Duck And Run Oregon, The SEC Is The Only One Who Can Afford To Be Hit

That’s it.  As slowly as it comes, it quickly goes away.  For all intensive purposes the 2012 college football regular season is behind us.  Sure, Oregon State has a glorified scrimmage against an also-ran Nicholls State team Saturday and the various BCS conferences are playing their league championship games as well, but the National Title Game has been decided and we’re merely waiting for the SEC to tell us who’ll be playing Notre Dame in the game. 

Much has been made of either Alabama or Georgia representing as #2 and others have gone as far as to lobby for Florida to do the same, but there are a handful of 1-loss teams on the outside looking in who’d be happy to state their case for a shot at the Fighting Irish.  Problem is…they’re not in the SEC.

Since the inception of the BCS there have been 14 championship games, 8 of which have been won by the SEC, 6 of which happen to have been over the last 6 years.  They’ve earned a level of respect due to such and have solidified the genuine belief that they are the premiere conference in the college game.  I’m willing to concede that to a point, but any inference that said conference is formidable from top-to-bottom, doesn’t offer an easy-out, or is a gauntlet for each and every team on a year-to-year basis is false, likely self-promotion, and unfortunately what we’ve been led to believe by those beating the drum for a conference taking arrogance to an entirely new level.

This is where “SEC Honk” leans heavily on the 6 straight titles and an “unrivaled” regular season schedule.  They’ll tell you how good Vanderbilt is, how Ole Miss and Mississippi State would win the Pac-12, and that Auburn and Tennessee just had a bad years.  They’ll play the “athlete” card and will suggest a bad SEC defense would still be a formidable challenge for even the best offenses rival conferences have to offer.  What they won’t tell you?  That they only play 8 conference games, rarely travel for a non-conference road game and that while exceptional at the top, the bottom half of their conference poses little challenge on the majority of Saturdays afternoons.

Don’t believe me?  Take a look at #3 Georgia’s schedule and tell me what you think:


@ Kentucky

@ Missouri


Florida Atlantic



@ Auburn


Georgia Southern

@ South Carolina

Georgia Tech

Do you see the “Gauntlet” often spoke of?  All 4 non-conference games are a joke (Which is somewhat excusable due to that being somewhat common practice nationwide, however they’ve got 4 of those games opposed to most conference’s getting just 3.) and all 4 are at home.  There’s no Alabama, LSU or Texas A&M (3 of the premiere teams in the SEC) on that schedule, they played 5 of their 8 conference games against 5 of the 6 worst teams in the conference, and against one of their more difficult conference opponents – South Carolina – they got boat-raced 35-7.  But perception says they’re 11-1 in the “premiere conference” in the nation, and voters have placed them accordingly in the polls.

I’m not lobbying for Oregon, Kansas State or even the Kent State Golden Flashes who have quietly amassed a respectable 11-1 record in an obviously third-tier conference, but more against the notion that the SEC is so far removed from the other power conferences that they’re to be automatically elevated over a comparable team’s resumé based solely on the three capital letters they represent.  Oregon had their chance…and lost, as did Kansas State, but so did Alabama, Georgia and the Florida Gators, but their loss didn’t eliminate them and history speaks to that usually being the case.  5 of the 8 South Eastern Conferences BCS winners suffered at least 1 loss en route to the championship game.  Last year’s Alabama team lost to LSU, in 2008 Florida lost to Ole Miss at home, in 2007 LSU lost twice, in 2006 Florida lost at Auburn, and in 2003 eventual champion LSU lost to Florida in Death Valley.  No other BCS Champion has lost a game on the way to the National Title, meaning if you’re not in the SEC and want to “win it all,” you best not lose…ever.

Is Oregon’s overtime defeat against a Stanford Cardinal team ranked 8th in the BCS worse than a 35-7 loss at South Carolina?  Seemingly.  Is that same Oregon loss worse than a home loss to 9th ranked Texas A&M?  Very much so, apparently.  And is a Florida team who lost a glorified home game to Georgia, squeaked by a bad Missouri team, and needed a blocked punt late in-order to beat Louisiana Lafayette obviously better than a Duck team who manhandled everyone on their schedule except the 9th ranked team who beat them in extra time?  So it appears.

The Oregon Ducks blew their chance to play for the ultimate prize.  They picked a bad week to be off their game and due to such will be forever wondering “what if.”  They didn’t have the luxury of a second-chance and something stinks about others being afforded just that.  A couple years from now a four-team playoff will render much of this conversation moot, but rather than an argument for or against the 2 best teams in college football, we’ll be arguing for or against the top-4 and those on the outside looking in.  Is it right?  I don’t know, but could it be better?  Not for the 14 teams lucky enough to have a leg-up on the field, but definitely for the rest of the BCS conferences standing in the shadow of a myth, recent history, and perception gone wild.

About Arran Gimba