I've stated in the past that one of my least favorite things about the BCS, other than pressure to play a weaker schedule, is that it requires coaches to lobbyists and PR men. I don't like it, but I understand it's part of the job. A coach has to create a narrative to help his team in order to get a better bowl bid or go to the title game. Hey, Miles is the guy who pounded the "undefeated in regulation" meme into the ground.
But it takes a special kind of soul-crushing hypocrisy for Nick Saban to say this:
"It's not really a great scenario," he said Sunday on a teleconference. "You play your way into the (SEC) championship game, which means you're the best team in your division... It doesn't seem quite right, but it is what it is. I don't really know what me commenting about it is going to do to change it. But I don't feel good about it."
Let me start by saying, "Are you fucking kidding me?" The sheer balls on that man. Last year, Saban was preaching the eyeball test and how they were second best team in the nation, with his Alabama sycophants just eating that line up, and now he's talking about how he doesn't "feel good" about a one-loss Florida team finishing ahead of an SECCG participant? I mean, lobbying is part of football, but rarely does a coach completely contradict what he said the previous year. Can we officially just ignore everything this guy says? With the demise of Petrino, there's no question who the most dishonest coach in the SEC is.
Saban's allowed to campaign for his team. He should campaign for his team. But how about he do it in a way that isn't quite such a brazen lie? How about just a measure of consistency from last season? Not, "hey, ignore everything I said last year, NOW I'm telling you how I really feel." I swear. The dude is just trolling LSU fans now. He's the Gannett reporter of SEC coaches. We can just ignore the things he says as self-serving BS. I know most of what almost every coach says is self-serving BS, but at least put some effort into it. This is just lazy self-serving BS. I demand high quality.
But know what we shouldn't feel good about? That the two best teams in the SEC aren't in Atlanta. Yeah, I said it. Rules is rules, and that's the way things go, and let's be honest, Georgia has been on the other side of this before. They've been the superior team left at home, so they deserve their time on top of the old Wheel of Fortuna.
But the SEC is an extremely top-heavy conference this year. There are six top tier teams, two middle of the pack teams, and six teams ranging from "meh" to "dumpster fire". The top six teams are evenly divided between the two divisions and combined to lose precisely zero games to the other eight teams in the conference.
By the design of the schedule, a team had to play at least two of the top six, but could play no more than four due to the limits of the number of cross-divisional games. It is absolutely no surprise, that in a conference with six teams of roughly equal quality, the two teams which won their divisions were the ones who only had to play two of the top six. And look at the standings of the Top Division teams against one another:
South Carolina 1-2
Texas A&M 1-2
What jumps out at you? OK, it jumped out at me. But it is this, Florida is clearly the best team in the SEC this year. They have the best resume, and they also have the best out of conference win as some sort of cherry on top. They played the hardest schedule, and then beat the most of elite level teams while also only going through their slate with one loss.
Sure, LSU had a tougher schedule, but LSU only went .500 against the elite teams, giving them little to stand on. Alabama and Georgia also both went 500, albeit in only half of the games against the elite level teams. But LSU didn't show it was better against the elite teams, just that they played more of them. Florida played more and beat more. They proved it.
Fair? Nick Saban is complaining about fair? What isn't fair is that the best team in the SEC, the team that has played five teams in the BCS top 15, is locked out of Atlanta and the national title. Florida has four wins over the BCS top 15. That's more than Alabama (1), Georgia (1), and Notre Dame (1) combined. The three teams ranked ahead of Florida in the BCS standings are a combined 3-2 against the BCS top 15. Florida is 4-1. At the end of next week, the current top three will match Florida's quality win total by posting a combined 4-3 record.
Nick Saban is absolutely correct. This doesn't seem quite right. One team has gone out and proven their quality on the field. They played the toughest possible schedule in the nation's toughest conference, and then added a game against Florida St. just for kicks. If every game is supposed to matter, Florida has proven it on the field. The only member of the top three to have an argument over Florida is Georgia, due to the head to head matchup.
But right now, Florida has done more on the field than any other team in the country. They don't pass the eyeball test, they pass the actual accomplishments test. I don't like Florida, and I'm not a fan of their team or their coach, but let's be fair... the Gators are getting hosed.
Once again, the games played on the field don't matter. I'd love to blame this on the BCS, but this is the structure of the SEC. The team with the best season will go home with some loving parting gifts, but no title. And the coach of one of the teams which has accomplished less on the field but is reaping greater rewards has the gall to complain that it's not fair?
No. It isn't fair. Just not in the way you think.