Aubserver Mailbag 77: How successful would Auburn football be if it wasn't in the SEC?
This week: Recruiting against the giants, NIL paydays, CFB accounts to follow, the last basketball scholarship slot, video games, Hangman-Punk and food strategy
(Todd Van Emst/Auburn Athletics)
Welcome back to The Aubserver Mailbag. I have to be honest, this one took me a long time to write — not because of the overall length, but because I spent a lot of time Thursday glued to the Nick Saban vs. Jimbo Fisher blood feud and all the Internet that spun off of that.
The other thing that took me a while was the answer to our headline question this week, which wonders what Auburn football would do as a team if it wasn’t in the SEC but got to play in other Power 5 conferences. The results might surprise you!
This week’s mailbag also tackles some questions re: NIL and a couple of inquiries about Bruce Pearl’s basketball team at this point in what has been a busy offseason. The final portion of the mailbag is back to being a grab bag of offseason topics, including video games, food, mini golf and podcast listening habits.
As I mentioned on the last podcast, the mailbag will be back next week, as Painter will take the reins while I’m on vacation in Las Vegas for (of course) wrestling. I’ll be out of commission, for the most part, starting next Wednesday until the following Tuesday. While I’m gone, Painter has promised to keep you entertained — and we’ll also have a contributed feature story that I’m excited to run from a familiar name to some of you.
Alright, that’s enough housekeeping. Let’s go.
Is there a decent metrics-driven way to say how Auburn "would have" fared in each of the other P5s over the last decade? Obv schedule affects performance and SEC helps crootin. But as a fun thought experiment.
That above tweet really shows how tough it is to play in the SEC West, huh? The death of divisions will be a massive win for Auburn if it actually happens. More balanced schedules league-wide will help the Tigers, even if it doesn’t necessarily make their slate of games “easier.”
To answer Patrick’s question, let’s go back to our old friend, SP+. It’s an opponent-adjusted, play-by-play ratings system that attempts to rank the true quality of a team by what it does on the field — not worrying about record or strength of schedule.
What I’ve done here is go back to every season since Auburn’s last conference title (2013) and put where Auburn ranked in SP+ for each of the non-SEC power conferences. So, if it would’ve played in those conferences, this is generally about where it would have finished, based on how good it actually was on the field. It’s not perfect, mostly because you don’t have to play every single team in your conference, but it’s the closest thing I can think of doing.
By SP+, here’s where Auburn fit in the Power 5: