With previously ranked No. 1 Kansas State and No. 2 Oregon both suffering losses, it appears as if the SEC is right back in the BCS Championship Game picture. Should the new No. 1 Notre Dame fall at USC, the SEC could potentially gain full control and send two teams to the National Championship Game.
Should such transpire, America will tune out the second consecutive SEC vs. SEC BCS Championship Game.
One year ago, Alabama defeated LSU by a score of 21-0. The game was praised as a battle of the top two teams in the nation, but the rematch of a November 5th, 2011 regular season showdown garnered minimal attention on a national spectrum, likely due to the fact that we'd seen it all before. If not, try the fact that there is no national interest in seeing an SEC conference game with more on the line.
Nothing will have changed in 2013.
As the endless possibilities are weighed throughout the nation, the likelihood of an all-SEC title game has grown significantly. Although an inconsistent USC squad is all that stands between Notre Dame and being undefeated, the game is being played at the Coliseum.
The quality of a team is neutralized in a rivalry game, so could the Irish be the next in line to fall? If they are, we could see what America would dread—an all-SEC BCS Championship Game.
More of the Same
Is there a better storyline for the BCS Championship Game than the potential for a team to unseat the SEC? With six consecutive titles won by a Southeastern Conference team, the answer is no.
So why remove the drama?
The battle for supremacy within a conference is made for the regular season and Conference Championship games. Just because an elite team in the SEC was unable to secure a conference title, why is it that we feel the need to crown them elsewhere?
For instance, the Florida Gators were unable to emerge victorious in the SEC East by virtue of a loss to Georgia. As deserving as they may be, should we suddenly reward them for a UGA or Alabama loss when a team such as Oregon, Florida State or Kansas State may emerge as conference champions?
Oregon, FSU and KSU traveled the same road as Florida. They battled conference foes until one team was left standing as champion.
The difference is, this scenario has the non-SEC teams at the top of their conference.
All-SEC Wins Championships, Not Ratings
Would it be nice to see the top two teams play each other if they were both from the SEC? I suppose it would be. Would anyone watch? Hardly.
The only all-SEC BCS Championship Game of all-time came in 2012 when Alabama played LSU. As a result of this offensively inept showdown, we learned one important fact about the draw of an SEC vs. SEC title game—there is none.
According to Jon Solomon of The Birmingham News, the LSU-Alabama showdown produced the third-lowest ratings of the BCS Championship Game era. Their ratings number of 14.0 was 8.0 percent lower than the 2011 showdown between Auburn and Oregon, a 22-19 defensive slugfest that at least had marketability due to the fact that the matchup was a pairing of two separate regions of fans.
You can claim that this holds no bearing on the selection process, but it does. If America doesn't want to see the game, then it would be hard to debate the potential for a selection of a conference champion over the Florida Gators.
The same Gators who won 27-20 against Louisiana-Lafayette on November 10.
To Prove They're the Best, Take an Out-of-Conference Test
What exactly is the SEC proving by defeating one of their own for the national championship? That they can continue to face the same competition they're tasked with defeating year-in and year-out?
I'll take something new.
Although the SEC may have the two best teams in the nation, they have the distinct advantage of having played each other on a yearly basis. When matched up against a team from a different conference, however, there is a sudden mix of elite teams that would not have otherwise played.
Even if the schedule hadn't placed SEC foes against one another, isn't that for the SEC Conference Championship Game to decide?
As the results display, such presents the opportunity for a much greater game. Of the SEC's eight BCS Championship Game appearances, four of the seven inter-conference battles have been decided by less than 10 points. Three have been one-possession endings.
Although this approach may not always place the two best teams in the nation against one another, it provides value to conference supremacy. If one would like to abandon the worth of winning a conference championship, however, an all-SEC BCS Championship Game is the way to go.
The SEC may be dominant, but have they gone as far as offsetting the value of a conference championship? I think not.