Playoff committee shows SEC bias in first ranking

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Another year of college football has given us more of the same. The SEC remains the most dominant conference in the nation, and no one can seem to make a strong enough argument against it.

To this point in the season, three out of the top four teams are SEC schools. To be more specific, all three are in the SAME DIVISION in the SEC, just to put into perspective how competitive the conference is. At one point this season, six of the seven SEC West teams were in the top 25.

Growing up watching college football, I have become accustomed to this Southeastern Conference dominance.  While the SEC began its unprecedented dominance, my interest as a college football fan began to peak, right around the time Vince Young and the Texas Longhorns defeated the USC Trojans in the national championship.

From 2006 to 2012, the SEC won the national championship of college football every year – seven straight. It is a staggering mark.  If you look closer, you’ll also notice that five of the seven came from the SEC West.

2006 – Florida

2007 – LSU

2008 – Florida

2009 – Alabama

2010 – Auburn

2011 – Alabama

2012 – Alabama

Every Saturday morning you can find marquee matchups on CBS (its contract is with the SEC).  Georgia and Florida or Alabama and LSU.  These are the games that have consistently drawn the most attention.

Even College Gameday spends a fair amount of time in the southern United States this time of year, having already visited both Starkville and Oxford, Mississippi for big SEC games.

It seems a bias has started to develop with the culture of college football.  The SEC is thought to be the highest standard of play in the sport. 

Many cite the conference as being the most competitive, when others challenge by pointing out the number of top 25 teams, which is typically very high.  The common thinking is somewhere along the lines of “they’re all so good they’ll just beat each other up.”

In 2013, the streak was finally snapped.  The Seminoles, led by the fantastic play of quarterback Jameis Winston, toppled yet another SEC contender, the Auburn Tigers. Could there be a changing of the guard in the future?  According to this year’s preseason standings, the answer is no.

This season began with eight SEC schools making the AP top 25.  Those whose beliefs are that the SEC remains the most dominant conference were only reaffirmed.

The major change we have seen over the course of this season is very clear – the college football playoff picture.  No longer is college football at the mercy of computer rankings, it is in the hands of real people, making important judgments based on metrics like strength of schedule, and the like.

This in fact could create a problem of its own.  I don’t believe the 12 members of the selection committee can truthfully claim they are unbiased toward the SEC.  How could they, when the rankings and statistics they base their analysis off of come from sports reporters who are biased themselves?

Last weekend the CFP issued its first rankings, with three SEC schools making up the top four teams in the nation:

1 – Mississippi State

2 – Florida State

3 – Auburn

4 – Ole Miss

Out of all the teams in the country, three of the top four were from the SEC.

I have to give credit where it is due.  As I mentioned at the beginning of the year, the MSU Bulldogs were my candidate for the most improved team in the country, and so far they have played up to that expectation, and then some.

The Auburn Tigers have surprisingly kept up their winning ways, along with the Crimson Tide.  Ole Miss has now fallen due to its recent loss to Auburn last weekend, but has played well enough this year to be in the mix for the SEC West title.

I speak from a young college football fan’s perspective when I say that I am tired of all the SEC pageantry and bias.   

It would be nice to see a team like Oregon or TCU, who boast the high-flying offenses that make college football so entertaining, to make the playoffs.  As opposed to dull, defensive-minded SEC schools. 

College football’s judgment is now passed down from twelve members in a conference room.  My hope is that this season, with computers and the BCS out of the picture, the people chosen can make the correct calls as to who is worthy to compete for the college football crown.  Hopefully they’ll remember to check their SEC bias at the door.

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