Sunday, January 4, 2015

Our Only Fear Is Fear Itself

For years and years College Football enthusiasts have been desperate for some type of playoff system. Finally, we got it, and after its first day of existence, it has been a tremendous success. We got to see Oregon trounce FSU in Pasadena, and we saw the miraculous upset of Ohio State over the almighty Bama. The reality is that with the old system, FSU and Alabama would have been playing in the National Championship. What does this mean? It means that finally the great sport of FBS football has finally gained what it has been missing, justice.

It is going to be really refreshing to turn on a National Championship game, and see two teams that do not come from the SEC. I'm sure SEC fans would only let that feed into their "us against the world" mentality. The thing that peeves me most about fans of teams that are hated is that they think they are hated because they win. However, their near-sighted perspectives prevent them from seeing that winning does not cause hatred, but rather it is how you handle success. In College Basketball, I absolutely despise Duke because of their sense of elitism and the way in which the coaches, players, and fans carry themselves. It is NOT because they win. I do not dislike Wisconsin, Kansas, Arizona, or Gonzaga. All teams that have respect and handle themselves the right way. I love watching teams have success when it is done the right way.

Personally, I think that the SEC is the deepest conference in the country and probably the strongest, but it is about time they start backing it up. The mentality that SEC teams should not have to play a tough out of conference schedule because of the difficulty of their conference schedule is simply foolish in my opinion. Most of the teams play a maximum of one truly respectable team, and then three complete jokes. It is an absolute shame that the 1st ranked non-conference schedule in the SEC this year consisted of Utah State, Arkansas State, Oklahoma, and Chattanooga. Really? Sure, Oklahoma is a somewhat respectable game, but that is a less than impressive assortment of teams. In addition, for that schedule to be from the 9th in the SEC Tennessee Volunteers, well that is simply embarrassing. Usually, some teams are better than others when it comes to scheduling. Usually, Georgia, LSU, and Florida are teams that are fairly consistent in their scheduling. Nevertheless, the unfathomable weakness of SEC nonconference schedules in 2015 causes me to cringe. 

The strongest 3 schedules belong to Alabama, Auburn, and Texas A&M. However, I am not sure I should say strong, rather than less weak. 

Alabama: Wisconsin, MTSU, ULM, and Charleston SouthernAuburn: Louisville, Jacksonville St, SJSU, and IdahoTexas A&M: Arizona State, Ball State, Nevada, and Western CarolinaImpressed? I sure hope not. Wisconsin is a very respected team, but they will be in search of answers in this point in the season after losing their entire offense in Melvin Gordon. Besides that, MTSU and ULM are mediocre teams with the wonderful FCS Charleston Southern. For Auburn, they play a solid Louisville team, but they will go into next year after losing their top offensive and defensive playmakers. After that, another assortment of poor football teams. I can respect A&m’s schedule. Arizona State will be a very good football team, Ball State is a respected MAC team, Nevada is no pushover, and Western Carolina is, well, they are Western Carolina. Those are not great schedules, but compared to the schedules of LSU, Ole Miss, and MIssissippi State, they are incredibly tough.

LSU: McNeese State, Syracuse, Eastern Michigan, and Western KentuckyOle Miss: UT-Martin, Fresno State, New Mexico State, and MemphisMiss St: Southern Miss, NW State, Troy, and Louisiana Tech

It is not worth analyzing these schedules because I can sum them up in one question. Are you serious? I understand teams that are rebuilding that need some winnable games playing games like this, but when you are attempting to contend for a National Championship, how dare you present a non-conference schedule like this. I am a University of Virginia fan. UVA frankly is not that great of a team, and it would be really easy for them to play a pushover schedule. Instead, they play UCLA, Boise State, and Notre Dame. While I know this schedule is unreasonable to expect from everyone, teams across the country play games schedules closer to this than the SEC. 

The SEC gets the best recruits. The SEC gets the most media attention. The SEC has the craziest fans. The SEC has a lot of pride. But you know what the SEC lacks? Guts. If you want to be the best of the best, then act like it. This bowl season, many of the top SEC teams fell to their opponents including Auburn, Mississippi state, Ole Miss, and of course, Alabama. Thankfully, these games have raised a question: is the SEC really the best? If you were the best conference, you would dominate bowl season against “inferior” teams. But guess who has the worst record in the past 10 years in BCS bowls. You guessed it, it’s the SEC. 

I am not ready to claim that the SEC is not the best conference, but the College Football playoff has caused questions to be asked and concerns to be raised. Wake up SEC, it is a new day, and if you want to be the best of the best, I beg you to man up and prove yourself.-Ben Greer

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