A load of malarkey: ESPN and SEC aside, unbeaten teams deserve first shot at title

Ron Morris: 'The BCS system is democracy at work'

Florida State's Lamarcus Joyner interferes with Clemson's Adam Humphries during the first quarter at Memorial Stadium in Clemson, S.C.

Photo by Ken Ruinard

Florida State's Lamarcus Joyner interferes with Clemson's Adam Humphries during the first quarter at Memorial Stadium in Clemson, S.C.

The ESPN/SEC Machine cranked up minutes after Auburn’s Chris Davis crossed the goal line this past Saturday to send the Tigers to an improbable win against Alabama.

The TV talking heads and an Auburn administrator began the rallying cry for a one-loss SEC team to play in the BCS Championship game. A one-loss team from the mighty SEC is far superior to an unbeaten team from any other conference, they claimed. It is, by gosh, the birthright of the league to send a team to the title game, they all but claimed.

What a load of malarkey.

If Florida State and Ohio State emerge from their respective conference championship games this weekend undefeated — and that is a big “if” on the Buckeyes’ part with a game against a Michigan State team ranked No. 10 by the BCS — then those teams earned the right to play for the national championship.

Any coach at one of the 126 FBS programs will tell you that completing an undefeated regular season — and winning the conference title game — is one of the most difficult accomplishments in all of sports, in any conference.

Over the previous 10 seasons, 13 teams from BCS conferences have gone unbeaten through a regular season and conference championship game. In 2003 and 2007, no team accomplished the feat. Among the non-BCS conference programs, it has happened five times in the previous 10 seasons.

It is remarkable that Florida State and Ohio State remain unbeaten, regardless of the fact they each competed in what are considered weaker conferences.

Yet when Florida State and Ohio State were atop the BCS rankings released Sunday, an outcry for a recount ensued. The ESPN folks, whose chummy relationship with the SEC should never be discounted, began pushing for the SEC champion to move ahead of Ohio State in the BCS rankings following this weekend’s conference championship games.

At the same time, Auburn athletics director Jay Jacobs got on his soapbox. Jacobs can be granted a pass for doing his job by promoting his program, but he went a bit far in his comments, first to USA Today and later to ESPN Radio.

Jacobs told the newspaper it “would be a disservice to the nation,” if Auburn won the SEC championship and did not play for the national title. Then he told the radio network: “It would be, quite frankly, un-American for us not to get a chance to go to Pasadena if we’re able to beat Missouri, and I believe the same about Missouri.”

In fact, the BCS system is democracy at work, and it would be “un-American” and a “disservice to the nation” if somehow the ESPN/SEC Machine manipulated the system to get a one-loss SEC team in the title game over an unbeaten team.

Jacobs’ premise with his comments is that SEC football is far superior to every other conference. He did not say it, but the inference was that the SEC has proved to be the nation’s best football conference for a long time and its teams should be rewarded for that.

Frankly, any reference to history in attempting to defend a side in this issue is the weakest of all arguments. While it is quite remarkable and nice that the SEC has won the past seven BCS national championships, that fact has absolutely no bearing on this season.

Besides, the SEC’s history already factors into the BCS rankings and discussions because every season starts with a baseline. That baseline renders the SEC as the strongest conference with the strongest teams from the get-go when it comes to polls and computer rankings.

If you want to inject history into the discussion, then Ohio State should be granted a counter argument that it has been the best team in the country the past two seasons. The Buckeyes were unbeaten in 2012 but ineligible for the postseason because of NCAA sanctions. They are riding a 24-game win streak. But, really, everyone knows what Ohio State did a season ago is irrelevant to the BCS discussion this year.

Further, based on this season alone, anyone who watched SEC football would concede that the league was not as strong as in years past. The conference had five good-to-outstanding teams, four sub-par squads and five others that were mediocre.

Auburn and Missouri did not exactly fight through taxing schedules during the regular season. Until Auburn defeated Alabama, both Auburn’s and Missouri’s best wins were against injury-riddled Georgia and a Texas A&M squad virtually void of defense.

Enough of the grandstanding for the SEC. Let the conference championship games play out as the semifinal round of the final BCS tournament. Should Florida State win the ACC championship and Ohio State capture the Big Ten title, then those teams deserve to play for the national crown.

If one of those two teams should lose, which is entirely possible, then the SEC champion likely will slide into the title game and the ESPN/SEC Machine will have proved to be just what it was all along ... a load of malarkey.

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Comments » 9

brookesdad729 writes:

I agree 100%! Ohio State and FSU should be in the national title game if they win their respective conference championships no questions asked. Now if they don't that's a different deal but as it stands now they should definitely be there. I don't care what ESPN or the SEC or anyone else thinks. You had your chance, you blew it, so be it! I don't care what conference you're in, if you go 13-0 winning your conference championship, that's a major feat and not many can say that. OSU has so far done it 2 years running! I do believe that Michigan State will be a real test for them however and could make things interesting if they win. Barring a Miracle on 34th street, I believe FSU will demolish Duke in the ACC title game.

seldomusedreserve#284867 writes:

It makes perfect sense. You went 3-9 in 2012, but a team from your conference that beat you 49-0 won the national championship so you deserve "credit" for their accomplishment this year.

Absurd.

tigerrob44 writes:

in response to brookesdad729:

I agree 100%! Ohio State and FSU should be in the national title game if they win their respective conference championships no questions asked. Now if they don't that's a different deal but as it stands now they should definitely be there. I don't care what ESPN or the SEC or anyone else thinks. You had your chance, you blew it, so be it! I don't care what conference you're in, if you go 13-0 winning your conference championship, that's a major feat and not many can say that. OSU has so far done it 2 years running! I do believe that Michigan State will be a real test for them however and could make things interesting if they win. Barring a Miracle on 34th street, I believe FSU will demolish Duke in the ACC title game.

