State of the Game - The SEC & The BCS
Posted Aug 17, 2010

Preview 2010 - The State of the Game. Will You Be Okay If The SEC Champ Isn't In The BCS Championship?

Preview 2010 - State of the Game

The SEC & The BCS

State of the Game Topics
- Is Realignment A Plus?
- The SEC & The BCS
- What If Boise Goes 12-0?
- Are You Okay With the BCS Championship Result?
- Does The AP Title Matter?
- A $300 Bowl Gift vs. a $300 Handshake
- Did Reggie Bush Do Anything Wrong?
- How Should Offending Programs Be Punished?
- If You Could Make One Radical Change ...
- If You Could Make One Slight Change ...
- What Is Excessive Celebration?
- What's Your Favorite Non-Heisman Award

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Once again, we're extremely proud to get the thoughts from some of the top voices in the college football world in our annual State of the Game piece. Along with three CFN writers, check out the opinions on the key topics going into the 2010 season from legendary play-by-play man, Verne Lundquist, ESPN's Kirk Herbstreit, Ivan Maisel, Joe Schad, and Bruce Feldman, Dennis Dodd of, and the Chicago Tribune's Teddy Greenstein.

2. The SEC champion has one acceptable loss (say, at Florida), and two champions from other BCS leagues finish unbeaten. Assuming the strength of schedules are relatively even, will you be okay if the SEC champion isn't playing in the BCS Championship?

Pete Fiutak, CFN : Not even a little bit. If Alabama loses to Florida but runs the rest of the slate, and Ohio State and Texas go unbeaten and end up playing each other in Glendale, I'll still have a hard time believing the best team in America isn't playing in the Sugar Bowl (assuming Bama would win the bowl in a walk). While I believe the SEC is a bit overrated and the success by others (like the Big Ten in the Florida New Year's Day bowls) doesn't get played up enough, the killers on top of the conference have more than earned the benefit of ten doubts after the last four national title games. It's an unfortunate reality in our BCS world that there isn't a playoff with the six BCS conference winners involved. The worst part about it is that Ohio State, or Texas, or Boise State, or Duke could go 12-0, be the best team in America, and blow through the schedule and win the BCS Championship in a breeze, but there will always be a, "yeah, but …," if the one-loss SEC Champion isn't involved in the mix.

Richard Cirminiello, CFN : Absolutely. The key here is strength of schedule. Assuming they are similar, you've got to give the nod to the unbeaten team, even if we're talking about the Big East or ACC champion. It's only when we're talking about a noticeable gap in scheduling that a team with a perfect record should be jumped in the rankings by a one-loss contender.

Matt Zemek, CFN: If the strength of schedule is even, the non-SEC teams should be playing for the BCS title. A 1-loss SEC team should only play for the title if there are no unbeaten teams with appreciably strong bodies of work. The college football community should not cede so much ground to the SEC before a season and its attendant debates even begin.

Dennis Dodd, Weeeell, that's a bit superficial don't you think? Start with the fact that beyond Ala and Fla, the SEC isn't particularly strong this year. What is the third-best team -- Arkansas?, LSU?, South Carolina? (Please don't give me Georgia). In your scenario, then, (a loss to Florida), the only team you're talking about is Alabama. If the strength of schedules are relatively even, then, yes I'm OK with the SEC champion not playing in the BCS title game. You're talking about an undefeated Ohio State, Iowa, Oklahoma, Texas. I have no problem with that 1) because the SEC is down; 2) the Big Ten is making a comeback; 3) Texas and Oklahoma are loaded in a tough conference and 4) don't forget Boise in that mix. It's going to start in the top five. Voters will by hypocritical if they drop the Broncos after winning all their games.

Bruce Feldman, It's tricky to deal with hypotheticals at this point, but I'll say Yeah, I think so. If it's, say, OU and Wisconsin, those two still would've had to most likely overcome some top 15 teams to get through unscathed.

Teddy Greenstein, Chicago Tribune: As coaches love to say, I don't answer hypotheticals. To me it would depend on the strength of the other leagues and whether the SEC team has a big-time non-conference victory.

Kirk Herbstreit, ESPN : You can't assume that a champion from another conference would have an even strength of schedule. There's not another conference that comes close to the week to week grind of the SEC. Therefore, I would definitely NOT be okay with the SEC champion being left out of the National Title under your scenario.

Verne Lundquist, CBS : Yes, I'm okay with a one loss SEC champion losing a spot in the BCS title game to two unbeaten conference champions from other BCS conferences, or an unbeaten champion from the Mountain West or Boise State, for that matter. I believe sustained excellence should be rewarded. An undefeated season is representational. And, yes, I'm quite familiar with how difficult it is to go unbeaten in the SEC, but a hiccup is a hiccup.

Ivan Maisel, Sure. The two best teams should play, whoever they are and wherever they lay their head.

Joe Schad, ESPN : It depends which BCS leagues boast the undefeated teams. If a team in the Big 12, Pac-10 or Big Ten goes undefeated, I can't envision a one-loss SEC team making the national title game ahead of that team. But if an undefeated ACC or Big East team were deemed weaker than a one-loss SEC team I could see the SEC team getting in, particularly ahead of an ACC team that does not have the clout and tradition of a Florida State or Miami or really any Big East school, particularly if devoid of the tradition of a Pittsburgh or West Virginia. Which leads me to wonder: is it fair that tradition and clout become factors in considering which undefeated programs or conferences could be bypassed without much fanfare or bickering? Fair or not, it would be naive to believe those factors are not considered (even if just in a subliminal manner) - not by computers, of course, but by coach and Harris Poll voters.