The SEC monopoly in college football

By Jordan Murray

Sports Editor

Six conferences are considered “power” conferences in Division I college football, although I think most fans would agree that the Big East could have had that distinction dropped quite some time ago. The Southeastern Conference, or SEC, has produced the past five national champions: Louisiana State (LSU), Alabama, Auburn, and Florida twice.

Consequently, the conference has developed a reputation as the pre­mier college football conference in the nation. And, to be honest, it is. This season, however, the media has taken their adoration for the SEC to a whole new level.

My first issue is the widely-held belief that two SEC teams should face off for a national title. I can’t say for sure that LSU and Alabama aren’t the two best teams in the country—but we already know which team is better. LSU proved it by beating Alabama, on the Crim­son Tide’s home field, by a 9-6 mar­gin. Case closed. Proponents of the current bowl system like to argue that the regular season serves as a playoff. If that’s the case, hasn’t Ala­bama already been eliminated?

Contrary to popular belief, there are teams outside of the SEC that know how to play the game of foot­ball. The Boise State Broncos, much-maligned for their weak conference schedule, went into SEC country and whipped the Georgia Bulldogs, champions of the SEC’s East divi­sion, by two touchdowns. This re­sult was quickly dismissed as a fluke the moment Boise State dropped a game to fellow BCS-crasher TCU.

The Oklahoma State Cowboys, champions of the Big 12, also have just one loss. They’ve also played a much tougher schedule than Ala­bama and own six wins over teams with winning records to Alabama’s two. According to some of the talk­ing heads over at ESPN, however, this team would be in over its head if it ran into an SEC squad like the Crimson Tide.

Individual honors are also being affected by the media’s perception of the SEC.

Recent estimates place Alabama tailback Trent Richardson well ahead of Wisconsin’s Montee Ball in the voting for the Heisman trophy, given annually to college football’s top player. As a Badger fan, I’ll readily admit that Alabama has had a better year than Wisconsin. But there’s no way that Richardson’s been better than Ball.

Ball has more yards on fewer carries, along with having 15 more touchdowns than Richardson. 15 touchdowns is a good season for most running backs. Ball currently has 38 touchdowns in 13 games and has an outside shot to break the all-time touchdown record in college football. He doesn’t, however, play in the SEC.

As previously stated, I firmly be­lieve the SEC is the best college foot­ball conference in the country. But to believe that the rest of the country can’t even compete? That’s ridicu­lous.

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