Jones: SEC makes for overrated BCS title game
College football • Oregon, Notre Dame more deserving of hype.
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2012, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

The BCS title game is the mecca for two college football teams, the pinnacle of the season where the two best in the country battle for a national championship.

Not all fans will celebrate the pageantry of the whole thing in January. In fact, this will be another year that bias rules in the southeastern part of the country.

Welcome to college football, where the SEC gets rewarded for doing pretty much nothing and the rest of the nation suffers for not being absolutely perfect. In all likelihood, an SEC school will qualify for the title game for the eighth consecutive season. For the second straight year, the conference will receive a big benefit of the doubt, with more deserving teams being left in the cold.

It's almost criminal that Florida has a shot at making the game, or Georgia, when neither is the second-best team in the country. Oregon is better than both of those teams, by a long shot.

But the Ducks weren't perfect. Neither was Florida or Georgia. But somehow, those two schools have been given a second chance, while a much better Oregon team has almost no hope of getting to the championship game because of a close loss to Stanford. And if Notre Dame were to somehow lose, the Irish would be toast as well. We'd have an all-overrated Southeastern Conference title game.

In two years, the new four-team playoff system will take place. And it won't help. If this season were to happen in two years, three of the four teams would be from the overrated SEC. No, the only two solutions are to make this an eight-team playoff, and to eliminate rankings altogether in the first eight weeks of the season. Make the teams earn their computer praise.

Every year, the pollsters rank the LSUs, and Alabamas and Floridas of the world high enough that they have a margin for error. Every year, the SEC goes out and schedules an embarrassingly soft nonconference schedule. So when the computers come into play, the league is already so highly rated that the winner is almost always guaranteed a spot in the championship game.

This season? That's a shame, because Oregon deserves the shot to prove itself on the big stage. Last season? It was a shame, because Oklahoma State was denied a shot to play LSU because it lost to Iowa State on the road under tragic circumstances.

Yes, the SEC has won the last six national titles. Yes, the SEC is a great conference. But it's not so great a league that it should basically be guaranteed a spot in the national title game every single season. The country is made up of many great teams that certainly are beyond the SEC geographic boundaries.

tjones@sltrib.com

Twitter: @tjonessltrib