With a plethora of knowledgeable writers and pundits promoting the idea of certain conference supremacy, the timing seems ideal for a generalized view of how the entire country approaches this quandary.
What did he say?
I said "take for instance the following scenarios."
Take Oklahoma out of the Big 12 and Southern Cal out of the Pac-10. Look at the past 50 years. What league has the most National Championships?
Remove Alabama from the SEC and Ohio State from the Big 10. What conference has the most championships?
So, in effect, many of the accomplishments of a league can be due in large part to one school. Take that school away and things seem to "even out."
I doubt many would argue the Pac-10 is the best conference if you don't count Southern California. Could you have an argument about the SEC without Alabama, or the Big 10 and Big 12 without the "O" boys?
The Ivy League has the most National Championships in college football. The Ivy league "created" college football and is just as important to its history as the role of the South in creating NASCAR.
All you folks who want to point the finger at the Ivy and say "that was back then," just remember: One day some cat in Salt Lake City is likely to say all that racing in the South in the 20th century is meaningless and shouldn't really count.
The "conference supremacy discussion" also takes a fork in the road when dealing with the newer "mega"-leagues like the Atlantic Coast Conference. Do you count Miami's four National Titles from 1983-91 when they were independent? How about the 2001 title?
Put those five with Ga Tech in '90, Clemson in '81, Maryland in '53, and the two from FSU in the '90s, and you have 10 titles. But, why stop there?
Ga Tech won the National Championship in 1917, the first southern team to do so. They also won the National Championship in 1928 and 1952. If the ACC can count Miami's prior titles, why not all of Ga Tech's from their time in the SEC and beyond?
So, it is only fair to count only the National Titles won by league members when they were league members. Or is it?
Texas won the National Title in 1963 and 1969 while a member of the defunct Southwest Conference. The SWC was the ancient and arch-foe of the SEC for decades.
Do those titles count toward "Big 12 Supremacy" since the Longhorns were members of another league before being "absorbed" into the mega-conference Big 12? If so, then what do you do with the year 1970?
In 1970 the UPI Coaches Poll closed before the bowls, leaving Texas No. 1. Texas was clobbered by Notre Dame in a Cotton Bowl game not as close as the final score indicated, 24-11.
That night in the Orange Bowl, unbeaten Nebraska of the Big Eight put together a late drive to overhaul a powerful LSU team, 17-12. The AP announced the following day that Nebraska was the National Champ.
Does the Big 12 get to count two National Titles in the same year? If so, then why not let a consensus poll champion like Florida in '96, '06, and '08 count SIX National Titles instead of three? What is the difference?
The answer is that there is no answer. Fans will support their local teams, state teams, conference teams, and their region's team. If competition were to be held against the world, they would support their nation's team.
I have written on region mentality and conference pride. Everyone wants the local boys to make good. As long as it is just interesting fun-poking for discussion, all is well and good.
But, the truth is, too many things have changed to promote "conferencism" (a word I just created) in the vastly different college football world.
We may cling to a certain year, say 1971. The Big Eight finished first, second, and third in the final poll and we may state that in that particular year, the Big Eight was the best. However, what about 1976, or 2002? Could the same be said? Not hardly.
That is why, as much fun as it is to participate in, the comparison of what conference is the strongest from year to year is an argument without merit.
There is no valid basis to rate an entire conference against another entire conference from year to year unless they all play the same schedule. So, how can one claim their conference is best?
Excuse me, I mean which conference is second best. We all know that SEC is the best.
Oh sure, that was proved a long time ago. Lemme tell ya, one time back in...
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