Today ESPN unveiled a brand new advertisement to launch the second season of its Who’s In campaign for the College Football Playoff. The spot is beautifully done, with Ohio State head coach Urban Meyer narrating what could be seen as a pep talk to the defending national champions from Ohio State reminding his players they now have the targets on their backs. The spot features many different visuals representing a number of college football programs.
The commercial opens with a crimson-colored tidal wave, representing Alabama, before moving to a close-up shot of a microphone and Meyer’s determined eyes. Meyer opens the commentary with a simple “They’re coming,” as the ad shoots to a dinner table lined with mascots on each side and Oregon’s duck standing up at the head of the table. As Meyer’s narration continues, multiple visuals are shown to represent schools from the Big Ten, Big 12, SEC and Pac-12.
Sorry ACC fans, you got left out of this one unless you count the couple of shots of mascots standing guard (Clemson and Georgia Tech made that cut). And no, you don’t get to claim Notre Dame in this one.
In a release detailing the new ad campaign, ESPN outlined the different visual cues and which school they represent. Not counting the mascots, the College Football Playoff advertisement features seven SEC members. The Big Ten has three schools represented in the ad, the same number as the Pac-12. The Big 12 was included with a nod to TCU and Baylor, last season’s conference co-champions left out of the playoff at the end of the season.
Here is the full breakdown (minus mascots);
Big Ten: 3 (Ohio State, Michigan State, Michigan)
Big 12: 2 (TCU, Baylor)
Pac-12: 3 (Oregon, USC, UCLA)
SEC: 7 (Alabama, Auburn, Texas A&M, LSU, Tennessee, Georgia, Mississippi State)
If you include the mascots, the number of schools represented in the ad changes to this breakdown:
Big Ten: 5
Big 12: 3
Mountain West Conference: 1
Yep. All 14 SEC schools had at least a split second of representation in the first of what should be many Who’s In commercials this season. In all, 29 schools were represented in the promo (including Notre Dame), and just about half of them reside in the SEC. This will surely not sit well for those who believe ESPN has some form of bias in favor of the SEC.
But it’s just a commercial, right?