First, let’s be clear, the SEC is the most talented football conference in the nation. However, just how much better the SEC is than everyone else is less clear. Many people have bought into the notion of SEC superiority so wholeheartedly that they are now unable to seriously consider a team from another conference as a legitimate national title contender.
Playing in the national championship is not a birthright, it is something that teams earn. Right now though, it seems like the SEC is all but guaranteed a spot in the title game. Assuming Notre Dame beats USC, they are in, and will play the winner of the Georgia vs. Alabama game — so long as neither of those teams lose their regular season finale (go Jackets!). Georgia and Alabama are both talented one-loss teams; but it is wrong how one loss SEC teams are favored so strongly by humans, and thus computers too, just because of their conference.
Why not a one-loss ACC team? Consider Florida State. FSU is currently ranked 10th in the BCS standings, behind five SEC teams. Two of these SEC teams, LSU and Texas A&M, both have two loses. FSU’s one loss this season came relatively early in the season on the road vs. NC State. Usually it is better to lose early in the season, yet Alabama lost just two weeks ago and is second in the BCS. FSU’s best win of the season came against Clemson, another one-loss ACC team wrongly buried behind SEC teams. FSU has two remaining regular season games: against rival Florida, and ACC Coastal Division Champion Georgia Tech. Should FSU win these two games, that would mean two more quality victories. Compare this to Georgia, who has a clear route to the national title available to them. UGA’s only signature win was a sloppy victory over Florida, whom FSU will have a chance to beat too, and their only loss was a beat down by South Carolina. Georgia is 1-1 in premiere games this season and has the 46th-ranked strength of schedule according to the Sagarin ratings. Other SEC teams mirror this pattern of one quality in-conference win, and one or two in-conference losses.
Florida State and Clemson have a right to be angry that they are not in the title game picture, and so does everyone else. Just ask Oregon and Kansas State. Kansas State has a better strength of schedule than ‘Bama or UGA; Kansas State has signature wins against Oklahoma, Texas Tech, West Virginia, and Oklahoma State. Meanwhile Oregon has beaten Arizona, Washington, USC, and their only loss came in OT to a very good Stanford team. There is a strong case for all of these teams having a more impressive resume than Alabama, Georgia, or Florida.
The point is that college football society has become so obsessed with SEC superiority, that it has become unfairly biased towards SEC teams. Top-to-bottom, the SEC is not especially deep, and the best wins for SEC teams came against other SEC teams. You may agree or disagree that FSU and Clemson should be in the national title discussion right now. But there is no good reason for the insistence on doubling down on SEC’s title game entitlement every year without objectively analyzing every teams qualifications. Who knows, maybe a selection committee will help.