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Monday, September 13, 2004

Speaking of the SEC sucking...

Last year, when a federal court ruled in favor of Maurice Clarett, Mike Williams immediately hired an agent and declared that he, too, wanted to enter the draft. Another rather big name to do so was LSU's Marquise Hill. Now, there's this huge clambor in the media (okay, by "the media" I really mean "ESPN and SI") to let Mike play, and criticizing the NCAA for not allowing him to do so back at USC.

There are a couple annoying problems, though. First, as previously mentioned, Hill did pretty much exactly the same thing as Williams, but there has been virtually ZERO advocacy on his behalf. I'd like to believe that this is becuase he plays a position which is much less glamorous (DE as opposed to WR), but it seems like the bigger problem is that ESPN wants to fellate USC. LSU, despite being almost certainly a better team than USC last year, got infinitely less press. They got less favorable press (the "story" was how USC was being denied their rightful place as national champion, while LSU quietly was the national champion.).

I'm really not sure why. Michigan and USC were both horribly overhyped - Michigan's vaunted defense only faced one real passing team in the 2003 regular season - Oregon - and it happens to be a game they lost. They didn't have a good pass defense, but becuase they play in a run-first-run-often conference, nobody really noticed. USC lost to Cal - a team who finished 6-6. They also never played a decent out of conference team. If they want to really prove they're good, they should probably schedule out of conference games against someone tougher than CSU.

LSU and Oklahoma, on the other hand, didn't play powderpuffs. LSU played Georgia twice, Ole Miss, and so on. And you know what? They only game where they gave up really ANY points was against Arkansas, and that was pretty much becuase they started pulling players after they got an enormous lead early. Oklahoma, for all their late-season meltdown troubles, beat Texas (who was ranked 5th at the time) by 52 points. They held Tech to three touchdowns.

And the problem is, this is almost certainly going to happen again this year. USC doesn't have a single tough game the entire year. Cal is going to be the only one against a ranked opponant, unless Notre Dame continues their winning (though they'll probably be this year's Florida - incredibly talented and totally inexperienced). At the end of the season, they will be at worst 11-1, unless they experience a meltdown. If they are worse than 11-1, they probably don't deserve to be in anything better than the Holiday bowl - but becuase "human voting" (ie: bandwagon) determines rankings and BCS rating this year much more than last, people will keep on loving the Trojans for accomplishing basically nothing.

It really is all about media markets. The South is already covered, but the west coast is a place which hasn't recently had a nationally covered collge program in the same measure as the midwest or south. So they're going to pretend USC is much better than they are, becuase it increases viewership in a key timezone. Great.

cranked out at 1:45 PM | |

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