I admit – the idea is seductive. It would be fantastic to see Urban Meyer team hoist the first CFP championship trophy, then say a few poignant words before handing it over to the redshirt freshman QB that got him there. Imagine the scarlet and gray confetti still floating about the stadium, the cameras, Carmen Ohio playing softly in the background. It would be the most rewarding end for a fan base that has been forced into spending the past few years on the defensive.
But as heretical as it may seem, if you are a College Football fan, and not just an OSU fan, you should want OSU to miss the playoffs this year. Actually, the same goes if you are a fan of any other Big10 or Big 12 team. Actually actually, the same goes if you are a fan of anything but the SEC.
That there is a disgusting amount of SEC bias present in the media, there is no doubt. While it’s fashionable to be on the anti-SEC bandwagon nowadays, savvy CFB fans have been documenting SEC bias going all the way back to 2004, when Auburn was shut out of their shot at the title, and the powers-that-be initiated the most comprehensive marketing campaign in sports history. One that led to the Frankenstein-monster we have today, where ESPN is at the mercy of its own irrationality, terrorizing the peaceful world of CFB fans for the sake of its own impulsive short-term satisfaction.
CFB fans should unite into a new goal: hope for an outcome to the 2014 season that destroys and squashes the blatant and deliberate attempts to influence CFB for one network’s monetary gain. Even Shane Falco knew to “shoot the hostage,” before dodging bullets on a surfboard in his time-travel phone booth (or something like that).
To “shoot the hostage,” the media must be forced to acknowledge the hard truth about the SEC: that it’s a conference with one or two elite teams, a handful of good ones, and a bunch of weak ones. (In other words, no different than any other Power 5 conference.)
Therefore, the best scenario going forward is for the SEC to send two representatives to the College Football Playoffs (CFP). Why? Consider the delicious chaos:
- Including two SEC teams would, more than any other action, force a massive nationwide discussion on the role the media’s interests play in amateur sports. Simply, the media empire most responsible would be forced ever more so on the defensive, which is good, because its position can’t be rationally defended. The two selected would likely be SEC West teams, and the Mays and Fowlers of the world would have to defend the idiotic notion that a team that didn’t even win its own division should be allowed to play for national title, in lieu of the superior teams that won their divisions and conferences, “because reasons.”
- Both SEC representatives would likely lose. One for sure. Shoot, depending on seeding, one may even eliminate the other. Based on a fair assessment of the teams (as of early November), it’s not likely that any of the potential SEC representatives could best an Oregon, or TCU, or Florida State this year. Result: SEC would fare poorly in the CFP.
- Sending two teams to the CFP would result in the more average SEC teams sliding up into the former bowl slots, where they would be overmatched by a lot of elite teams. Teams like OSU, TCU, Michigan State, Nebraska, Arizona State or Oregon, etc., would likely feast on the remaining members of the SEC who didn’t get selected. Shoot… even Michigan might win a December 20th bowl against an SEC bottom-feeder in Hoke’s last game. Result: SEC would fare more poorly in bowl games than they usually do.
To sum up: imagine a scenario where OSU finishes an excellent season with a high-profile bowl trophy, perhaps against an overmatched SEC opponent in the Citrus Bowl. One where the SEC does poorly in both the CFP and in the rest of the bowls. One where the B1G and perhaps the Pac 12 does well. One that starts with ESPN having to defend their conference’s superiority, and ends with egg all over Chris Fowler’s face.
This would not only validate the critics’ points of view, but humiliate and embarrass those caught with ulterior motives. It would also raise the possibility that next year’s rankings might start out a little more realistic than in years past… and in FY15, that improved objectivity would further benefit teams like Ohio State that are positioning themselves for a real championship run.