The newest poll is out over at ESPN.com.
It confirms what I was afraid of last week after UT lost to Gonzaga. There are no teams in the SEC which are currently considered to be among the 25 best in the country. Arkansas came in as the first in the "Others Receiving Votes" category... clearly they got their 51 votes from people who didn't see the conference opener. I am uncertain as to when this has ever happened before.
My question to others here at ASoB is this: Is there reason for concern? We can all throw our noses in the air and say that ratings don't matter... but we know they do. On a couple of levels they matter. They matter because fans in Monkey's Eyebrow open their newspaper and fret over the fact that their Cats aren't ranked. They matter because they effect how the league is perceived. We take great pride that the SEC is considered the strongest football conference in the land. Look at the schaudenfraude that everyone engages in when the Big 10 or the Pac 10 have only one or two teams ranked in football. Rankings matter on a visceral level.
Rankings also matter on a practical matter. Perhaps not early in the year, but we are now getting into the meat of the season. Conference play is here and seedings are on the line. Resumes are being built for the tournament. In March we are going to look down and see nine teams from the Big East playing for the title. In March we are going to look at those brackets and see possibly as little as 3 teams from the SEC.
With Kentucky's recent embarassing string on national TV (name the last nationally televised game where we looked good... IU I suppose, but most will write that off) we need a strong conference showing to assure us of solid seeding in the tournament (or possibly even a bid!) and with the SEC so weak, this will make the wins we do get much less relevant on a national stage.