We all see what’s going on in college football. Yet, we do not say the quiet part out loud. Except for me.
I flunked being a wallflower at age 10, according to my late father.
No hate here. I love the SEC and its fans. They have elevated the game and we are all for the better of it. But for those who were not blessed enough to experience college football every Saturday south of the Mason-Dixon Line, I will speak up for you. (You’re welcome).
When will this SEC bias stop?
After USC and TCU won their 11th and 12th games, respectively, a major (unnamed, but you can figure it out) sports network’s broadcasters were discussing between themselves on air at how a second SEC team could get in the College Football Playoff’s Final Four. And how Alabama is still not out of the Playoffs.
America was rejoicing over the usual suspects out of the national championship conversation and these guys threw it right back in our faces.
How about talking about TCU’s dream season? In depth. How quarterback Max Duggan should be a Heisman finalist. How USC’s turnaround is a major story that has not really been fawned over. How Caleb Williams is now a serious Heisman contender after being ignored for 10 weeks. How Michigan and Ohio State are legitimately playing Big Boy Football.
But no, we are subjected to a network’s bias toward a conference because… it has a financial stake in that conference. To be fair, they are not the only ones. FOXSports has a stake in the Big XII and Big Ten, as well. They too propagate how these conferences are just as competitive as others.
But since FOXSports has not, until recently, made headway into competing with that other network’s programming/time slots, most fans watch the majority of college football on one of that network’s various platforms.
In other words, most fans get a weekly dose of SEC football because while those teams’ games are on different cable channels, they are under one network.
SEC Fatigue Syndrome. It is a pandemic. And the biased talking heads and influencers are rearing their ugly heads.
Arkansas was ranked in the Top 10 for two weeks before losing six of its last nine games. In week 10, Alabama was the only one-loss team ranked ahead of 8-0 TCU. LSU was the only two-loss team ranked in the Top 10 as well.
Alabama head coach Nick Saban is now campaigning for the two-loss Crimson Tide to be included in the Playoffs despite its best win being against No. 21 Texas.
A friendly reminder to those fans who count a win over a ranked opponent in real time: if your team beats a highly-ranked team, that opponent’s ranking (at that time) does not reflect how good that team is. The final ranking of that opponent does.
Case in point: Texas A&M.
The Aggies were overrated at No. 6 in the preseason rankings. Nobody learned from last year’s identical mistake.
In week three, the the Aggies dropped 18 spots to No. 24 after losing to Appalachian State, 17-14. They shot up to No. 17 after beating an overrated Arkansas (remember, Arkansas lost six of its last nine games). Mississippi State then got a ranking bump after beating a No. 17 Aggie team that promptly extended its losing streak to six. Maybe next year the pollsters will show restraint.
Better yet, let’s do away from polls until after week six.
This year an SEC team will not win the National Championship.
No disrespect to Georgia, a fine football team, but the Bulldogs look beatable. They are not peaking. Guess who is?
Michigan. TCU. USC.
Pick one. Wanna play that team?
Those three teams look hungry as hell. They look like world-beaters right now.
TCU is having itself a season behind stud Max Duggan and a nasty defense to boot. Michigan, despite all of its injuries, does not care what the odds are. Jim Harbaugh’s Wolverines want to maul everyone they play. Tasting some Buckeye blood is feeding their souls.
USC beat UCLA and Notre Dame, its two rivals. While the Bruins’ contest was too close for comfort, the Fighting Irish folded like lawn chairs when the Trojans finally discovered their defense. Quarterback Caleb Williams even struck the pose.
I recognize the vibe that all three teams are exuding.
It was in January of 2003 at the Orange Bowl. No. 5 USC v No. 3 Iowa. Quarterback Carson Palmer had won the Heisman, beating out Iowa quarterback Brad Banks. The Iowa fans were salty, even saltier after the Hawkeyes took the Trojans’ opening kickoff to the House.
USC, coached by Pete Carroll, discovered its destiny while scoring 28 second-half points and won, 38-17.
You could just feel it. Like a hunger. USC was about to go on a tear through the college football landscape. It was an electric storm brewing.
That same electricity is surrounding Michigan, TCU and USC. Not so much with Georgia.
Perhaps the reason why is the continued slow decline to mediocrity of the SEC. After all, college football is cyclical. Isn’t it the SEC’s turn now?
Alabama v Auburn in the Iron Bowl used to be a College Game Day staple. The Iron Bowl’s importance took a dive this year. There was more interest in the Ole Miss-Mississippi State Egg Bowl, wasn’t there?
Because of the mediocre play of the SEC West, most eyes will be glued to USC v Utah in the Pac-12 Championship and TCU v Kansas State in the Big 12 Championship. Not the SEC Championship. Why?
Two teams—TCU and USC—will finally break the stranglehold the SEC—and to some extent the ACC—has had on national championship implications.
IF they win.
And I think they will. The talking heads and influencers have Georgia v Michigan in the national championship. Of course.
The ACC and the SEC will still field some great teams. But the conferences as a whole will not be as strong as they were once considered. Between the transfer portals and the cyclical nature of college football, the next few years are clear.
USC, TCU, Michigan and Ohio State are getting better. They have caught up to the SEC elite. So have their conferences.
The quiet part has been spoken.