ESPN would like nothing better than to televise the SEC all day on Saturday and nobody else. If it were up to them nobody but two SEC teams would ever play for the national championship. They are biased towards the SEC to the point of being obnoxious and ridiculous. When ESPN first started about 30 years ago or whenever it was they mistakenly referred to LSU’s Tiger Stadium as Death Valley one Saturday in a college football score program they were doing. They heard the Tigers and Death Valley and instead of getting it right they thought it was LSU instead of Clemson. That’s how all that got started. Clemson fans should file a class action law suit against ESPN and make a Federal Judge stop them from calling Tiger Stadium in Baton Rouge Death Valley. There is not a hill in the entire state of Louisiana so how can you have a valley? I think Baton Rough has an elevation of 50’ above sea level. Can’t have much of a valley there.

columbiabill writes:

Nice column Ron and spot on. ESPN is investing a lot of money in the SEC, more than any other conference. In order for that to pay off for ESPN, the SEC needs to have a bigger image thus higher TV ratings which means more advertising revenue. With a 4 team playoff, it is very likely 2 SEC teams will be there and then 2 from other conferences. ESPN also needs the other conferences to have some visibility to make those investments pay off too.

KIMOSAMI writes:

Morris is absolutely right.

This is the guy that Steve Spurrier alledgedly tried to get fired from The State. Word is he also tried....somewhat successfully...to get Morris banned from reporting on Carolina. Spurrier bullied him in front of a room full of pussilanimous reporters in Columbia, who stood silently while the ole ball sack bullied Morris. You Tube it.

Morris is a good reporter and he smacked the nail dead center in this column.

FlopEye writes:

Ron Morris got punished by The State Paper
because he twisted the truth about an injury
situation and tried to make Spurrier look
like he had no empathy for his players.
Morris took his cue play from Dabo's play
book. The one where, after a butt whipping,
He had his childish rant about Carolina
being in Chapel Hill, etc. HE KNEW THAT
TODD ELLIS SAID WHAT DABO ACCUSED SPURRIER
OF SAYING. He just had to get the Tiger
nation's attention away from his poor
coaching performance. And it worked !
Ron Morris, for over a decade, used half-
truths, innuendo and character assassination
to attack the S. Car coaching staff including
Ray Tanner. Being of low character, using
deceit and being totally unprofessional was
what got MoRon punished. And obviously, these
pathetic traits have made him a hero to the
Tiger nation. Perfectly understandable.

Bigboots writes:

I'd tend to agree about the probable OSU/FSU matchup.
If an unbeaten from a "lesser" conference were to barge into the title game, I doubt there would be as many who would defend Morris' contention. Depends on who's the better option, not solely based on record of wins and losses, although that is certainly the primary criterion.

FlopEye writes:

in response to KIMOSAMI:

Morris is absolutely right.

This is the guy that Steve Spurrier alledgedly tried to get fired from The State. Word is he also tried....somewhat successfully...to get Morris banned from reporting on Carolina. Spurrier bullied him in front of a room full of pussilanimous reporters in Columbia, who stood silently while the ole ball sack bullied Morris. You Tube it.

Morris is a good reporter and he smacked the nail dead center in this column.

I've waited most of the day for you to respond to
my rejection of your analysis of MoRon's column.
Yes, I disrespectfully refer to him as MoRon. He
earned it after years of half truths and vicious
attacks on the athletic department at S. Car.
Clemson has never had to suffer the abuse from
your local papers that the USC fans have had to
suffer from The State paper.From Jake Penland
to Herman Helms to MoRon, there has been a concerted effort by this pathetic rag to demean
USC, and we finally found a coach that had the
balls to confront these clowns.
Be thankful that you have papers in your area
that don't have a negative agenda. Yes, they
criticize where necessary, but they do not
go out of their way to try to try and literally
destroy the reputations of your coaches.
The folks at the State paper can not, in any
way, deny that this destruction has been their
goal for 50 years, and, in my opinion, still
exists.
Kimosami, if you like MoRon so much,get him a
job at either the Greenville paper or the
Anderson paper. But, be careful of what you
wish for.

KIMOSAMI writes:

in response to FlopEye:

I've waited most of the day for you to respond to
my rejection of your analysis of MoRon's column.
Yes, I disrespectfully refer to him as MoRon. He
earned it after years of half truths and vicious
attacks on the athletic department at S. Car.
Clemson has never had to suffer the abuse from
your local papers that the USC fans have had to
suffer from The State paper.From Jake Penland
to Herman Helms to MoRon, there has been a concerted effort by this pathetic rag to demean
USC, and we finally found a coach that had the
balls to confront these clowns.
Be thankful that you have papers in your area
that don't have a negative agenda. Yes, they
criticize where necessary, but they do not
go out of their way to try to try and literally
destroy the reputations of your coaches.
The folks at the State paper can not, in any
way, deny that this destruction has been their
goal for 50 years, and, in my opinion, still
exists.
Kimosami, if you like MoRon so much,get him a
job at either the Greenville paper or the
Anderson paper. But, be careful of what you
wish for.

Why, Flopeye.....you were waiting for lil' ole me to respond to you??? Okay, here's my response:

Morris is absolutely right.

This is the guy that Steve Spurrier alledgedly tried to get fired from The State. Word is he also tried....somewhat successfully...to get Morris banned from reporting on Carolina. Spurrier bullied him in front of a room full of pussilanimous reporters in Columbia, who stood silently while the ole ball sack bullied Morris. You Tube it.

Morris is a good reporter and he smacked the nail dead center in this column.

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