College Football’s Biggest Myth

I am tired of the SEC, and quite frankly the BCS too.

The understanding throughout College Football is the SEC is the premier conference. Their level of prestige is unattainable by anyone else, if you even think that another conference is as good you’re heralded as an idiot, a pot stirrer, or someone with a biased opinion.

Maybe I am biased. While everyone else seems to think that the SEC was created in God’s image, I believe it was created in the image of some arrogant college professor. Yes, the SEC has won the past five National Championships, but they’ve done it in a flawed system.

The BCS style of determining a championship exists nowhere else. In every other level of College Football there is a playoff, yet the Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS, formerly DI-A) doesn’t have one. In a field of 120 teams, two are selected to play head-to-head to crown a champion. Imagine in College Basketball if a similar system was used to figure out who would play in the National Championship. Perception would rule, and teams like Butler, George Mason, and Virginia Commonwealth would be unidentifiable universities to everyone who didn’t hold a diploma from them.

The system would only reward what humans believed to be the strongest conferences. Some combination of the Big East, ACC, and Big Ten would be represented in the National Championship every single year. In a BCS style system, Florida’s back-to-back wins under Billy Donovan may have never happened.

In 2010 TCU went undefeated in the regular season and had to settle, yes settle, for the Rose Bowl. TCU never got a chance to play for a National Championship because they are penalized for playing in a weaker conference. Meanwhile, the SEC is so well insulated from having to play against an undefeated TCU because the perception is their schedule is better, and we can only admit two teams into the one playoff game.

Note: I agree that in the current system TCU should have been left out, but I am not arguing for the current system. This is the same current system that allowed the one-loss Gators to play in the National Championship over undefeated Utah. This was the same Utah team who went onto to beat SEC runner up, Alabama Crimson Tide, in the Sugar Bowl.

Am I really out of my mind for thinking Utah had a chance to beat Florida?

The point extends well beyond the security blanket provided for the SEC by the BCS. The real point here is that the current system never fully allows us to know how good the SEC is, it’s dictated by perception. We assume the SEC is so good because they have won five consecutive titles. We assume the SEC is so good because every time someone loses to an inferior conference opponent (See LSU and Arkansas in 2007) the lead argument is that there are no inferior teams, it’s a tough conference and everyone is good.

Maybe, but I am not buying it. If that was the case, if everyone was so good, then why did the same Arkansas team who beat LSU get stomped out by an overrated Missouri team in the Cotton Bowl? The answer is because the SEC was not that good, but they rewarded because people perceived it as being the hardest conference. At the end of the day they are picking teams to play in the National Championship based on how a select group of people and some computers feel about the season.

Let’s dissect the last five National Champions.

2010: Auburn

  • We will never know if they deserved to win the National Championship because they never played TCU.

2009: Alabama

  • I will agree the BCS got that one right, and the SEC was deserving of a National Champion in this case.

2008: Florida

  • The one-loss Gators escaped without playing undefeated Utah and one-loss USC. BCS fails again, and an SEC team was crowned the National Champion.

2007: LSU

  • This was a year where if the NCAA didn’t respond by instituting a playoff then they never will. Somehow after all the dust settled, and the chaos cleared an SEC team still landed in the BCS National Championship Game.

2006: Florida

  • The Gators win, but there’s a problem. Ohio State was perceived to be the best team in the country, but they narrowly beat #2 Michigan at home. Florida magically jumps Michigan who is penalized for barely losing to the #1 team in the country. Florida then humiliates Ohio State in the National Championship game.  Meanwhile, USC clobbers Michigan in the Rose Bowl. Oh, and undefeated Boise State beats a great Oklahoma team. Confused?

What was learned was Ohio State should have never been number one. People are incapable of properly making these determinations, and the status of National Champion should be figured out on the field.  People’s perceptions can be wrong, and until a playoff system emerges I will never consider the SEC to be anything other than just another conference.

PeterBlogdra is a guest contributor whose blog can be found at peterblogdra.blogspot.com.

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3 thoughts on “College Football’s Biggest Myth

  1. If you really want to make the argument that we need a playoff, why didn’t you argue that neither team deserved to be there versus the SEC team not deserving to be there. Four of the last five BCS championships have been decided by ten points or greater and the SEC team didn’t deserve to be there? Sounds like SEC envy to me.

  2. How quickly some people forget. The SEC didn’t always have an automatic bid into the National Championship Game. In 2004 Auburn won every game they played and yet was excluded in lieu of Oklahoma and USC. Furthermore, the argument that the SEC is the best conference in college football can be substantiated without including the past five years of national championships. The SEC has more premier teams than every other conference. Simply look at the number of Top-25 teams from each conference – over the past 5 years the SEC has had the most teams ranked at the very top of college football.

    • I was going to say the same exact thing GRJOHNST. The argument shouldn’t be against the SEC, but against the BCS. The quickest way to rid our selves of the BCS and get a college playoff installed is through power conferences.

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