Ron Jacober

A friend of mine lives in South Carolina and he has been sending me condolences for a few months now that Missouri is going to play in the Southeastern Conference. You see, the SEC is the best football on the planet and Missouri, coming from such a JV league like the Big 12, will have trouble staying on the same field with those monsters of the SEC.

Is the SEC really THAT good? Well, NO, according to a new book by Chuck Thompson titled “Better Off Without Em.”

No question they play good football down there in the South. But, Thompson thinks a lot of that is simply an illusion that has been manipulated by the old BCS and ESPN.

You see ESPN has a 15 year $2.25 billion dollar contract to televise SEC games. And, ESPN has owned the rights to televise all BCS bowl games–including the national championship game. So, essentially the network owns college football. And, it’s to their benefit that SEC teams play in the big bowls including the title game.

Thompson writes that since the inception of the BCS, the SEC has been crowned national champion 57 per cent of the time. Prior to the BCS, the SEC was crowned national champion less than 11 percent over the last half century. But, because the pre-season polls always includes many of the SEC teams (this year four in the top ten), they are almost always assured of having at least one team in the championship game. He contends the poll are rigged.
Thompson makes the point that when the SEC plays regular season games outside the conference, they are not that dominant. Here’s his numbers since the start of the BCS in 1998.

SEC vs. PAC 12 10–12
SEC vs Big 12 6–10
SEC vs ACC 42–36
SEC vs Big 10 7–4
SEC vs Big East 16–15

The BCS is now history and there will be a four team playoff–finally. In June the SEC presidents and athletic directors announced their support for the new playoff system so long as the four team playoff might include the theoretical possibility that all four teams could come from the SEC rather than from an equal dispersal of conference champions. You don’t think ESPN had any influence on that, do you?

Thompson also feels the polls are just an illusion. Nothing to do with reality. For example, he writes that when an SEC team loses to another SEC team the drop in the pools is small. Remember last years “Game of the Century? LSU beat Alabama 9–6 in a snoozer. But Bama dropped just one place in the pool to number 3. But when 3rd ranked Oregon lost to 4th ranked LSU they dropped from 3rd to 13th.

So is the SEC power a myth? Well, it’s good football but it might be more perception than reality. But if you say that to one of the good ‘ol boys from the south, be ready to duck!

My South Carolina fan is licking his lips over the Mizzou visit there on September 22nd. Varsity against JV he says. I’ve bet him $2 and I’m getting three points.


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