Mississippi State was definitely a paper tiger. You also made a fantastic point. MOST SEC teams don't play a very grueling OOC schedule.
The biggest problem here is pre-season rankings. Let's be honest: most people don't move up over another team in the rankings unless you have an outstanding, marquee win, or the other team in front of you loses.
If #1 and #2 in the preseason win out, every other team in D-1 essentially played 12-13 grueling weeks for nothing unless both teams were winning by like 3 points over the likes of some bad opponents. Think back to when Auburn didn't make the title game: simply because they were unranked in the preseason.
Get rid of the preseason rankings and only rank until about 3-4 weeks in.