Not all conferences are created equal. The SEC has won the last six national championships, prompting even average conference members’ fans to chant, “S-E-C, S-E-C, S-E-C!”
It’s a little unfair to hear Ole Miss fans yell, “S-E-C, S-E-C, S-E-C!” when the cameras veer toward them during football games. Same thing for Kentucky Wildcats fans. Even mighty Arkansas followers have no real claim on such a chant.
Those schools never earned that.
The heavy Bowl Championship Series lifting has been done by Tennessee, LSU, Alabama, Auburn and Florida. These guys have the national championships to prove their worth. Sure, the Razorbacks have had some good teams with some fantastic players (Darren McFadden, Ryan Mallett). Georgia usually fields a tough squad, however, the Bulldogs have no BCS crowns.
Steve Spurrier is a fantastic coach, but his South Carolina Gamecocks aren’t cut from the same cloth as the Gators.
So what gives these SEC schools the right to chant S-E-C so often?
SEC teams occupy more spots in the polls than any other conference. In recent years, the SEC has hogged the crystal trophy that the BCS awards to the national champion. It will be tough to strip that football trophy away from the SEC.
The Infant BCS
Tee Martin led the Tennessee Volunteers to the 1998 national championship in the very first BCS title game. The idea of a title game in which No. 1 is matched up against No. 2 was a fantastic idea on paper. It essentially made the other bowl games irrelevant.
So when the SEC won its second BCS title it wasn’t without controversy. Somehow, those wacky computers excluded USC, the No. 1 team in the Associated Press and Coaches’ Poll, from the title game. A split championship was the end result, which wasn’t unheard of in previous year. The BCS was designed to have a unanimous champ, what happened?
Many changes have happened since that goof and two years from now, college football will take its first step toward a more definite champ with a four-team playoff.
For the time being, college football is stuck with the flawed current system. The SEC has taken full advantage.
Perception Is Everything
Florida, Alabama, Auburn and LSU won the last six titles fair and square. No cheating was involved. The way they got there — and their opponents — are suspect.
The 2006 and 2007 seasons were prosperous ones for The Ohio State University. Voters should have known that the Buckeyes played in a very weak Big 10, yet they were rewarded with consecutive trips to the title game. They didn’t belong.
No matter how Ohio State got there (yes, it was undefeated in one of those regular seasons), a playoff would have spared the college football world from watching Florida and LSU essentially get free championships.
Florida’s second BCS win was deserved as it held off a Sam Bradford-led Oklahoma squad, 21-14. Don’t get it twisted, this was Tim Tebow’s first championship team that he led. You simply can’t give him credit for the 2007 title, that was Chris Leak’s squad.
Thanks to a Colt McCoy injury in the title game, Alabama suffocated Texas, 37-21 in 2010. Without a precise passing game, the Crimson Tide did whatever they wanted in a game that wasn’t as close as the final score indicated. Could McCoy have played? Perhaps, but he wasn’t going to risk his NFL draft chances in a college game. A serious injury could have cost McCoy millions.
The 2011 game between Auburn and Oregon wasn’t as incredible as the USC-Texas classic, but it was just as competitive. Oregon was just as talented as the Tigers. Unfortunately for the Ducks, Cam Newton (that season’s Heisman Trophy winner) played an OK game with 265 passing yards and 64 rushing yards, yet Auburn still won with a last-second field goal.
Last season’s BCS title game was the most controversial of all. The SEC was guaranteed to lose its first championship game since Alabama and LSU were playing each other. Obviously, this also meant the SEC was guaranteed to win its sixth straight BCS crown.
Five SEC schools are ranked in the top 10 of the preseason top 25 polls. Eventually, the SEC has to lose. This year seems as good as ever for the SEC’s reign to end. USC and Oregon will battle it out for a title game spot. Oklahoma will be a strong candidate. Michigan can get in the conversation if it pulls off a win on Saturday against Alabama.
LSU and Alabama will be strong again this year. Both teams are missing players thanks to the NFL and, in the case of LSU, dismissing Heisman finalist Tyrann Mathieu.
SEC pride will remain even if one its teams don’t take home the crystal trophy. A seventh straight BCS win seems unlikely. Then again, so did the third, fourth, fifth and sixth.