Happy New Year from Wayniac Nation! It’s hard to believe that just one year ago yesterday, the Nation was born. It all started with my stark raving mad rant about MLB’s Hall of Fame, their voting process (or lack thereof) and Greg Maddux (you can relive the memory right —-> HERE). This year, 2015 started off with a bang in college football.
Last night in a stunning upset, Ohio State (O-H!) pulled off the unthinkable and beat Alabama. The second that Blake Sims terribly thrown Hail Mary landed in Ohio State’s hands, cries across the nation rejoiced that the SEC was dead. For the first time in 8 seasons, an SEC team will not be in the National Championship and apparently means this is the end of the SEC.
There is no doubt that the SEC, the cream of the crop of college football, has benefitted by a questionable BCS system. The point system favored strength of schedule, which SEC teams usually had the benefit of playing each other all of the time. The BCS point system also used point differential and points scored as a ranking device, which clearly helped SEC teams. Smaller teams across the nation would travel to Alabama or Georgia for some extra revenue and television exposure, even if it was to a 72-0 trouncing. Now, an actual playoff system is in place (kinda) and the SEC is not represented. Anti-SEC fans are rejoicing everywhere.
I personally never understood the conference mentality, but perhaps that is because I am from the Northeast where college football isn’t very big. As many of you know, I am a huge Syracuse basketball fan. When Cuse would get knocked out of the tourney, there is no way on earth I could ever root for a UConn or Georgetown to win back in the Big East days, and there is no way I will ever root for Duke to win now. But in the South, college football is religion. If your school can’t win, then it is perfectly acceptable for one of your rivals to bring home the championship, because that is the way that the football god intended it to be. Thus, when the winningest conference in football goes against an underdog, the rest of the non-SEC country rallies behind the David. When Goliath falls, the nation rejoices and suddenly feels their conference may be superior.
One game does not make a season. To automatically assume that the ACC was the superior conference this season because of what Florida State did last year to Auburn is outlandish. To think the Big 10ish (seriously, they have 14 teams people, enough is enough) is superior to the SEC based on one game is equally absurd. When LeBron James and the Miami Heat beat Tim Duncan and the Spurs, did anyone for one second think that the Eastern Conference was better than the Western Conference? Come on, it’s silly.
And let’s face reality. What many media outlets are calling a beatdown was a lot closer than it appeared. Yes, Ohio State’s third string quarterback was at the helms, but there was a lot of questionable calls by the Alabama offense. 3rd and 6, down by 6 points and the call is a QB keeper for negative yards that leads to a punt with about 8 minutes left when you have two good running backs and the greatest wide receiver in the world? And on the last drive, why was Amari Cooper not the focal point?
Anyway, I digress. Right now, how do you determine the best conference in the land? Is the Pac-12 the best conference because they currently sit at 5-1 in the Bowls and have their Oregon Mighty Ducks the heavy favorite to take home the National Championship? Or is the SEC still the best of the best, even though that despite being 5-5 with two more teams left to play, they sent the most teams to the Bowls?
2014/15 Conference Bowl Standings (as of 1/1/15):
ACC: 4-6, one game remaining
Big 10: 5-4, one game remaining
Big 12: 1-4, two games remaining
Pac 12: 5-1, two games remaining
SEC: 5-5, two games remaining
It looks like that if you are talking about a powerhouse of a conference that the SEC is still very much in charge. Is it weird that there is finally a playoff system in place and the one SEC team represented in the format was “trounced”, as some are saying? Sure, and I have already said that I think the SEC benefitted from the BCS system. But the question isn’t how the Buckeyes matched up against Alabama. The question is how would Iowa State matchup against the SEC for a full season and how well could, let’s say a Vanderbilt, match up against the Big 10ish? We will never know on any level of consistency, so to claim your conference as kings of the crop is barking at the moon. The top three teams in any conference can step in and whoop any other conference. But when you are talking about superiority, you are talking about greatness from top to bottom. What would Rutgers do in the SEC? They would probably be given a run for their money by Bowl-less Kentucky.
So, has the mighty SEC fallen? No, and just because their high seeds have struggled THIS postseason, it doesn’t mean they are any less great than they were. The rest of the nation is catching up, and college football is simply more competitive. Look at Boise State for crying out loud. They led the charge a decade a go and now schools that were irrelevant for years are booming. Quick, before RGIII won the Heisman in 2011, tell me the last good Baylor football team or player?
The bottom line is this: no ACC fan will ever support the argument that the SEC is greater, especially here in Atlanta where no Georgia Tech fan will ever say it, despite losing 12 of the last 14 to the Bulldawgs. No Big 10 fan will ever succumb to the Big 12 as a better conference, despite they fact that the Big 10 has 14 teams and the Big 12 has 10. Yea, folks, wrap your head around that!
When push comes to shove, everyone knows that the conference with the best mascots shall rule the day. That being said, there is nothing better than a Horned Toad, so at the end of the day, despite their abysmal 1-4 conference record, the Big 12 is far supreme. Just ask Yosemite Sam!
Happy New Year, folks!