Jaylen Waddle of Alabama runs on his way to scoring a 51-yard touchdown in the 3rd quarter as Richard LeCounte of Georgia is unable to make the tackle during the 2018 SEC Championship Game on Dec. 1, 2018. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
ATLANTA - I consider myself a reasonable man. As I grow older I try to keep things that aggravate me to a minimum. But there is one thing that winds me up every time, and it happens this time of year --every year-- and it's the national SEC hate (envy) fest.
So, I woke up this morning to an article written by AP College Football Writer, Ralph D. Russo entitled, "Steady dose of same teams reason for playoff expansion." In the piece, Russo laments that for the fourth straight year, Alabama and Clemson are in the playoff. And for the third time in four years, Oklahoma is in. "Thank goodness for Notre Dame," he writes, or the College Football Playoff would have been nothing but more of the same."
To that I say, "WELL, EXCUUUUUUUUUSE ME!"
Russo went on to say that, "the national championship race is still reserved for a select few." That it has, "made the playoff feel like a regional event, particularly in the Southeast, when the goal is the opposite." -Wrong! The goal is to pick the four best teams in the country!
He went on to bemoan that the Big Ten has missed the last two playoffs, and that the Pac-12 has been left out three times. Well, sorry.
Here's where he really gets under my skin. He says the reason playoff expansion (presumably to eight teams) should happen, is to "engage more fans in more parts of the country."
Fans are customers, whether they are buying tickets, watching the playoff on television or streaming it on their phones... it was intended to be a national event." ---Say what? (see: pick four best teams!).
I would argue that it already is! The SEC showdown between Georgia and Alabama just drew the highest TV rating for a regular season college football game in seven years! It also had the best rating for any non-bowl game since LSU and Alabama (both are SEC teams, sorry) played as a No. 1 vs. No. 2 in 2011.
One wonders what kind of hissy fit we'd see from the SEC haters if Georgia would have been included in the playoff! While I too would not want a 2-loss team in the playoff, is there any doubt that Georgia is one of the four best teams in the country? No.
Let's be honest, this is an ongoing effort by envious wannabe's from around the country to shut-out, or at the very least handicap SEC teams enough to make winning a national championship even more difficult. The BCS, and now the CFP, were attempts to minimize the dominance of the SEC and southern teams like Clemson and Florida State in general.
This attitude really picked up steam during the SEC's incredible run of seven straight national championships beginning in 2006, and nine of the last 12. In fact, since 2005, all but one national champion hailed from below the Mason-Dixon line (Ohio State 2014).
Why does Notre Dame still get a pass for not playing in a conference championship game?! By not having to, they avoid that high stakes extra big game, and therefore the risk of picking losing late in the season. Have you seen their schedule? They don't belong in the playoff. Notre Dame, Michigan, and to a certain extent Ohio State want special consideration simply for being... Notre Dame, Michigan and Ohio State.
Remember, the SEC was the first conference to expand an already tough conference and create a championship game. It has earned the respect it gets.
Look, I get it. Bama and Clemson are facing each other in a playoff for the third straight year. But can you say with a straight face that they're not two of the four best teams?
OK then. Stop griping!
As the slogan goes... "the SEC... it just means more!"
The preceding is the opinion of FOX 5 Sports anchor Ken Rodriguez. Let him know what you think: