The importance of “Conference Pride”

You will have to bear with me here for a few minutes as most of the people reading this post are B1G fans and have no idea of what “Conference Pride” is or what I am talking about. You see there are 14 teams in the S-E-C and if you know anything about those fans it is that in their mind they truly believe all of them won a National Championship Title last night. Not only that but they also feel like all of them have won 7 straight titles and 9 of the 15 total BCS titles.

For an example, Vanderbilt recently won a bowl game over a 7-6 North Carolina St team from the ACC. Their fans had a chant going for most of the 4th quarter: S-E-C… S-E-C… S-E-C. Could be heard I am sure for miles around the stadium as if this Vanderbilt team had just won a conference title. They hadn’t, by the way, as a matter of fact I don’t think Vanderbilt ever has won one (maybe they have heck I don’t even know if they have won 20 conference games in the last 20 years to be honest). The fact that Vanderbilt is a middle of the road CFB team doesn’t matter to its fans or any of the fans of other SEC teams. They saw it as a victory for the entire conference and proof that the SEC is better then the ACC.

Last night a 12-0 Notre Dame went into the BCS title game against a 12-1 Bama team with possibly the biggest fan base that Bama had ever come up against. Notre Dame fans were on their own though, it was their fans against an entire conference fan base. Things didn’t start off well even before the game started. Johnny Manziel, the Heisman winning TAMU QB, was seen on the Bama sideline yacking it up with the team he beat earlier in the year. For OSU fans this would be like if TTUN was in the game and Braxton Miller was there hanging out with Denard and company — NEVER EVER WILL HAPPEN. In the SEC, though, it is completely normal and accepted I am sure Johnny Football went clubbing last night with Bama players and fans and celebrated like he just won a BCS title.

Finally here is where it starts to matter: The Media/voters. They are the ones who are perpetually pushing this conference superiority crap and not calling it out for the BS that it is. Most B1G fans can’t and don’t look past their own teams to see why rooting for their arch enemies is so important (Myself included). I will use one voter as an example of how conference pride is important.

Jon Wilner is a voter and media member from the San Francisco area. He voted Ohio State 10th in his last AP poll last night. Here are a few of his insane thought processes.

Example 1

* Spent no time filling out the top line with Bama and slotted Oregon into the No. 2 spot almost as quickly.
* I never considered ranking Oregon below Stanford because of the head-to-head result.

Basically he just said I know Stanford beat Oregon but so what that proves nothing!!!

Example 2

* Florida lost by 10 to Louisville in the Sugar Bowl but only dropped four spots from my early-December ballot. The Gators won at Texas A&M and at Florida State, and they beat South Carolina and LSU — those wins served to largely offset what happened in the Sugar.

We will get back to that Sugar bowl win by the BIG EAST team soon!!!

Example 3

* I have been asked on numerous occasions if I’m ranking Ohio State far below its place in the AP poll because of the sanctions.

The answer: Nope. I’m ranking Ohio State far below its position in the AP poll because that’s all the Buckeyes deserve.

They shouldn’t be confused with the undefeated champion of the Big 12 or Pac-12.

The B1G was mediocre this season — closer to the Big East than the SEC — and when given a chance to show its stuff in non-conference play, tOSU struggled to beat Cal.

This is where he goes off the charts in his stupidity. He earlier said Florida which he ranked 6th ahead of Louisville at 14th lost to Louisville and was destroyed the whole game by Louisville no matter the final score. Oh by the way Louisville is the Big East Champions. He clearly thinks the SEC is far superior of a conference to the Big East yet in head to head the Big East won easily. Then he says OSU is comparable to the Big East not the Pac 12 or Big 12 and clearly not the SEC……. HUH???????? Stupidity at its finest.

You can see this hacks final ballot and a plethora of other stupid reasonings behind his final poll.

The SEC ended up having a so-so bowl season but if you believe the fans and media no one can compete with any of them no matter what the score boards say. Sure the SEC (see Bama) has been dominant lately and will continue to be so for many reasons for the forseeable future.

What isn’t true is that B1G fans need to hate each other so much so that we can’t and don’t support each other in the non-conf games. You see the squeaky wheel gets the oil. If B1G fans scream it enough the media/voters will start to believe it they are just that gullible. Still don’t believe me?

Check out this link that lists how all the AP voters voted 12-0 Ohio State in their final polls.

In conclusion for some to most voters facts don’t matter and that if B1G fans can come together and force our opinions that the B1G is better then everyone else maybe we can convince the voters to vote us significantly higher in the polls which will get us more teams in the playoffs. Maybe it wont as well but it does seem worth trying and giving it the old S-E-C try.

All together now…. RAH RAH RAH….. B-1-G…B-1-G…B-1-G….. RAH RAH RAH


  1. It will be interesting to see how important this is once the playoff is in place. I don’t think a selection committee is going to want to put multiple teams from the same conference in unless there is a situation like LSU/Bama last year or OSU/Michigan in 2006.

    This year, by BCS rankings we would have had: Notre Dame vs. Oregon and Alabama vs. Florida. But would a committee have wanted to stage a second SEC championship game when there wasn’t really a big debate over whether Alabama was better than Florida?

  2. I can only imagine how hard this was to write for you, SYR. You, rooting for a B1G team? That’s unnatural. It isn’t right.

    What I think we can glean from all this SEC incestual love is that they clearly no longer stand for the type of football that Bear Bryant instilled at A&M and Alabama. Could you imagine the disappointment on his face if he say Johnny Football yucking it up on the Alabama sideline? Disgusting.

    Wayne Woodrow Hayes wouldn’t have stood for it and I don’t think we should stand for it either.

  3. I don’t really have a problem with rooting for a conference opponent when they are playing out of conference. If your conference sucks then your strength of schedule sucks and that could affect the computers. I feel like to run through a gauntlet in conference and representing that conference after winning it is special. But, if Wisky or any other B1G team won the national championship I wouldn’t be congratulating them, I would be pissed and wanting OSU to knock them off the next year.

    Also, I hate hate hate how sports have become when it comes to opposing players befriending one another. Whether it is Johnny Football on Bama’s sideline, LeBron joining DWade in Miami or the NBA in general. I miss the hatred and rivalry in sports that there used to be that is now invisible.

  4. What does example #1 have to do with conference pride? All it points out is how dumb the voter is.

    He didn’t say OSU was comparable to the Big East. He said the Big Ten was comparable…there is a difference.

    The real problem here is the subjective nature of college football.

    I will never on any planet root for Penn State, Michigan, Wisconsin or any other Big Ten team. I fail to see the merit in rooting for success for OSU’s bitter rivals.

    PS. Is it possible that this years OSU team, while undefeated simply wasn’t all that great? One thing we will never know about this team is how they would have faired against another elite team. For that reason, I don’t think it’s insane to have ranked them lower than they finished.

  5. @Jason- I assure you that you are wrong. The selection committee will put more then one SEC team in the 4 team playoff more then they dont. Florida didnt play Bama this year and a lot of SEC and other media/fans thought they may be as good if not better then Bama. The selection committee would IMO very easily put both those schools in the playoff. Furthermore going forward the Selection committee no longer will be banned from putting more than 2 teams from any conference in the BCS bowls or the new playoff.

    The way things are headed very well could see 2 maybe 3 and not out of the question 4 SEC teams in the playoff and before you doubt that could ever happen the same was said about the BCS having 2 from the same conf and that was proven wrong last year.

    Also if the SEC expands even more as expected those SEC schools wont all play each other making their case much easier to force their teams into the playoff.

    At least thats how I see it…..

    • A selection committee is vastly different from the BCS formula. There will be no rules about what gets a team into the top four. They can pick anybody they want. It’s already been established that it will work like the basketball committee with equal representation for all conferences and some kind of deal for independents.

      Most importantly though, members will not be allowed to vote on teams from the conference they represent. So, aside from arguing for it, the SEC (or anyone else) is going to have no real power to try to force two teams in. How will they convince the others that a one-loss Big 12 champ is less deserving than a one-loss team that didn’t even win their division? When two-thirds of the input comes from the media and computer formulas then yeah, that kind of stuff can happen. When it’s a dozen and a half guys in a room where everyone has the same number of votes, I don’t see it.

      I’m not sure I agree about the effect of expansion on this either, but there are a lot of ways that could all shake out, so I guess we’ll see.

      • Well since we dont know what the selection committee will look like let alone who will be on it or how they will determine the 4 teams…. (has to be based on polls at least partially if not mostly) I dont trust them to be as equally representitive as you do.

        As for expansion WHEN the SEC and B1G go to 16 or 20 or 24 (it will happen) they could very well have 3 of the top 4 ranked teams. Do you think they will take a 9th ranked Pac 12 team with 1 loss over a 3rd ranked SEC school with 1 loss?

