia) vs. QB Keith Price (Washington).

Edge: Georgia

I gave the edge to the top two Pac-12 teams in Oregon and Stanford while the SEC took home the second two matchups in these simulated games. The SEC has three other ranked teams in South Carolina, Florida, and Ole Miss, but the drop-off in depth is considerable. The rest of the Pac-12 features a 2-1 Arizona St. team that has a win over Wisconsin, as well as Arizona, Oregon State, Utah, and USC who have had strong pre-seasons. I am not ready to crown the Pac-12 over the SEC just yet, but if the BCS National Championship game features teams from these two conferences, it could be a whole new story come January.

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