Thursday, January 3, 2019

College Football: What to do with the SEC?

Already, after the bowl games, the noise coming from the Southeastern portion of these United States is deafening.

"Georgia didn't care"
"LSU was missing like, 50 starters"
"It should have been an all SEC playoff"

And on and on.

Yes, it's deafening, and it makes rational college football fans want to pull their hair out (or, if you're more rational, makes you want to pull their hair out and stuff it in their mouths). But the problem is that the excuse making and apologia for SEC conference teams is not going to go away.  It's going to amplify.

Media shills, Paul Finebaum, Kirk Herbstreit, and a host of others working for CBS, have financial interests in ensuring that their bestest TV partners are well taken care of and a slightly unbalanced fan base with access to social media will continue to jump into every rational conversation with takes like "if they would have played this game in November Georgia would have killed Texas".  OK, sure.

While Paul Finebaum is a special case, he's more content troll than actual "reporter" CBS and ESPN have plenty of scribes, former players and folks with journalism degrees who will crow about the glorious advantages of the SEC over everyone else and then shut down any and all debate by appealing to authority.

"One of us is paid to talk about this, and the other one is you"

The defense above, or some variation of it, is used to discredit almost any dissent from the BSECT orthodoxy and it's 100% garbage.

First off, WHO is paying you?

Is it CBS?  Because outside of a few games on CBSSports the entirety of their college football coverage is the tier-one SEC game and Army-Navy. Their entire college football network is designed to promote the SEC above all other conferences. So, despite their protestations to the contrary them BEING paid to shill is a negative for them.

ESPN? Also the owners of the SEC Network. Granted, ESPN has contracts with every other conference as well but their bell cow is SEC football. They mask behind those other games they show but outside of UT-Austin (and the Longhorn Network) ESPN's loyalty lies with the conference to which they're most intertwined. They also have exclusivity on the College Football Playoff Invitational, and have to pay due deference to the entity that's single-handedly destroying the sport.

FOX?  They have the B1G and Pac-12, both of whom got excluded from the 4-team invitational this year. Who do you think it was making the most noise about expansion to 8-teams early? For that matter, who's been trying to pump the brakes the hardest? (A: CBS and ESPN)

The point to this is there's very little 'honest' college football talk on TV. Even less in newspapers. In fact, the "best" source for good, honest college football reporting right now are from the various Internet sites, excluding Yahoo! Sports obviously, which is a trash fire on the best of days.

But the problem remains: How are the rest of us supposed to deal with an irrational fan base who over-celebrates wins, has a silly habit of trying to take all the success of Alabama and absorb it into themselves, and has ready-made excuses to wash away any loss?

The answer?  Segregation.

No, no the nasty stuff from the 50's and 60's that was rightfully swept into the dust-bin of history. I'm talking about walling off the SEC from everyone else, forcing them to play each other and just leave us rational people alone.

Look, if Alabama feels the need to continue playing the Citadel to make them happy so be it.  But what we really need to do is limit them to FCS buy games and games against each other.  For the health of the country all other FBS teams need to refuse the SEC games, and keep them out of our national conscious.

Let the SEC play 4 FCS games each and continue on with a watered-down 8-game conference schedule to their heart's content. Let them play each other in bowl games, let them hold their own 4-team SEC Playoff and crown themselves King of football if it makes them happy, but ridding the rest of college football of the SEC is really the only solution that will make everyone happy.

Of course, we're all probably going to have to bite the bullet and create some social media platforms for them as well.  SECTwitter comes to mind immediately, I'm not sure if Jack would be willing to do that but we could probably convince him if we tried. He might even allow some non SEC bots to come in with nice Tweets about non-SEC teams to really get the fan bases in a lather.

The alternative to this solution is that we're going to have to put up with more and more of the same and that's just not sustainable for anyone.

Under the old system, the regional system, we all knew the SEC was populated by idiot fans but the crossover sample that we saw was relatively small.  For the most part their bowl tie-ins were with ACC fans and that was just fine by us. The ACC really only cares about basketball anyway so their fans were less offended. Unfortunately, now that we've broken bowl/conference alignments, we're all subjected to a stream of craziness that starts in June and doesn't end until well into February.

It has to stop.  Carving them out is the only way to stop it.

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