        I know all of what we are discussing is hypotheticals at this point and thats what makes it fun right now to discuss and argue. Hopefully in 5 years my worst case scenarios wont have happened.

        if they would just go to 4 conf of 24 teams each and each of those conf gets their champion in the playoff that would be ideal but thats not how it is set up right now.

        • First, expansion: When we get to 16 and beyond (I agree it will happen), there will be a rules change that allows more than two divisions. There will be multi-round conference championship playoffs. Winning those will be far more valuable than right now. If there are only four major conferences (which is very likely: the WAC is dead, the BEast is gasping), then the playoff is those four champs, period until it gets expanded to 8 or 12 or 16 or whatever. At that point, someone needs to reanimate me so I can watch it. Deal?

          Here’s Hancock on the committee:

          Yeah, it’s still “not set in stone,” but that’s what it’s going to be. They’ll probably look at polls, but I bet that will be more to separate three one-loss conference champs than to put a non-division winner in over a conference champion. Because unlike sportswriters, coaches’ assistants and computers; the committee will be accountable for their choices. It’s a lot easier to defend putting in a champion over a team that came in third on the field.

          • The only thing I have ever learned from the CBB selection committee is they are never accountable and never right. FWIW

          • Never right about what exactly? How “wrong” can you be in a 68-team tournament?

            As far as being accountable, I’m pretty sure people care way more about college football then basketball. With such a small playoff, perceived bias and slights are going to be magnified and hammered on by the media.

          • Wrong about where they place teams who they leave out and who they let in for at-large bids and seedings. Other then that no one ever complains about the CBB selection committee.

            I sure hope you are correct and somehow you are more pessimistic about an organization and a system that in its 100+ years has never gotten it right.

          • Wrong based on what? Are you telling me that you could select & seed 68 teams so that the higher seed always wins? All champions get in. Has the “best” team ever been left out? Has one of the top 20 ever been left out?

            Seeding is tricky. Anything can happen, especially in a sport like basketball. If you want to nitpick #68 vs. #69, have at it.

  6. @el Kaiser it was extremely difficult to write but also very easy. I found myself very torn this year watching the bowl games wanting the B1G to do well just so they wouldnt be the butt of jokes all the time but also wanting TTUN to be exposed even more then already.

  7. @Chris- I just dont think the players on teams for the most part are as passionate about it as the fans. They also are much better at separating their hatred for another team and its players. Where as we fans mostly see the players and the actual team or school as the same thing.

  8. @Kade- Mostly example 1 was to put a reference into how stupid the guy was but it had nothing to do with conference pride except to add to the theory that this guys warped sense of conference superiority effected how he voted OSU and the B1G.

    He said this about OSU “They shouldn’t be confused with the undefeated champion of the Big 12 or Pac-12.” and “The B1G was mediocre this season — closer to the Big East than the SEC” He clearly thinks it is SEC>B12>Pac12>B1G=Big East. His thinking that clearly enabled him to rank OSU 10th. If he thought the B1G was better he would have ranked OSU higher.

    But still the Big East champ destroyed the SEC no 2 program in a game but he gives that game no credence at all and that SEC superiority complex which we both know doesnt really exist is making morons like him rank B1G teams worse then he should.

    The only thing having the rest of the B1G doing well does is make OSU look better. It improves their SOS which we will need even more going forward. It helps with recruiting. It helps with dealing with other leagues haters. It helps in a number of ways. The only thing it doesnt help with is our own personal hatred towards these schools.

    As for your P.S. I have said all year that not having to prove OSU is the best team in a bowl game this year is a blessing. OSU got to play a weak schedule and win all their games. They get to play the what if card and not have to answer the question. OSU would have not had to play Bama in the NCG though and I am certain they COULD have beaten that Notre Dame team. Any of the other top teams I dont know for sure and Bama heck no.

    I didnt expect anyone to rank OSU 1st. I also dont think anyone in their right mind should vote then 7,8,9,or 10th either though. They are top 5 team easily and no one can prove they arent 2nd in the final polls at least.

  9. This is a new strategy I am trying by the way and I am not sure I can pull it off. I hate some of these teams as much as I hate Hitler or Osama Bin Laden. But it seems to be working to get teams like Ole Miss and Miss St and Vandy ranked and get them more credit then they deserve.

  10. How does it help with recruiting? I’ve never heard a player talk about conference pride when picking a school. If anything, having a school like Michigan strong is a really, really BAD thing for OSU recruiting. The better UM is the more Ohio kids will go to UM rather than staying home.

    The “what if” card COULD help or hurt…and it did hurt when it came to that idiot you used as an example. The truth is OSU didn’t play a touch schedule at all.

    I guess at the end of the day, I don’t put much stock into were teams are ranked as the people that rank the teams cannot watch every team play every game…the system is totally flawed.

  11. I follow recruiting on a daily basis reading and watching everything I can…. I can tell you every day there are 10 interviews at least where a guy says something along the lines of ” The chance to play in the SEC was too much to pass up.” or “I always dreamed of playing in the SEC”. You will hear it occasionally about the B1G but only from a a few guys. It does make a huge difference to these kids how well a conference is doing….

  12. I can give you an example Lewis Neal committed to OSU last spring and then LSU offered him and he said on his twitter it was always a dream to be offered by an SEC school. He decommitted shortly there after and committed to LSU. He was from North Carolina.

    That is one example from this year. That had an influence on an OSU recruit. I am sure I could find dozens of these things on google if you need me too or you could ask a recruiting expert they will shoot it to you straight.

    • I can’t find anything on Neal saying that…and I just read about 12 different articles. I watched both all star games over the weekend and didn’t hear anyone of the recruits say anything about committing because of a conference.

      I’m not saying it’s not a factor…I’m saying it’s not ever a deciding factor. It’s driven mostly by the school…not the conference.

  13. I’ve been rooting for the B1G in non league/bowl games for years. Now don’t get me wrong, when Michigan lost to App State and Toledo, and Penn State lost to Ohio, I didn’t shed any tears and still laughed at them. But I’d really like to see all 12(14, whatever) league teams go 4-0 in nonleague games. If beating an Indiana team that manages to get to 6-6 because they feasted on bad teams nonleague and found a way to pull out 2 league wins makes us look better somehow, then I’ll all for it.

    All of that said, you will NEVER see me rooting for Michigan, Penn State, or Wisconsin in a national championship game. I would rather have the entire conference drug through the mud than see one of those 3 celebrate a national title. Other than that, whatever helps Ohio State’s rep is good by me.

    • I go about it a little differently. I can’t ever cheer for Michigan in any game. It’s just not possible. If they win, I begrudgingly accept the bump up in SOS when we beat them. But it makes me almost as mad when they win as it does when we lose.

      Penn State is right there with Michigan, but the feeling is more of a Notre Dame-style fan irritation than any kind of real hatred.

      I will always cheer for Indiana in any game that is not against us. I don’t have a younger brother, so that’s IU football for me. Most of the time, I just have to laugh and say “Well, at least you tried,” and then take them out for a burger. Rutgers might end up here too.

      Everyone else (now that Bert’s gone) I really don’t care about and will cheer for in non-con and bowl games. If they start acting like they’re the top dog, then I start cheering against them more. Maryland will go here.

      So that’s 12 of 14 that I will cheer for. That’s the best it will ever be (until we expand again).

  14. @Buckeye22- The good news is you will NEVER have to root for any of those 3 teams in a NCG ever lol.

  15. An example last night… Stevan Ridley RB for the Patriots went to LSU… Tweeted “AFC, NFC, SEC= Best 3 conferences in the country” He was a rival to Bama, hated them on the field in college but now these NFL players feel like the SEC is a brotherhood. Brandon Spikes (Florida) tweeted something similar too. Even Manziel tweeted “Roll Tide” last night. WTF??!!!

    It is weird and it would never happen but imagine if Santonio Holmes or some other NFL Buckeye bragged about Michigan/ Wisky being in the NCG because they shared the same conference. Just really baffles me.

  16. Hahaha an unnamed source good job ESPN err Kade

  17. I should make you provide a link hahahaha

  18. I know who he is… I am going to give up this fight. Not worth taking the time proving our points. But know every time a recruit says the SEC was a factor I will forward the tweet/article for the rest of your life.

  19. From Bill Greene:

    Somewhat it is, certainly not the end of the world. Remember comfort and relationships, the two most important factors over anything else. Conference affilation is a drop in the bucket.

  20. I’m not trying to revive this dead horse, but I did just read an interesting little tidbit in the most recent issue of ESPN The Magazine, regarding Texas A&M’s successful recruiting this season:

    “Bottom line: A&M would be looked at differently by top recruits if they weren’t in the SEC”

    That’s according to Tom Luginbill, ESPN’s national recruiting analyst.

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