The University of Maine student newspaper since 1875
Wednesday, Oct. 7, 3:46 p.m.

SEC benefits from flawed ranking system in college football

One week after the University of Alabama thought their national title hopes slipped away, not one, but two upsets have them back in the front seat of the Associated Press and Bowl Championship Series rankings.

Why is it that Alabama is always ranked like they have one less loss than everybody else? They have been No. 1 for the majority of the season and the only way that teams like Kansas State, Oregon and Notre Dame got ahead was because Alabama lost one game before they did. Now that Oregon and Kansas State have lost, Alabama gets in front of them again. Did Alabama start off the year with a 0-(-1) record?

I understand that they are the defending national champions and come from a conference that has produced the last five national champions, but why does that give them a leg up?

If the BCS is going to give the Southeastern Conference the advantage when there is a tie in the record, why are they even included in the same pool?

In Division I college football, there are two sub-categories: the Football Championship Subdivision and the Football Bowl Subdivision. FCS includes teams such as the University of Maine, with the FBS including teams such as Alabama. If the favoritism towards the SEC continues in the FBS, the NCAA should consider making the SEC secede from the FBS to form its own sub-category, because the rankings the past few years have been ridiculous.

Last year, the national championship game was between Louisiana State and Alabama. Two teams from the same conference should not be in the national championship game. These two teams played each other already in the regular season, with LSU winning 9-6 in overtime. If you look at the final standings in the season, Oklahoma State was in the same position that this year’s Oregon and Kansas State teams are in.

Oklahoma State was No. 2 with a 10-0 record and Alabama was No. 3 with a 9-1 record. Oklahoma State lost in double overtime in a road conference game. What happened in the standings baffles me to this day, as Alabama jumped to No. 2 and Oklahoma State fell three spots to No. 5. When you are penalized that much for losing a road conference game, there is something seriously wrong with the ranking system.

Why does the SEC get better treatment when it comes to rankings? I find it funny that they keep the non-SEC teams high ranked when they are undefeated, and then when they get their first loss, an SEC team that already has one loss takes their spot. Georgia and Alabama have taken Oregon and Kansas State’s spots, while an Ohio State team that has yet to lose is somehow on the outside looking in.

What this tells me is that if Notre Dame loses to USC next week, there will be two SEC teams on top for the second year in a row. I can practically guarantee it.

The four team playoff that is supposed to take effect in the 2014 season will not change things a bit, because if the top two spots continue to be taken by one-loss SEC teams, then there is a guarantee that an SEC team will still play in the national championship game.

True, the SEC does have a tougher quality of opponent than the Pac-12, but look at its non-conference schedule. This past week alone, teams like Florida, South Carolina and Georgia played FCS teams. Most college football teams put these weaker opponents in the beginning of the season. Why do SEC teams schedule cupcake games this late in the year? To preserve their records and keep their standings.

There has to be reform to the way college football chooses their top 25. Otherwise, conference favoritism will continue, and the next national champions will always be between the same teams, year in and year out. Find a way to give others a chance, NCAA. These programs that have the perfect build once in a while like Kansas State need a shot, or else you’d might as well call the SEC championship game the national title game.