Look, it's the first weekend of December, which means it's time for the SEC to give LSU its annual piece of coal. And we're supposed to smile and take it or else we're "butthurt" or "whiners" despite a consistent pattern of 20 years of the SEC giving LSU the worst possible postseason destination.
And to be clear, this isn't about Clemson, which is a fine team. It's not even really about the Peach Bowl, which has gained some stature in recent years. It's not even about Chick-Fil-A, as I find their sandwiches to be delicious. Someone among the SEC's top six was gonna take one for the team and end up in the Peach Bowl despite a 10 win season. It's just completely unsurprising that the program that has to lie on the grenade is LSU. Because if there's a chance to send LSU to a lesser bowl, the SEC will usually take it. When it comes to league politics, LSU is a consistent loser.
The 2012 LSU team is the highest ranked team in the nation not going to a January 1st bowl. The Peach Bowl has only had five top ten teams play in their bowl game in its history -- two of those are LSU squads and one of them played an LSU team. I just want that statement to marinate, so you can realize just how badly the SEC is screwing LSU over. What's worse is that this is the standard way of things.
This is not a BCS issue, it is an SEC issue. The SEC has made a habit of consistently mistreating LSU and failing to treat LSU like what it is, one of the marquee programs in the nation. In the past decade, there are only a handful of programs that can even claim to have achieved a similar level of success as LSU. In addition, we sell out stadiums and bring boffo TV ratings. The SEC has responded by treating us like Vanderbilt.*
*Vanderbilt, by the way, is also getting hosed. I feel for them, but that's part of being Vandy. My point is that LSU is being treated like one of the lesser programs in the conference despite a phenomenal level of success. The way to get respect is to win. Unless you're LSU. Winning titles and consistently finishing in the top 10 has gotten us bupkis.
Does it matter what bowl you go to if you miss the BCS? Of course it does. In a few years, morons will be using this as an excuse to batter Miles (he didn't go to a New Year's Day Bowl in 2012). Hell, morons are using that line now. What's most galling is that this is not a one-off thing, this is a near every year thing. Don't believe me? A timeline...
1992: The SEC expands and divisional play begins. LSU is mired in a three-year losing streak and has only won one conference title (and shared another) in the past two decades. Permanent rivalries are created with Eastern teams despite the fact LSU has no permanent rivalry with any of the Eastern teams. LSU is assigned Kentucky and Florida. Florida has just emerged as a national power.
1995: LSU ends its streak of six straight losing seasons. 6-5 Georgia goes to the Peach Bowl, and 6-4-1 LSU gets sent to the Independence Bowl. We're too happy to be going bowling to complain.
1996: 9-2 LSU is in a three-way tie in the SEC with teams with the same record. Tennessee goes to the Citrus, SECCG loser Alabama goes to the Outback. LSU gets the worst bowl of the three, and goes to the Peach, where LSU wins its 10th game.
1997: 8-3 LSU is 6-2 in the SEC with an OOC loss to Notre Dame, but loses the tiebreaker to Auburn. SECCG loser Auburn gets sent to the Peach. Fellow 6-2 SEC squads Florida and Georgia both get January 1 bowls: the Citrus and Outback, respectively.
1998-99: The Dinardo era ends badly. LSU fails to go to a bowl. But a quick recap of the previous three years: LSU has been involved in a tie in the standings three times, and sent to the lesser bowl each and every time.
2000: Saban gets LSU back to the bowls. 7-4 LSU is 5-3 in the SEC, the same exact record as South Carolina and Georgia. Tennessee is 8-3, but also 5-3 in the SEC. Tennessee goes to the Cotton, South Carolina to the Outback. LSU gets shipped to the Peach Bowl while Georgia gets sent to the Oahu Classic. Technically a lesser bowl, but come on, it's in Hawaii. LSU can't win for losing.
2001: LSU wins the SEC. Goes to the Sugar Bowl by rule. It is the first time since SEC expansion that LSU is not sent to a "lesser" bowl, mainly because the rules do not allow it.
2002: An 8-4 LSU squad is in a three-way tie with Auburn and Tennessee. 8-4 Florida is 6-2 in the SEC and goes to the Outback. Auburn gets the Citrus Bowl. Tennessee goes to the Peach and LSU goes to the Cotton. It is the first time since SEC expansion that LSU does not get sent to the worst possible postseason destination allowable by rule. Instead, we get sent to the bowl we likely deserve. SECCG loser Arkansas, by the way, gets screwed with a Music City Bowl invite.
