In a shocking development, the SEC will have a team in the national college football championship. Wait. Correction: only make two teams, Alabama and Georgia.
They will have a rematch of the SEC title game next Monday night in Indianapolis. Bama won the first match, 41-17. It was an upheaval and a convincing defeat for Alabama. But due to Georgia’s ruthless 34-11 crush against Michigan, the Bulldogs have restored their superpower status for the 2021 season and as of now, the Crimson Tide are listed as a 3-point underdog. Alabama’s 27-6 victory over Cincinnati was expected and methodical and not as glowing as Georgia’s comeback performance that made Michigan sad.
1) BFC’s regular season is its best, a circus of thrills and dizziness and ridiculous events that jostle our minds. But the college football playoffs? Snoring. And the national semi-finals almost always fail to generate enthusiasm. In eight four-team playoff seasons, 12 of the 16 semi-final games have been decided by more than 17 points.
I thought Alabama would push Cincinnati aside, and that’s precisely what happened with ‘Bama propelling more than 300 yards to the ground – 204 by tall fullback Brian Robinson Jr. But in a glaring example of wishful thinking, I figured Michigan would give Georgia a rumble – and give us a game with punches and counter punches that would carry the drama into the final rounds. No. To extinguish. And my decision to take Michigan and the 7.5 points was stupid.
Memo to me: invest with your head, not your heart. Elite SEC teams just have better speed, strength, and athleticism. Just take recruiting courses. The outcome of both games was determined by the offensive and defensive lines, and Cincinnati and Michigan couldn’t compete.
2) So it will again be SEC against SEC. The predictable “I won’t watch” whining for diaper babies is at full swing, and I don’t blame anyone. But, what do you want? The top two teams in the four-team bracket won. Both teams were favorites to win. I’d love to see a new challengers or two qualify for a National Championship game – but unless a few key players and match officials are part of a plot to fix the semi-final matches, then what’s the solution? ? Pick the four teams based on sympathy and turn that into a kids’ sports exercise with moms and dads that makes lesser teams (and their fans) feel better about themselves?
But yeah, okay, we have a problem. This four-team playoff structure featured a series of non-competitive routs – and detracted from the value and appeal of New Years Six games. It’s a poor result. I’m as disappointed as many of you are – but it’s about the way it turned out, not because I hate the SEC and a sore loser. And there is a huge difference.
3) The CFP will be expanded, hopefully soon. And a 12-team format would be best. Just to give more teams a chance, and to attract and generate interest in all parts of the country with the five power conferences (and more Group of Five representatives) being included. Having more teams would increase the possibility of upset, but the real benefit is turning that into a national event instead of an SEC Invitational. Will a 12 team system mean fewer SEC teams in the bottom four? Finally, I think it is possible.
But for now, no. In a larger playoff, at least, we would see a greater level of involvement. And if the first playoff games are at home, on campus, even better. Much better. It’s a step forward – and it’s a victory over boredom. And with more teams, there is a higher chance of having unexpected results. And by having a bigger field, the Six New Year’s Bowls would restore relevance by hosting playoff rounds instead of exhibitions also held with players absent to protect their NFL draft status.
4) It is certain: something has to change, and the sooner the better. But too SEC complaints cannot be resolved. As other authors have pointed out, it’s about regional power – with the talent on the ground. The Southeast region has more programs that mean EVERYTHING in their home states. Fan support is passionate and feverish. The recruiting pools are deep and eternal. It’s an advantage. Schools in the South East have huge football budgets and more comprehensive resources and the best overall collection of head and assistant coaches.
As The Athletic noted, teams outside of the SEC and ACC (read: Clemson) went 3-12 in the CFP semifinals, and two of the three wins came in the first season. (2014) of the current configuration. And with Alabama and Georgia playing for the trophy next Monday, it’s guaranteed: for the 15th time in 16 seasons, the national champion will come from the SEC or the ACC. And an SEC team will win the national championship for the 12th time in the past 16 years – and for the fifth time in the history of eight seasons of the CFP. Alabama has won it three times, and LSU has won it once, during the 2019 season.
5) Don’t stack, but… here are the conference records in the eight-year record of the four-team playoffs:
Big Ten, 3-5
Large 12, 0-4
Pac 12, 1-2
* Independent (Notre Dame), 0-1.
American (Cincinnati), 0-1.
(* Notre Dame’s second CFP appearance came as a CCA member in the 2020 season. The Fighting Irish are 0-2 in the playoffs.)
6) Or to put it another way, SEC teams are 13-4 in the CFP; the other conferences (and Notre Dame as an independent) are 10-19.
seven) And if you want to get the BCS a part in that: In 16 seasons of BCS national championship games, the SEC has gone 9-2. (Alabama 3-0, Florida 2-0, Tennessee 1-0, LSU 2-1, and Auburn 1-1.) While the SEC went 9-2 in the BCS title game, programs outside the SEC ranged 7-14.
8) So if we combine the BCS (16 years old) and the current CFP (eight years old) and include this season’s champion, which will be an SEC team, here is the scoreboard: 24 championships, 14 won by the SEC. The ACC is second with four national championships – two by Clemson, two by Florida State. The Big 10 have two (both from Ohio State) but have won only one national championship in the past 19 seasons, including this one. It was the state of Ohio in the first CFP (2014 season). Honest question: why would anyone who loves or is affiliated with the Big Ten resent the success of the SEC. The B1G can surely do better than having a team competing in a domestic title game over the past 19 seasons.
9) Combining the BCS and CFP, the SEC teams are 22-6, and the non-SEC teams are 17-33.
Clemson did very well. But the CFP and BCS experiences were pretty brutal, and empty, for other conferences.
As Saturday Down South wrote:
– The Big Ten haven’t had a team other than Ohio State competing in a national title game in the 21st century.
– The Pac-12 have spent the last five seasons without a team in the playoffs and 17 consecutive seasons without a national champion.
– The Big 12 are winless in the playoff semifinals (0-4) with only one team, Oklahoma, making it that far. And the Big 12 haven’t won a domestic championship in the past 16 seasons.
– Clemson are the only current ACC team to win a playoff game and a national championship (two) in the eight seasons of CFP showdowns.
ten) Don’t waste your time blowing up the SEC or concocting absurd and crazy theories about overestimating the SEC. (Mizzou lost that bowl game to the Army without top player Tyler Badie, so that proves the overrated SEC is really SUCK, and we all know the media is in for the trick. Yeah. Okay. That has to. be that.)
Frankly, these anti-SEC fetishes make you look bitter and peek-a-boo. The focus should only be on finding ways to make the national college football playoffs a true national event, and at least give more teams a chance to win a game or two in the playoffs and ruin the game. season of an SEC team. And that’s just to start.
Thanks for reading …
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