10 Reasons Why Alabama, Florida, and the SEC Won’t Win the BCS Title

Andrew LeighCorrespondent IAugust 10, 2010

10 Reasons Why Alabama, Florida, and the SEC Won’t Win the BCS Title

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    Football in the SEC has enjoyed a golden age in recent years, with a team from the conference winning the last four BCS National Championship games.

    However, thanks to turnover, turmoil, parity, and the ascension of other teams across the country, the 2010-2011 season will not feature an SEC-spawned National Champion.

    While the SEC Conference Championship game has basically decided the top team in the nation the last four years, the game this year won’t even vault one of its participants into the BCS Championship Game.

    While the conference has become the center of national college football attention, the 2010-2011 season marks the biggest challenge yet for the SEC to produce another national champion. The conference will no doubt see its top two teams, Florida and Alabama, ranked highly and carrying lofty expectations that come with years of success, but this will not be either team’s year.

    Here are the ten reasons why you’ll see another team besides Florida, Alabama, or anyone from the SEC lifting the glass football trophy come January 2011.

10. Top to Bottom Balance

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    It’s not just the NFL where you can see an extreme level of balance of play and parity in one league. The SEC has gotten to the point where it’s not hyperbole to say that a number of their teams could be conference winners if taken out of the unforgiving region.

    Teams like Auburn, Arkansas, LSU, and South Carolina have rosters rich with talent along with brand-name coaches leading their programs, yet they are dwarfed by the giants in Tuscaloosa and Gainesville.

    These teams will make it extremely hard on the perceived Top 2, which makes it a distinct possibility that no SEC team goes into the conference championship game undefeated.

9. Strengths of Schedules

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    The schedule is very unforgiving for the conference’s two best teams. Alabama will have a bit of an early non-conference test in Penn State, but the real test for the defending champions comes in their first two in-conference games in Weeks 4 and 5, when they go on the road to face Arkansas and then host the Gators.

    That double-whammy is followed by a bizarre scheduling abnormality where every subsequent conference matchup features Alabama’s opponent coming off their bye week, meaning the Tide will be facing lots of rested and potentially ultra-prepared squads.

    The Gators have an easier early portion of their schedule, opening up their conference games against rebuilding Tennessee and Kentucky, but they then are faced with a road game at Alabama and a home affair with LSU back-to-back. They also have a very tough rivalry game at the end of their regular season schedule with an improved Florida State team.

8. Early Head-to-Head Showdown

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    In the past two seasons Alabama and Florida haven’t met until the conference championship game, which has decided who moved on and played for the national title. This year they face each other early on, going head-to-head in Tuscaloosa. This game will make it even harder to see either team emerging from conference play and heading to the national title game.

    It saddles one of the two top teams in the conference with a loss early in their schedule, even if it would still be looked upon favorably by the BCS’ computers due to degree of difficulty.

    Florida and Alabama have lost a combined one regular season game in their last two seasons, so a loss early on will not be a familiar feeling. It creates mountains of pressure for whichever team walks away on the losing end, knowing that their title hopes rest on a knife’s edge with a number of grueling conference games remaining.

7. The Target of Being No. 1

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    Being the reigning national champion gives even the lesser teams in the SEC added motivation when they see Alabama coming up on their calendars. This is a purely psychological way of looking at things but recent history also backs up the difficulties faced by reigning national champions.

    Since its inception in 1998 no team has won two consecutive BCS Championship games, and while that is a very limited stretch of time on which to judge Alabama’s chances it bears repeating. Teams have gotten back to the title game in consecutive years (Oklahoma, USC) but no team has won it twice in a row.

6. The Urban Meyer Situation

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    The uncertainty that’s swirled around Urban Meyer’s role as head coach at Florida since his reported health problems last winter and subsequent temporary resignation could be a potential issue for the stability of the team. Meyer scaled back his role as a recruiter this offseason, but was still reportedly involved and working in spite of his increased time off.

    He similarly took off extra time between January and the start of his team’s spring practices. There is no way to know for sure what effect this has on the team’s confidence and comfort in their coach, but his health has long been an issue, due to his approach of immersing himself in coaching and shirking his duties to take care of himself properly.

    If another health scare pops up and he is forced to truly resign, it could throw the SEC stalwart Gators into a realm of uncertainty.

5. Ascent of Mid-Majors

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    There are more teams across the country now playing tougher schedules that get rated well by the BCS, who also have the ability to go undefeated and rise up the in-season rankings. SEC fans may scoff at the notion that their teams may be passed over, but squads like TCU and Boise State have been on the rise for a number of seasons now.

    Boise State is poised to jump to a bigger conference in time, but they are also fully-loaded this season with aspirations of finally graduating from one of the lower BCS bowls to the big game.

    And with the threats that linger elsewhere in the other large conferences across the country, an SEC team slotting in to the title game is certainly in the most jeopardy this year.

4. The Big Ten

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    Could the Big Ten start to challenge the SEC as a powerhouse conference in the nation? It's possible, as there are at least three teams capable of becoming large factors on the national stage. Ohio State is the early season favorite as a team capable of unseating Alabama as the national champion, and they return stud quarterback Terrelle Pryor to a formidable offensive squad.

    Similarly impressive are Iowa, Wisconsin, and Penn State, making this the type of conference that could rival the SEC for dominance nationally.

3. The Lost Talent

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    Alabama and Florida lost a ton of players to the NFL after their great seasons in 2009, and the level of experience and accomplishment lost with guys like Tim Tebow and Rolando McLain will be extremely hard to replace.

    Alabama lost virtually their entire defense, which was a vital part of how they got to the title game last year. This leads into the next reason why it seems unlikely either team can get to the top of the college football landscape.

2. Inexperience

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    The top teams in the conference, while returning great talents like Mark Ingram at Alabama, will be relying heavily on untested freshman and sophomores to make huge impacts in 2010. The task of replacing Tim Tebow falls to John Brantley, an extremely difficult undertaking that could make or break him early on in the eyes of the Gator Nation.

    Great teams often have a hard time leaning on inexperienced players to carry them back to championships, and this will no doubt play a part in confounding the hopes of the SEC's powers.

1. The Law of Averages

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    The SEC is a perfect 6-0 in national title games, and has dominated the national college football landscape for the last four years. While there is still ample talent remaining in the conference, and also joining the conference for this upcoming season, the level of play has risen to the point where it is almost too grueling for a team to survive.

    Furthermore sustaining such a pace of overwhelming success as a conference seems like a tough proposition given the changing landscape both in the SEC and in other conferences across the nation. As a result, 2010 will not be the SEC's year, for the first time in a long time.