College Football: Are Coaches Displaying a Bias Against the SEC?

Brett StephenAnalyst IIOctober 3, 2011

BATON ROUGE, LA - NOVEMBER 06:  Drake Nevis #92 of the Louisiana State University Tigers in action during the game against the Alabama Crimson Tide  at Tiger Stadium on November 6, 2010 in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.  (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)
Chris Graythen/Getty Images

The Oklahoma Sooners started out the 2011 season atop the Associated Press and USA Today Coaches’ polls.

After five weeks of play, the Sooners are still the No. 1 team among coaches, despite dropping to No. 3 in the AP rankings. 

The AP is obviously rewarding strength of schedule as LSU and Alabama have leapfrogged the Sooners.

Alabama holds the No. 2 spot after expected wins over Kent State, Penn State and North Texas and dominating wins over ranked conference opponents Arkansas and Florida.

LSU has played an even tougher schedule with three of their first five opponents being ranked.  Dominating wins over Oregon, West Virginia and Mississippi State (all on the road) have launched the Tigers to the top of the AP rankings.

Oklahoma, on the other hand, has played their typical powder puff schedule to open the season. 

The Sooners have beaten perennial powerhouses Tulsa and Ball State in convincing fashion and squeaked out victories over Florida State (2-2) and Missouri (2-2).

Even with a bye week to prepare for Florida State, the Sooners struggled against the Seminoles as well as Missouri, the only two remotely competitive schools on their schedule thus far.

Anyone with any common sense would look at the schedules of Oklahoma, LSU and Alabama and know that one of these is not like the others.

However, the Sooners still remain atop the Coaches’ poll.

One can only speculate as to why this is the case.

Why do coaches around the nation think Oklahoma deserves a higher ranking than LSU or Alabama?

Could there possibly be politics influencing these rankings?

I can’t imagine anything unethical or corrupt in college football, so that can’t be the case?

Are non-SEC coaches trying to end the SEC’s streak of dominance in the BCS National Championship? Maybe. 

Although I could appreciate their desire to see a competitive title game for a change as opposed to the annual stomping laid down by the SEC representative, the best teams should be ranked at the top, despite conference affiliations.

Ultimately the rankings don’t matter for LSU and Bama at this point in the season because the two face off in a few weeks.  

In all likelihood, the winner will represent the SEC against Wisconsin or Oklahoma in New Orleans and make the SEC 8-0 in BCS title games and give them six championships in a row.

Boise State fans…this is where you make the ridiculous argument that for some reason you deserve to play in the title game despite playing one of the weakest schedules in college football. 

But back to reality, where top five collegiate teams play a schedule tougher than that of my high school team and grass is green, not blue.

The SEC has the opportunity to write its own ticket into the BCS National Championship and not rely on politics and voting.

The SEC champion will more than likely play in the BCS National Championship game in New Orleans, where LSU has won the last two times the game has been played.

As for fans who want to see the two best teams in the nation battle, tune in Nov. 5 when LSU travels to Tuscaloosa to battle the Crimson Tide in what promises to be an epic battle.