Tuesday Question: What If The SEC Is Out?

Posted Oct 30, 2012

Tuesday Question: Will you be okay if the SEC champion isn't playing for the national title?

Tuesday Question 

No SEC in BCS title game?

Will you accept a BCS championship game without an SEC champion?

E-mail Pete Fiutak
Follow us ... @ColFootballNews 

Only if that SEC champion obliterates its foe in the Sugar Bowl.

If for some reason the SEC champ has one loss, and two of the three between Oregon, Kansas State and Notre Dame are unbeaten and in the top spots in the BCS rankings, it's going to be a tough sell to America that any of them could beat Alabama if Nick Saban and his staff have weeks prepare. The two teams in will have earned it, and with all the history of the SEC in BCS championship games, anything less than a win over the SEC champion will struggle in a big way to get any respect.

However, if the SEC champ blows it in the Sugar, then yeah, I'll be fine with the BCS championship - and with no excuses. That goes for all teams that feel spurned. If you're ticked, blast away in your bowl game and we'll all do the praising.

In a perfect world for the non-SEC fans, one of the big three unbeatens gets a shot at Alabama and wins on the biggest stage. Oregon would be the most entertaining matchup, Kansas State would be intriguing, but it's Notre Dame that would get the most interest. But at this point, with the SEC so strong up top, it's going to be a fight to keep the star team out.

By Russ Mitchell
Follow me @russmitchellcfb


The Bayou Bengals are nine point underdogs at home, under the lights no less. Remember, LSU's last home loss was October 10.

In the year 2009.

That is respect for Nick Saban and his Crimson Tide. For everything that Alabama has accomplished…not just in 2012, but during the past several years.


In a sport that still picks its champion via an invitational, one-off, beauty contest, "eye test", worse-than-figure-skating-judging game, respect carries a lot of weight. Or should carry a lot of weight.

So if LSU beats Alabama for arguably one of its best home wins in school history, goes on to run the table at 12-1, including beating another top five team in UGA or Florida in the conference championship, and its only loss was in the Swamp by a single possession to a top-ranked Gators team… And the SEC has won SIX – STRAIGHT – BCS titles…

If you believe in respect, how is LSU not one of the top two teams in the nation? Particularly when there's no debating that the Kansas State, Notre Dame and especially Oregon schedules were not nearly as difficult.

What do you want, America? A champion, or teams that advance by playing easier opponents?

If a one loss UGA or Florida beat a consensus #1 and undefeated Alabama in the conference championship – likely as a double digit underdog, how do they not get the invite for a national championship?

Or if Bama loses in a particularly hostile environment in Baton Rouge, but goes on to represent the SEC West and undresses either a one loss Florida or UGA team in Atlanta…how do you pass over the Tide?

If respect counts for anything in this sport, and given our current post-season format it must, then there is simply no way we'll have a legitimate champion if a one-loss winner of the best conference in football is left out.

E-mail Matt Zemek

Last year, when the SEC got one more team in the national championship game than it deserved, I wasn't accepting of the outcome… but not because an SEC team benefited.

This year, if a one-loss Alabama or one-loss LSU does not make the championship game – and a one-loss Oregon/Kansas State/Notre Dame team gets in – I won't accept the outcome, either… but not because an SEC team was shafted.

Let's be clear: The system we have in 2012 and 2013 is an awful system. It's a fair system if and only if two and only two unbeaten teams (with appreciably difficult regular-season schedules) are left at the end of the regular season. If Alabama, Notre Dame, Oregon, Kansas State, and LSU all have one loss and the SEC teams in that group are not represented in the national championship game, it would be a shame.

One day, maybe college football fans will fully absorb this point: Without flexed non-conference scheduling, a 12-game season won't differentiate teams to a considerable extent, enough – at any rate – to provide genuine clarity in the national title race. There are many flaws with the 2014 playoff system, but the one problem that does get addressed is simple: If there are four teams that separate themselves from the pack, they'll be able to play each other to decide the title.

If there's a multi-car pile-up of one-loss teams a month from now and the SEC gets shut out, there will be no reason to rejoice. The SEC should be fairly represented in every college football season… it's just that every other conference should get the same representation if its teams merit inclusion in the process.

Phil Harrison
Follow me on Twitter @PhilHarrisonCFN

Is it acceptable if a one-loss SEC Champion is not a part of the national title game? If the two teams meeting are of the undefeated variety, you can bet your grits and sweet tea it is.

Here's the deal. Each year is different, and like those disclosures say in investment vehicles "past returns do not always equal future gains." To explain more aptly, just because a conference has rolled out a historical type of run, it doesn't mean it should get a free pass in the next year. This is college football where players graduate and teams have significant roster changes each and every year. As the calendar turns, there are completely new teams fielded for good ‘ole State U from sea to shining sea.

Because of this, you simply have no way to know which conference or team is better without having played it out on the field. If a champion can't be crowned on the gridiron via real, live football (and won't be more legitimately done until 2014), then you have to look at record as indicative of how a team has met each challenge it has been faced with.

