Monday, November 26, 2007

For All Those People That Say.....

That Ohio State doesn't deserve to play in the National Championship game because they don't play in a conference championship game, shut up. You can't blame them for something they have no control over.

For those that don't know, the SEC is the one that started the conference championship business back in 1992. In 1996 the Big 12 thought what the SEC was doing sounded super and jumped on board. The ACC was the last major conference to jump on the bus and that happened in 2005 when they expanded (The MAC and Conference-USA also play conference championship games but they won't be considered for the rest of this blog). But in 1999, to try to finally settle a true champion, the #1 vs. #2 debate each year, they created the BCS. And the real debate began.

Now, the first question we need to answer is, how do they decide to play a conference championship game? The Big 10 doesn't do it, the Pac-10 doesn't, Big East doesn't. But why do the other 3 big conferences do? Well a bunch of Athletic Directors get together and take a vote. If they want a conference championship game they play it. If they don't, there isn't one. Oh by the way, don't forget the money that is involved either, because, really that's what its about. Look at the areas that play them...the south, south eastern coast, and the Midwest. Areas that don't have the same professional sports draws and factors that areas like the north/north east and the west coast has. And honestly if you've been to those areas, college sports is held on a much higher level, with football elevated well above anything else.

Okay so lets look at some numbers. Here is how many teams from each conference that have played in the BCS title game since 1999. All years reflect year the game was played.

Big 12 - 5 (Oklahoma '01, '04, & '05, Nebraska '02, Texas '06 two wins, three losses)
SEC - 3 (Tennessee '99, LSU '04, Florida '07 all champs)
ACC - 3 (Florida St. '99, '00, '01 one win, two losses)*
Big East - 3 (Virginia Tech '00, Miami '02 & '03 one win, two losses)**
Pac 10 - 2 (USC '05 & '06 one win, one loss)
Big 10 - 2 (Ohio State '03 & '07 one win, one loss)

*Pre-Conference Championship game
** Virginia Tech and Miami are now both members of the ACC

So lets take a look together. The two conferences that I hear complaining about the most are the ones that lead this list in championship appearances and champions. The ACC and Big East stat is an anomaly because those programs, sans Va. Tech, have lost an immense part of their luster in the last 5 years. So what does this tell us? I think a few things.

First, it says the Big 12 and the SEC know how to win when they get there. A combined 5-3 record (3-0 for the SEC) is impressive. Aside from 2000 and 2003, a member from at least one of the conferences have played in the title game.

Second, I think it says the Big 10 and Pac 10 are good, but have few teams in the way of championship contenders. It doesn't mean an Illinois can't beat an OSU or an Oregon can't make a run, but the jury is still out if they can have the non-perennials make runs. There are 5 teams from the ACC, Big East, Big 10 and Pac 10 combined in the championship games while the Big 12 and the SEC sent 3...each!

Third, and most importantly, I think it shows this conference championship business might be blown out of proportion. I mean look at the stats that are there and it shows that chastising OSU is unnecessary. It's not their fault how the system is set up, and for those that say they play cakewalks, I'll give you partial credit. Do we forget the Texas home and home? What about the USC home and home the next two years? And Miami after that and tentative schedules for Cal in '12 and '13, Va. Tech for '14 and '15 and then Oklahoma in '16 and '17. Give all those schools credit for taking the chance, but keep it in mind for the Buckeyes for the next 6 days or so.

And as Ohio State gets put down and slammed in the media this week, and they wait to see if Missouri or West Virginia even allows this conversation to matter on Saturday night, keep in mind what they did and what they are going to do. 11-1 this year, the Rose Bowl no matter what, and waiting for an opportunity to go to New Orleans for some redemption, if it happens. But don't blame them for doing what was asked and what was on their schedule. Just buckle up and enjoy the's really the only thing you can do with the BCS anyhow.

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