First Playoff Rankings And The SEC Bias

Maybe you live under a rock. I don’t know, I’ve heard of weirder things. Then again if you did, you probably wouldn’t have access to a computer and the Internet to read this. So I’m assuming by virtue of your being on this website that you aren’t living under a rock and know about the first rankings just released by the playoff committee. And no doubt you are screaming “SEC bias!” Well, you may be on to something.

The SEC West has 4 of the top 6 teams in the rankings. Only Florida State and Oregon prevented and SEC takeover. Mississippi State seems justified being undefeated and all. And Auburn having only lost on the road to them and also having given Kansas State their only loss, on the road no less, seems deserving of a high rankings. Ole Miss? Alabama? This is great. Ole Miss is up there because they have a high quality win…which is Alabama. And Alabama is on there because they have only lost once and it was to a very good team…which is Ole Miss. An Ole Miss team we know is good only because they beat Alabama. Wait a second…

Alabama struggled all game with West Virginia on a neutral field. They then trounced a Texas A&M team who has lost to all three teams with winning records they have played. Alabama luckily won by a point on the road at Arkansas. Then they smashed the likes of Southern Miss, Florida and Florida Atlantic. Scratch that, struggled for 3 quarters with Florida, then beat them. Alabama has 7 wins and only TWO come against teams with a winning record. One of them, Texas A&M, has 5 wins…all against teams that don’t have a winning record.

And mighty Ole Miss is in the same boat. They beat Boise State, a team with a winning record, then beat up Vanderbilt, Louisiana-Lafayette and Memphis. They have a win against Texas A&M as well, but then again, lots of SEC teams will be able to say that by season’s end. So their only quality win is against Alabama…a team whose only quality win is against West Virginia. See where this is headed?

Look, the SEC bias is obvious. Just take a look at this Rolling Stone article for more proof. Now I will say this. The SEC is probably the strongest conference in college football. There’s no denying that really. But the hype is nauseating. So why is it always being shoved down our throats, even if Chris Fowler doesn’t see it?

RATINGS!

That’s it. Plain and simple. Who cared about college football before the BCS? Anyone? Nope. Wasn’t on any radars. Notre Dame and the Big Ten dominated everything and everyone. Outside of the midwest, Texas and the south, no one cared. And why should they? Polls determined champions, not championship games.

Then along came the BCS to change that. Suddenly college football was compelling. Why? Because now every game mattered for something. Teams were all playing for something bigger than a conference championship. But the BCS did more than that. The BCS created the most ratings-grabbing gimmick yet- controversy.

That’s right. Everyone loves a good controversy. Debate is more American than the All-American team. We thrive on it. We seek it. And no one will admit it, but it’s true. And with the BCS came a host of controversies, nearly every year it seemed. Now people were paying attention. People were involved; they were engaged. And best yet, more and more folks started attending and watching college football games. That turned in to big money. Like, billions big.

Want to know the real reason behind the SEC cheerleading and over coverage at ESPN, the only network people get college information from? Simple, they want controversy. They want it bad. Because that’s what gets you, me and everyone else to watch. It gets us commenting on their articles. It gets us talking about it at the water cooler. It creates an “us vs them” mentality and competition. It’s what sports is all about.

ESPN loves that we are all talking about their SEC bias. It keeps us all watching so we can find the next obvious SEC bias and talk about it some more. It’s a strange thing, really. But it’s also brilliant. Completely brilliant marketing. It got millions of people watching last night as the first rankings were revealed, in spite of the fact that they mean literally nothing. More eyeballs means their advertisers pay more dollars for those commercials. Not to mention more interest in the SEC creates more viewers of the SEC Network…coincidentally owned by ESPN.

Make not mistake about it, the SEC bias is very real at ESPN. They don’t want to admit it of course, because people creating their own conspiracy theories only adds to the drama and controversy. But mark my words- ESPN is a corporation, in it for the money, and more viewers equals more money. Plain and simple. You get more viewers by being outrageous, opinionated and biased than you do by being balanced and fair. That’s the world we live in.

And you know what? I wouldn’t have it any other way.

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