The gap between the SEC West and SEC East is such that a few changes need to be implemented to determine who plays in the SEC Championship. The change is not so noticeable that it would happen every season, but it would be a fail-safe from what we are beginning to see in the conference championship game.
We saw this in the early and mid-90s when Florida and Tennessee were the best two teams in the SEC, but only one team could represent the East in Atlanta. The West has fallen victim to this in both 2010 and 2011. Funny thing is, my proposal still would not have changed who played in Atlanta.
What the deuce, then, am I talking about?
I'm glad you asked. When South Carolina head coach Steve Spurrier said this week that only the divisional record should count toward who played in the SEC Championship Game, it made me think, "What?!?!?! Of course you do. The East is already so weak that they need more of an advantage to back into Atlanta while every team in the West has to beat the Packers and Giants to get in."
This is the same coach whose team actually benefitted from playing in a weak East and using the West to help the Gamecocks advance to their first trip to Atlanta. Of course, had his rule been in effect, he would have still gone because of his team's three SEC losses, two were to teams from the West (Auburn and Arkansas). And as they do at least once per season, an inexplicable loss -- at Kentucky.
So I say all that to say this. It's time for the two best teams to play in the Georgia Dome in December even if it is two teams from the same division.
Again, this new wrinkle would only show up every 10-to-12 years -- if at all.
The 2010 season is probably the closest we've come to seeing a scenario where this wrinkle would actually have been implemented.
The new rule should state that if the number one team in one division is not two games better AND ranked higher in the BCS standings as the second best team in the other division, the second place team from the other division would go to Atlanta.
Example: In 2010, LSU had only one loss in the SEC until the Arkansas game. Had they not blown that game in Little Rock and won, they would have finished 7-1 in the conference, but would have finished second to 8-0 Auburn in the West. So, for the sake of this example, let's say LSU doesn't blow all kinds of coverage versus Arkansas and wins in Little Rock. While LSU finishes 7-1 in the SEC and is ranked 10 spots higher in the BCS than South Carolina, the Gamecocks finish 5-3 in the SEC and somehow win the East. Oh, but wait. LSU is two games better than South Carolina AND they are ahead of the Gamecocks in the BCS standings. Thus, LSU gets to play Auburn again in Atlanta. A rematch, if you will. Rematch. Not sure LSU would have accepted a rematch, being that they are so against rematches.
I feel rather certain that The Ol' Ball Coach would not dig this particular rule change, but it is the fairest of them all. No, it doesn't shake up the college football world like conference realignment, but it could affect the game as much as overtime did. Overtime only shows up when asked and it solves one problem that hindered the game for decades -- ties.
This new rule change would solve the one problem that hinders the SEC Championship Game every few years -- extremely overmatched teams from one division getting pummeled by a far superior team from the other division.
Well, kind of. The West has outscored the East in the previous two SEC Championship Games, 98-27. And the 2011 champion lost in the BCS Championship Game 21-0 to the second place team in the West.
[Sighs] It's only April. Our discussion is relegated to this stuff for five more months.Back to the Alabama Crimson Tide Newsfeed