Let’s talk college football today. As I type the winner of the SEC Championship game (Bama vs Georgia) will play Notre Dame in the BCS National Championship. Most arrogant SEC fans [redundant, I know] are thinking, “Of course a SEC team will be in the big game. That is the way it is supposed to be.” What all these SEC fans are failing to see is how they narrowly they dodged a bullet this year. They fail to see that the system is setting up to screw the SEC in the future. They fail to see that they are getting exactly what they have been asking for–college football Armageddon.
Two weeks ago [as I type, not as you read] Alabama lost to Texas A&M. Consequently they were ranked 4th in the BCS Rankings. If Ohio State were not on probation, Alabama would have been ranked 5th. Why is this significant? Because in 2014, had the season ended that week, the SEC would have been left out out of the national championship hunt. Starting in 2014, the top 4 teams get to play for the prize–everyone else plays for consolation prizes.
Luckily, #2 Oregon and #1 Kansas State lost in the same glorious night, putting Georgia and Alabama back in the hunt. Obviously, order was restored to the universe the way God intended.
However, I’m disturbed by SEC fans not recognizing this as a huge wake up call! This should have been eye opening! It should be obvious to them that the new system sets up football armageddon in the future, with the SEC not being represented in the national championship playoff!
Earlier this year conference commissioners had a series of meetings discussing a new playoff format. Big Ten conference commissioner Jim Delany advocated that only conference champions be eligible to enter the playoff. SEC conference commissioner Mike Slive, of course did not support such a rule, as he had just witnessed and all SEC national championship game between LSU and Alabama a few months earlier.
Of course, Alabama fans vehemently were against such a rule, claiming “the playoff should have the four best teams”, and ignoring all practical considerations and the pitfalls of subjectivity and bias in determining who those four best teams are. Having a national championship game where one of the teams didn’t even win it’s conference–or even it’s division–does not challenge common sense to the Alabama fan base as it does to the rest of the country.
In short, Mike Slive and SEC fans were greedy, and created a system that allows for another all SEC national championship in the future under the new playoff system. Having an all SEC national championship game is the upside of the new system. They are failing to see the ominous downside.
IT IS GOING TO BACKFIRE
Alabama being ranked 4 and Georgia being ranked 5, with undefeated Ohio State sitting on the sidelines on probation, should have been a huge wakeup call. It SHOULD BE apparent now how easy it would be for SEC to miss a national championship game under the new formula.
Assume that Ohio State were still eligible, that we were under the 2014 system, and the season ended in week 10. The rankings would have been as follows:
- Kansas State 10-0
- Oregon 10-0
- Notre Dame 10-0
- Ohio State 10-0
- Alabama 9-1
- Georgia 9-1
- Florida 9-1
- LSU 8-2
- Texas A&M 8-2
- South Carolina 8-2
Does this pass the common sense test? For example, what would the line be if Alabama played Kansas State? What about Georgia versus Ohio State? Who would be favored to win? The SEC team would be favored to win of course.
The SEC would have the best teams and yet, as you can see, the system does present the distinct possibility that that the SEC will be left out in years to come. There are years in which the best SEC team has two losses. Under the current system there could easily be four undefeated or one loss teams in front of a two loss SEC team.
The solution to this dilemma is obvious and simple. Jim Delany had the right idea…only conference champions should be eligible to go to the playoff.
In such an example the criteria for deciding which four teams go to the playoff would be based as much on strength of the overall conference as much as the individual teams. If the SEC is the strongest conference, then the SEC champion should be represented regardless of how many losses they have.
All eleven conferences should be considered as well. For the odd year when Conference USA appears to be as strong as the ACC or Big Ten, then Conference USA’s champion should be considered in that year.
What about Notre Dame? — Screw Notre Dame. If they want to go to the playoff they should have to join a conference. FULLY join a conference, not this queer compromise shenanigan that they have managed to pull off with the ACC.
Tomorrow we will walk through further examples of Football Armageddon..