Does SEC Deserve Hype from Last Two BCS Titles?

Ryan GemmellContributor ISeptember 19, 2008

41-14.  38-24.  Everyone knows the scores.  Everyone knows who was on the winning and losing end of each game.  The SEC has dominated Ohio State.

You can hear the rumble from one end of the country to the other: Ohio State is a fraud, they don't play anyone, they "suck."  These opinions come mostly from those in SEC country, where they have witnessed their teams battle out a grueling schedule week in and week out, and then dismantle the Buckeyes on the big stage. 

First off, let me state that I'm not anti-SEC or pro-OSU.  However, it's hard not to realize the fault in logic from anti-OSU, pro-SEC fans.

A lot of the hype that surrounds the SEC is derived from the fact they have won the last two national championships.  Florida and LSU were great teams, definitely worthy of playing in the title game.  OSU, on the other hand, proved they did not belong.

The hype surrounding the SEC could be diminished depending on whether fans believe beating OSU proved the SEC's dominance or illustrated how weak Ohio State was.  It can't be both. 

One quickly forgets that Ohio State was two wins away from going to the Rose Bowl and not making the BCS title game.  West Virginia lost to Pitt and Missouri lost to Oklahoma, throwing the Buckeyes into the title game against another SEC foe.

Seeing as how the Big Ten has not fared well in recent bowl games, outside of Penn State and Wisconsin, it's conceivable that had Florida played USC in '06 or LSU played USC, WVU, or Missouri in '07, the outcome of the Championship game could have been very different.

As an example, for all of the hype that the LSU defense received, at times they gave up big numbers.  In the close game against Florida, the Tigers defense gave up 5.4 yards per play and 4.9 yards per rush.  In the loss to Arkansas, LSU gave up 6.7 yards per play, and a whopping 7.3 yards per rush.

Given that both Arkansas and Florida gave LSU fits with a type of option/spread offense, WVU may have been better equipped to take down the Tigers.  No one ran the spread-option offense better than the Mountaineers, and neither Florida nor Arkansas fielded a top 10 defense like WVU did.

Had Pat White not been injured for the Pitt game, the outcome of the national title game could have been different.

The bottom line is simple: Either the SEC beat a very good Ohio State team two years in a row, proving that they are the dominant conference, or they beat an overrated, undeserving opponent, proving that they simply beat an inferior team and missed playing a more worthy opponent.

The SEC has built a lot of deserved respect stemming from the two straight championships and equally impressive 7-2 bowl record last season. However, the jury is still out on just how much better the SEC is.

A lot of the respect that has been earned could be diminished if they play USC or the Big 12 champion in the title game and lose.  Then all the talk about how "bad" Ohio State was may come back to haunt them.