In a year where many claimed the Big Ten was having a “down year,” the conference as a whole achieved something incredible.
Getting two teams in the College Football Playoff is a great feat. In the previous eight editions of the CFP, a conference has sent two teams to it only twice. Any guesses who that conference was? The Pac-12.
I’m just kidding, that was a stupid question. Of course, it’s the SEC. In 2017 and 2021 the nation’s best conference sent Alabama and Georgia. Who on both occasions won their semi-final game and met in the championship.
So again, for the Big Ten to have two representatives in the playoff is awesome and great for the conference.
And both teams were well-deserved to be there. Michigan had an undefeated season and won the conference. Ohio State’s only blemish was to the Wolverines in the last game of the regular season.
And there was no other one-loss team to debate Ohio State with. Alabama and Tennessee both had two losses. Pac-12 champ Utah had three. And ACC champion Clemson had two losses and issues at the quarterback position.
Many college football pundits agreed Ohio State should’ve been the fourth team. So there was little argument to see the Buckeyes earn the final bid.
But It Isn’t Good Enough
Unfortunately, this is where the praise ends. Both Michigan and Ohio State lost their semi-final games. The Wolverines were never in control of their tilt against TCU. The Buckeyes on the other hand were in control for most of their match against Georgia. But the Bulldogs clawed their way back and scored the go-ahead touchdown with just over a minute left in the game.
At the end of the day, both Big Ten teams lost. You can argue that Ohio State should’ve beat Georgia. But they didn’t. And that’s really all that matters. Two teams are playing for a national championship next week and neither are from the Big Ten.
If the Big Ten wants to get on the same tier as the SEC, they need to start making (and winning) the national championship game more often.
In 9 renditions of the college football playoff, the Big Ten has played in the finale twice. The very first one, in which Ohio State won, and then in 2020 when they lost to Alabama.
The Big Ten as a whole is 3-7 in the playoffs. Not great. The SEC is 15-5 and the ACC is 6-6. It’s worth noting that all six of their wins are courtesy of Clemson.
This is why when people complain about the “SEC bias” I laugh because they have earned that bias. This isn’t some mythical thing ESPN just made up out of thin air.
The SEC has won five of the eight championships since the CFP was introduced. There’s been two seasons where the national championship consisted of two SEC teams. Do you really still think the SEC doesn’t deserve a little bias? Of course, they do.
So while yes, the Big Ten had a great season, they need to do more. They need to win more of these perception changing games. Or else, that SEC bias is going to continue to be a thing. And without beating them, there really ain’t shit you can do about it.
(AP Photo/AJ Mast)
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