2003: LSU wins the SEC and national title. SEC politics largely a non-factor. Now is a good time to point out the SEC got rid of two permanent rivals in 2002. LSU, who had five losing seasons in the SEC's first decade, gets Florida as its permanent rival, who has won the East seven times. Everyone agrees this is fair.
2004: A 9-2 LSU squad is tied with Georgia. LSU goes to the Citrus Bowl while Georgia gets sent to the Outback. Time to celebrate, Tiger fans! This is the first time in 20 years that LSU will get the better bowl when in a tie with another SEC team. We promptly lose to Iowa.
2005: LSU goes 10-1 in the regular season, then loses in the SECCG. This is the Katrina team that didn't have a bye week all season, and the team just ran out of gas against Georgia. 9-2 Auburn goes to the Citrus, 9-2 Alabama goes to the Cotton, and 8-3 Florida goes to Outback. The SEC moves decisively to prevent its SECCG loser from falling to the Peach Bowl. No, just kidding. LSU becomes only the third top 10 team to fall to the Peach Bowl, playing the fourth top 10 team to fall in Miami. Given the circumstances of 2005, it makes this year is a sick joke. LSU slides behind three teams it was AHEAD of in the standings. It is the worst screw job in relation to bowl position in the SEC's history.
2006: 10-2 LSU is 6-2 in the SEC and loses the SEC West due to losing its cross over game against Florida (LSU also beat #17 Tennessee). Arkansas beats Tennessee as well, as well as the only two East teams with a losing conference record. LSU's more difficult conference schedule costs them the SEC West title, but the BCS saves the #4 ranked team in the nation and LSU gets a Sugar Bowl bid. The SEC taketh, but also giveth.
2007: LSU becomes the first two-loss team to win a national title. Georgia has a real case they were the best team by season's end, but they lose the tiebreaker to Tennessee and fail to make the SECCG. But the big thing in LSU's favor is not the SEC media machine but the fact Virginia Tech is the #3 team and the top option to go the title game... and they lost to LSU 48-7. The theme here is that the BCS bowls have largely been kinder to LSU than the SEC has.
2008: South Carolina and LSU are both 7-5. USC goes to the Outback, LSU to the Peach. Again, LSU loses a head to head tiebreaker.
2009: Only three SEC teams have a winning record in conference. LSU is one of them at 5-3, and goes to the Citrus Bowl with no complaint, as there really wasn't another option.
2010: LSU and Arkansas are both 10-2 and 6-2 in conference. Due to the all-encompassing importance of head to head, Arkansas goes to the Sugar Bowl. 9-3 Alabama goes to the Citrus Bowl, because head to head didn't matter in that case, nor did conference finish or overall record. LSU drops to the Cotton.
2011: LSU beats Alabama head to head on the road. As a reward, LSU has to play Georgia in the SECCG while Bama gets to skate into the BCSCG. LSU gets a rematch with a team they had a better record than, finished ahead of in conference, and beat head to head on the road.
2012: There's essentially a six way tie between 10-win teams. Bama wins the SEC and Florida goes to the Sugar by virtue of playing the toughest schedule. LSU is 2-0 against the remaining three teams. Head to head cease to matter, and LSU is sent to the worst possible bowl.
If you're scoring at home, that's seven times LSU has been sent to a lesser bowl when involved in a tiebreaker. Often, LSU has been leapfrogged by teams it finished ahead of in the standings. Only twice has LSU "won" a tiebreaker, and one of those times was 2006, when LSU finished #3 in the country and didn't win the West due to its difficult schedule, created by the permanent rivalries, which we oppose.
It's not that the SEC is out to get LSU, it's just that there are programs it has to "take care of", and that is certainly not LSU. LSU has consistently gotten the short end of the stick in bowl selection and sent to the less prestigious bowl. And now the SEC intervenes to help Georgia? Are you kidding me?
The SEC gives us the toughest schedule and as a reward, if we end up with the same record as one of the teams with an easier schedule, they get the better bowl. Even if we beat them head to head.
I'm sick of just going along with things. LSU gets consistently hosed by the SEC, and it's time to stop making nice. We should support a nine game schedule and the elimination of permanent rivalries. If the SEC won't reward us for playing the tougher game, then screw Auburn and Bama getting to preserve some relic from the 1970s. We should oppose the SECCG always being in Atlanta, and certainly the baseball tourney in Hoover. We should propose that if we have to play on the Friday after Thanksgiving every year, so must Alabama and Auburn. If they aren't going to treat us like an equal partner, then let's burn this mother down. I'm sick of playing nice while they screw us in the back rooms.
It's just another instance of the man keeping us down. Let's take it out on Clemson.