In the fourth year of the NCAA’s College Football Playoff, this will be the first time two teams from the same conference compete for the championship. Georgia defeated Oklahoma in a double overtime instant classic, while Alabama completely dominated Clemson in a 24-6 rout. Thus, College Football fans will have the misfortune of an all SEC championship game. Despite excitement from SEC fans, an all SEC title game is bad for college football as a whole.
There are a couple reasons that an all SEC championship game is bad for college football, but the primary reason is that unless you are an SEC fan, you are sick and tired of the sports media constantly covering the all-mighty SEC. Nick Saban is hailed as the modern messiah of college football and Alabama is the program to which all other teams are compared. SEC teams, collectively, are overhyped year in and year out; they are automatically assumed to have a stronger strength of schedule than teams from the other Power 5 Conferences. However, college football experts and the sports community in general ignore the drastic decline of the SEC.
Typical powerhouses, LSU, Florida, South Carolina, Ole Miss, and Texas A&M have all fallen off in recent years. Yet the SEC still had six teams in the Top 25 preseason rankings, more than any other conference. Analysts typically favor whoever wins the SEC Championship to win the National Title and show SEC teams considerable favoritism when considering who will qualify for the playoff, despite the weakness of the conference. To prove my point, this year the selection committee snubbed BIG 10 Champion Ohio State, instead giving the 4th seed to Alabama, who had one loss, didn’t qualify for the SEC championship game, and only had 2 wins over current top 25 teams. Ohio State defeated then #2 Penn State, #12 Michigan State, and #4 Wisconsin in the BIG 10 championship game. However, the Buckeyes had two losses, one to then #5 Oklahoma and one to unranked Iowa. Still, many, including myself, thought three top 15 wins and a BIG 10 title would have been enough to send Urban Meyer’s team to the playoff. Georgia, the other SEC team in the championship game, had a fairly weak schedule compared to the other teams in the playoff, but they at least won the SEC Championship Game and had a big out of conference win against Notre Dame.
The All SEC championship further proves the bias that the NCAA shows towards the SEC. They claim to take into account conference champions and strength of schedule, however they gave Alabama the playoff bid over Ohio State, a conference champion, and UCF, the only undefeated team in the NCAA. UCF then went on to beat Auburn, another SEC team and the only team to have defeated both schools currently in the NCAA Championship game.
Additionally, an All SEC game is bad for viewership. Because both teams teams are in the same conference, many college football fans on the West Coast, MidWest, and in virtually every other part of the US aside from the South East, will have less interest in watching the game. Teams from two different conferences in the championship draws fans from different parts of the country, increasing viewership for the game. Casual college football fans who tune in just to see two different teams from across the country compete, are not as likely to watch this year’s big game. Don’t be surprised if this year’s game has significantly less viewers than title games from previous years.
Unfortunately for college football fans outside the SEC, the 2017-2018 National Title Game is their worst nightmare. The CFP Selection Committee has yet again shown favoritism to the SEC, and, subsequently, has cursed fans with an entire game of SEC, Kirby Smart, Nick Saban, loving commentary.
Image: Alabama Sports Information