It began quickly, perhaps even before the first fan’s foot hit the Jordan-Hare turf en route to celebrating yet another miraculous finish. “One-loss Auburn should get the nod ahead of undefeated Ohio State for a BCS title game slot because, well, S-E-C!!! S-E-C!!!”
One-loss Missouri was soon added to the mix, with AU athletic director Jay Jacobs ever-so-swiftly going on the offensive by playing what amounts to the “do you know who I am?” card.
“An SEC team can’t get left out of the (championship game) with one loss,” Jacobs told USA Today in the afterglow of the Tigers’ upset win of top-ranked Alabama. “We just beat the No. 1 team in the nation, and a team ahead of us struggled today, I understand,” the AD said, referring to Ohio State’s one-point win over hated rival Michigan on the road.
“And a one-loss SEC team that wins in Atlanta — if it’s us or Missouri — you can’t get left out of the BCS after you beat the No. 1 team. We have a better argument because we beat the No. 1 team. … It’s already happened in 2004, and it would be a disservice to the nation if we got left out.”
On ESPN‘s SportsCenter Sunday morning, he called such an outcome “un-American.”
Just a couple of things before moving on.
One, Auburn was unbeaten when it got left out in 2004, so that’s an apples-to-carrots argument. Two, I’ve scoured the BCS rulebook and failed to find any stipulation which states a one-loss SEC champion is automatically guaranteed a spot in the title game. And, three, it’s unclear if, as Jacobs was stating his case, there was a video monitor just over his shoulder showing a father having a catch with his son as the sun set on a freshly-plowed field, an American flag wafting in the background.
This, though, is what the whole of college football will be facing over the next six days: Ohio State, assuming it passes what will be a tough test against one-loss Michigan State in the Big Ten title game, of the plodding and downtrodden Big Ten vs. the SEC and its seven consecutive BCS titles. The SEC office is already in full campaign mode. So is a certain regional-radio-host-turned-ESPN-personality.
I’ve already made my opinion very clear on the matter. Now it’s your turn to vent and vote your conscience/conference allegiance. But, before we get to that, here are the respective résumés of Auburn, Missouri and Ohio State; I would’ve included Florida State but, when you’re waylaying opponents by an average score of 54-11, you’re recused from these proceedings based on a preponderance of the evidence that you’re hands down the best damn football team in the land.
Anyway, here’s a snapshot look at the résumés of each of the three teams, which includes this week’s conference championship opponents when applicable:
Before getting to the poll, here are a few notes that didn’t fit neatly into the chart:
- Florida State’s strength of schedule is ranked 85th by the NCAA and 66th by Sagarin.
- Ohio State had Vanderbilt scheduled for a 2013 game before the Commodores backed out, with OSU replacing them with San Diego State. Vandy is Sagarin’s 45th-ranked team, SDSU 96th.
- Auburn’s lone loss was by 14 on the road to LSU. Missouri’s lone loss was at home in double overtime against South Carolina.
- Much like the SEC’s seven straight BCS titles, the fact that Ohio State has won 24 straight dating back to the beginning of the 2012 season is a non-factor. This is about 2013 and 2013 alone.
- Current conference championship lines, per Danny Sheridan: Ohio State -6 vs. Michigan State; Auburn -2.5 vs. Missouri; Florida State -29.5 vs. Duke.
- As it constitutes one-third of the BCS rankings, the coaches’ poll released today was utilized for this endeavor.
Now, onto the our little poll…