More simply put, a one-loss team from BCS conference A should never get a bid over a qualified and undefeated team from BCS conference B. If a fully legitimate team has risen up and met each and every challenge, why shouldn't it get a shake over a team that has lost a game on the field of play? This is college football where every game is supposed to mean something, and destiny is in each team's own hands. If you don't want to be left out of the party, then go out and take care of business every week like your peer did.

In fact, now that I think of it, the only thing more ridiculous would be a team from the same conference division getting a rematch against a team it already lost to at home in the regular season. I mean, if that can't happen......wink, wink!

By Terry Johnson
Follow me @TPJCollFootball

Yes, I will accept a national champion if a one-loss SEC champ isn't playing in the BCS title game.

Let's be honest: this isn't likely to happen. The SEC has won the last six national championships, and has more depth at the top of league than any other conference. This type of success provides SEC teams with a decided advantage in the Harris and Coaches Polls, which accounts for two-thirds of the BCS formula.

In short, if everyone finishes with one loss, the voters will always pick the team from what they believe is the strongest conference. Rightly or wrongly, the SEC will receive the benefit of the doubt in these situations, making it virtually impossible for the league champ to miss the national championship game.

However, if the SEC doesn't play for all the marbles this season, it will be because other teams earned the right to be there. Should Kansas State, Notre Dame, or Oregon finish the season undefeated, each team would have beaten at least three teams in the BCS standings. More importantly, each squad would have two (or more) road wins over ranked opponents, which is a much better indicator of how good a team really is. After all, it's one thing to win a game when you have the crowd behind you, it's quite another to win in the hostile environments of Norman, Morgantown, and Corvallis.

Despite these stellar accomplishments, there are still some that will argue that a one-loss SEC Champion should play for the title instead, since it had to endure a brutal 8-game schedule in the nation's toughest conference.

Unfortunately, the numbers don't support this conclusion. Sure, the SEC might be the best conference in the land, but the BCS computers state that Notre Dame and Kansas State have played against a more difficult schedule than most of the top contenders in the SEC. And while Oregon's strength of schedule doesn't look so good now, it will only improve as the season progresses, with three (possibly four) ranked opponents remaining on the schedule.

In other words, Notre Dame, Kansas State, and Oregon will play against competition that is every bit as challenging as its SEC counterparts by the time the season ends. Since all of the teams will have played comparable schedules, a one-loss team would have absolutely no case against two (or more) undefeated teams.

To conclude, I am perfectly fine with a national champion hoisting the crystal football in the unlikely event that it does not face a one-loss SEC Champion. After all, the only way that it will happen is if Oregon, Notre Dame, and/or Kansas State remain undefeated against a very difficult schedule. With all three teams facing significant road tests in the next few weeks, that's certainly a BIG if.

By Bart Doan
Follow me @Bart_cfn

The question is a good one, but it's admittedly sad that we have to ask. Minus the southern sycophants and people who rely solely on the manipulated opinions of others, why shouldn't we accept a national champion if a one loss SEC team isn't playing for it?

Have we become so reliant on the uneducated opinions of others on this conference strength topic to really suggest that we wouldn't accept unbeaten teams with possibly stronger schedules as champs? Trivia: which conference had the largest percentage of its members ranked in the pre-bowl BCS top 25 last season? The Big 12. Guess who's champion was jumped for an SEC team that couldn't win their division. The Big 12.

So why again should we de-legitimize a champion based on this myth that the SEC is so dominant? It might shock one to know that against the Big East (19-23) and the PAC 12 (11-12), the SEC has a losing record in the BCS era. They're also 19-19 against the much maligned B1G in the same era in bowl games. That was coming into this season.

The reality is, if a one loss SEC team jumped all three of the other unbeaten heavyweights (sorry, Louisville), it would be like shoving coal in every football fan's stocking again. And when they take it out, they can't even light the stuff up with a 10 pound jug of lighter fluid.

College football varies on a year by year basis, and the rut everyone has gotten stuck in that it's not the case baffles this guy. When the Big 12 had three teams with one loss and a claim to play for the national title in 2008, that doesn't mean the conference is guaranteed to be strong in 2009. Though the SEC has done well in their title tilts, half the battle is getting there. When that becomes a "given," no one really knows how good you are.

We likely won't need to worry, however. College football, as the old axiom goes, always figures itself out. The regular season is the playoffs. Insert another cliche here. When the screws tighten and teams that haven't felt the kind of pressure of a national championship eye bearing down on them weekly, you start to see cracks in the foundation.

So assuming Alabama loses and a one loss at maximum SEC team wins the conference, odds are in their favor to get back to the game.

Americans say they don't like things given and are into equal opportunity. Let's play that forward when it comes to our collegiate football. Especially when the stats bear out that we should.

Let us please halt the insanity that they'd deserve to be in over the unbeaten three hot on Bama's trail as we speak. For if that were to happen, the rest of the conferences may as well secede.