We’re only two-thirds of the way through the 2016 season, but cries of SEC bias are already rumbling. If the College Football Playoff were played today, two SEC teams would be in. Undefeated Alabama and 7-1 Texas A&M would star in the third ever playoff. Understandably, Washington Huskies fans as well as other PAC-12 fans feel cheated. Washington is 8-0 and ranked No. 4 in the AP Poll, yet somehow No. 5 in the Playoff Rankings and left on the outside looking in at the playoffs.
Is There SEC Bias in the NCAA?
The SEC bias rant is nothing new. It’s an all-too familiar cry, and one needs only look back a few short years to the BCS era.
It was the conclusion of the 2011 college football season. The LSU Tigers cruised undefeated through the regular season. They clobbered the Georgia Bulldogs in Atlanta 42-10 to take home the SEC Championship.
2012 National Championship Game
Their foes in the national title match-up proved to be none other than their hated rivals in red: the Alabama Crimson Tide. “Alabama?!”, fans of other conferences cried. How was this possible? The two divisional counterparts had already once duked it out in the regular season. Les Miles and his Tigers had won that contest in overtime. A series of upsets outside the SEC had resulted in the Tide surging back. Nick Saban’s team cruised on back up to No. 2 in the nation. This automatically qualified Alabama for the runner-up in the title game. Alabama would redeem the overtime loss earlier in the season with a 21-0 shutout.
The game was the least viewed national championship game in all the years of the BCS. Oklahoma State fans felt cheated, for the Cowboys finished ranked second in most of the computer generated models. This was the first and only instance in the BCS era in which two teams from the same conference faced off for the crown. The 2012 National Championship Game was one of the primary reasons the college football playoff was devised. It was created to eliminate any notions of the so-called SEC bias.
BCS is Gone, Does the SEC Bias Remain?
Fast forward to the present; from the looks of things, we are no closer to silencing the cries of the supposed SEC bias. Barring an upset, it looks as if we will once again have two teams from the SEC West in the mix for the championship.
So, is there an SEC bias afoot? That answer is a resounding no.
Texas Tech athletics director Kirby Hocutt is currenlty the playoff committee chairman. When the latest rankings for the playoff were released on ESPN, this is what he had to say, “The committee, in our mind, believes that Texas A&M has played a stronger schedule at this point in time of the season.”
Hocutt then went on to point out the not-so-subtle fact that the Aggies have notched four wins in their belt against teams over .500. The Huskies only have two such victories thus far.
So there you have it. Competition in the SEC is the toughest in the nation. There is still a decent amount of college football left to be played before bowl season. Upsets may happen to one, two, three, or all of the teams currently in the playoff hunt.
Should Alabama and Texas A&M wind up in corners of the playoff, however, you can bet you will hear the moans of SEC bias. For them, there’s only one thing to say in response: play better football. If the Big 12 or Pac-12 had better teams, perhaps they would have teams in the hunt.