Monday, January 07, 2008

On Interconference Gamesmanship

After the Peach Bowl was over, and they were preparing the awards ceremony, the crowd began to chant, "SEC! SEC!"  I turned to my friend Adam Epling and said "Fuck the SEC, go Auburn."  I am quite frankly getting tired of the notion that we should cheer for a team because they belong to the same conference that we do. 

These are our rivals!  Do we really want LSU to have won 2 national championships in the last 5 years?  I refuse to accept that the fact that Alabama beat Colorado helps us in any way.  I equally feel that Florida losing to Michigan says exactly nothing about the quality of Auburn's football program. 

This conference gamesmanship stems from the fact that the NCAA Division IA football championship is a mythical construct that has more to do with opinion than fact.  And I hate it that Auburn played a large role in the constant one-upsmanship between conference fans.

As we all know, in 2004 an undefeated Auburn team was deemed unworthy to play for a national championship, primarily because the University of Southern California and the University of Oklahoma began the season ranked higher than Auburn.  Fans of other SEC schools immediately rallied to our defense for fear that they to could someday be left out in a similar situation.  The PAC 10 was soft, the Big 10 played nothing but cupcakes, the Big East was really the Big Least.  These became the litany of all SEC fans.  Every victory by an SEC team over one from another conference supported the cause, and for every loss, an excuse could be found.

This way of thinking came to a head last season when, in the last week of the season, Florida jumped over Michigan in  the polls in the last week of the season, even though Michigan didn't play a game.  And it was seemingly validated when Florida demolished Ohio State with a blindingly fast defense.

But I think that we learned the wrong lesson back in 2004.  The notion that we have to cheer louder and harder for teams that we hate, just to prove that we face tougher opposition and are therefore more worthy of national ranking when it comes to deciding national champions.  This is ridiculous.  How can any sensible person possibly support a system like this?

I say reject the system.  The real lesson of 2004 is that there is no such thing as a national champion in Division 1A football.  So simply cheer for your team to win, cheer for your rivals to lose, and in all other games, cheer for whoever you like.  Don't feel obligated to support a team that 364 days out of the year you can't stand just because you think it says something about the quality of your competition.  So fuck LSU.  Fuck the SEC.  Go Buckeyes!

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