SEC proves to be best conference in men's golf

The Alabama men's golf team after winning the 2013 SEC Championship.

Men's Rankings »

1Casey FernandezSo. Miss.  66.31 
2Tomasz AndersonJ'Ville St  67.12 
3Chase KoepkaUSF-Bulls  67.27 
4Hunter StewartVanderbilt  67.27 
5Maverick McNealyStanford  67.32 

Men's Team Rankings »

1South Florida 68.18 
2Illinois 68.90 
3SE Louisiana 69.66 
4Florida State 69.78 
5Baylor 69.89 

Which was the best conference in college golf this season?

Well, if you base the answer on the 30-team starting field at the upcoming men’s Division I NCAA Championship at Capital City Golf Club’s Crabapple course just outside of Atlanta, the answer is easy. In fact, it's a no-brainer.

The SEC has almost twice as many teams competing than its nearest challengers. Nine of the 14 league teams are in the big show, easily outdistancing the Pac-12 and Big 12, who each have five.

And, how about this: the Mid-American Conference, considered by some to be mid-major level, has two teams at Crabapple. That equals the number from the Atlantic Coast and Mountain West Conferences and is one more than the Big 10.

On another note, 25 of the top 30 teams in the Golfweek/Sagarin Ranking advanced through regionals to the finals. The exceptions: No. 9 Stanford, No. 14 Duke, No. 21 SMU, No. 26 Houston and No. 28 Mississippi State.

The lowest-ranked team among the 30 is No. 56 Ball State, but what a thrill and accomplishment for the Cardinals who will be making their first finals appearance since 1986.

Here is a conference breakdown for the NCAA starting field with each team’s Golfweek/Sagarin Ranking in parenthesis:

SEC: Alabama (2), Florida (12), Arkansas (13), Georgia (15), LSU (18), Auburn (19), Texas A&M (20), South Carolina (24), and Tennessee (30).

Pac-12: California (1), UCLA (4), Washington (6), USC (17), and Arizona State (40).

Big 12: Texas (3), TCU (7), Oklahoma State (11), Oklahoma (25), Texas Tech (37).

ACC: Georgia Tech (8) and Florida State (10).

Mid-American: Kent State (23) and Ball State (56).

Mountain West: New Mexico (5) and UNLV (29).

Big 10: Illinois (22).

Conference-USA: Central Florida (41).

Atlantic Sun: North Florida (16).

Big South: Coastal Carolina (44).

West Coast: St. Mary’s (27).

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