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November 7, 2010

ESPN Analysts Underestimate LSU and the SEC

I did not see all of the ESPN BCS show tonight but, I caught enough of the end of the show to learn that some ESPN analysts were placing TCU #2 over Auburn.  I also heard Kirk Herbstreit say that even though he would have given a one loss Alabama team a shot at the BCS title, he would not give LSU the same shot should they finish with only one loss. Really?!

What do you have to do to prove to these guys that a one or even two loss SEC team can beat any and all contenders for the national title?  

First, let's look at a quick history of the BCS National Championship.
The SEC has placed a team in six of the 12 BCS National Championship games since 1999.  Two of those SEC teams went into the title game ranked #1 and four of those teams entered the game ranked #2.  The SEC has placed four different teams in the BCS national title game:  2 SEC East Teams (Tennessee once and Florida twice) and 2 SEC West Teams (LSU twice and Alabama once).  Those SEC teams faced  a Big 12 opponent three times, a Big Ten opponent twice, and an ACC opponent once.  All six of those BCS National Titles were won by an SEC team.  The SEC is 6-0 in BCS National Title games and so far there have only been 12 BCS National Title games.  Two SEC teams have won two BCS titles:  Florida 2007, 2009 and LSU 2004, 2008.

In the short history of the BCS only one other conference has won more than one BCS title - the Big 12 (Oklahoma 2001 and Texas 2006).  

When LSU won the 2004 BCS National Title it had to share the National title because some believe that USC deserved to face Oklahoma in the national title game.  One of the main arguments for the next few years was that LSU had played such a weak non-conference schedule that they really had no business being in the national title game.  This year two of the LSU's four non-conference opponents have been North Carolina and West Virginia who were both ranked when LSU faced them.

One of the arguments that I just heard tonight on the ESPN BCS show was that this was clearly an down year for the SEC.  I am kind of stunned that not one of the "well prepared" analysts did not call Mr. Herbstreit on this wild assertion.  The 12 teams of the SEC have lost a total of 41 games this year so far.  However, of those 41 losses only 5 losses have come at the hands of non-conference opponents.  The "down year for the SEC" comment even smarts more when you focus on the six teams of the SEC West that includes LSU.  Five of the six teams of the SEC West have a 7-2 record or better this year so far.  Mississippi is the only team in the SEC West that has a losing record and Ole Miss also owns the sole SEC West loss to a non-conference opponent.   

If LSU does not make it to the SEC Championship game, they still will have faced 6 ranked opponents and at least one other bowl eligible opponent.  How can TCU or Boise State be considered the "best" offense, defense or overall team if they are facing only two to four solid teams the whole year?  Giving those two teams two to four solid wins is being generous considering that the "highly touted" Oregon State is only 4-4 on the year.  If TCU or Boise State is in the title game this year, then the lessons learned will be clear: "Play in a weak conference" or barring your ability to do that "play the weakest schedule you possibly can." Of course, that is if your sole goal is to play in a BCS National Championship. If you want to play with and against the best and you want to play against players that you will more likely play against on Sunday, play in the SEC. A BCS National Title game that leaves out a one loss SEC team isn't really a national title game at all.


Anonymous said...

I just checked on ESPN -- TCU will play 2 ranked teams this year and Boise State will play 3. Oregon State is counted in both of those counts.

Anonymous said...

Didn't the current Ole Miss QB play for Oregon last year? and OM is the only team in the SEC W that has a losing record - wonder what would happen if the whole Oregon team attempt to play more than the worst SEC E school.

Anonymous said...

If LSU's one loss this year is by 7 points to Auburn and Auburn loses either 2 games or the SEC Championship and one game - LSU will go to the BCS!

Denny said...

Well put, Bob. The SEC = NFL minor league. The only way the SEC is not represented in the BCS title game is if Auburn loses to Florida in Atlanta. Sorry but LSU only makes the So What Bowl.

Anonymous said...

We are in November,and the LSU tigers beat Alabama...Winning is the only thing that matters now.
LSU will jump further up higher, if they keep winning...Keep winning,Americans love winners.
Les Miles never look better,and this LSU football team, played proud and brave...Can anyone send me some LSU football field grass???

Anonymous said...

The history of the college football world, in this country, has been to play like-that the Notra Dame,Big 10,Pact 10,Big 12,ECT were the better college football team, in America.
The SEC, was a southern bunch of out of touch, country bumpkins.
Now however,the computers have changed all that bull...Who you play, does matter,no matter where they live.
If LSU keeps winning,the polls will follow.
Auburn will play in the BCS NC game,if they keep winning,but LSU will still have a very great season.

Anonymous said...

That fourth quarter, in the LSU,Alabama, football game, was a great fifteen minuets of college football.
LSU never shined more brightly..Les Miles LSU football program, became a winner over the Nick Saban Alabama football program...Making Les Miles the talk of the town,not Nick Saban.
It is Les Miles now,his story,and habits,his way of coaching a college football program...I want some LSU tiger stadium grass,
I want that grass, in my front yard,and in my LSU trophy room.
What a great story,Les Miles, dragon slayer.

Nick Raymon said...

This is fascinating, and any cross-correlation adds confidence in any sub-component's reading.
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