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The C is for Choke

Wednesday, January 11, 2017 16:01
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I did not watch the national championship game Monday. However, when I learned of the results on Tuesday morning, I was rather amused. More on that later. Honestly, I had no real interest or dog in the fight, since Florida State (FSU) wasn’t playing.

English: Locations of the ACC member schools, ...
English: Locations of the ACC member schools, with the additions of Syracuse and Pittsburgh (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

“But Sheepdog, why not support the ACC?” I don’t get into the whole conference loyalty thing. It makes no sense to me. If the ONLY reason someone is rooting for a team is because they are from the same conference or division as their team, in my opinion, it’s like a chicken rooting for the hawk simply because the hawk has feathers. Why support “the enemy” that is competing for the same recruits and same championship your team is?

“But, but the conference will earn extra revenue if they win?” So. I don’t care about money. It’s all about the wins and championships for me.

“Sheepdog, now you’re just being a sore loser since FSU didn’t make it.” Naw. I don’t think so. FSU had about the year I expected. This year’s team was young and breaking in a new, freshman quarterback, so I thought it would be more of a re-building year with quite the learning curve. At the beginning of the season, I felt like the team would go 9-3, 10-2 at best, in the regular season. I figured they would lose to both Clemson and Louisville, but the loss to North Carolina surprised me. I thought if there was a 3rd loss it would be to Miami on the road.

If you know an FSU fan who was claiming,”This is our year”, then here’s a word to the wise – don’t take any advice from them as to whom to lay that upcoming Super Bowl bet down on. They don’t know football very well. Was it possible for FSU to make a championship run this year? Yes, absolutely. It was possible but highly unlikely. The talent is there, but not the experience. Now, if that same friend makes the same prediction for say 2018, listen to them, because the ‘Noles will for sure be back. They just need a little time. In the next year or 2, they’ll be back in the hunt.

So, Tuesday morning’s news of Clemson’s victory, the scoring summary of the game, and how the game ended provided a few laughs as I sipped my early morning, cold, Mountain Dew. As I read the synopsis, my mind raced back to Christmas 2013 and the words of my uncle. With the 2014 national championship game, in which FSU was playing Auburn, just a few days away, his opinion was, “They (Auburn) are gonna roll all over that team from that “itty bitty conference”. In other words, there was no way an ACC team could compete with an SEC team. Ha! We know how that turned out, don’t we?

Now, here’s something interesting – there are a number of similarities between Monday night’s game and the one from 2014:

  • In 2014, Auburn led FSU by 14+ points in the 1st half and by 10+ in the 2nd half.
  • In 2017, Alabama led Clemson by 14+ points in the 1st half and by 10+ in the 2nd half.
  • In 2014, Auburn gave up up 21 points to FSU in the 4th quarter and lost.
  • In 2017, Alabama gave up 21 points to Clemson in the 4th quarter and lost.
  • In 2014, Auburn gave up the winning TD with 13 seconds left.
  • In 2017, Alabama gave up the winning TD with 1 second left.

Interesting, huh? “So, Sheepdog what’s your point?”

English: Logo of the Southeastern Conference (...
English: Logo of the Southeastern Conference (SEC). (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

My point is that all this talk about the SEC being “The Best Football Conference” needs to stop. That narrative is dead. That dog don’t hunt. The final nail is in the coffin. Not only does such propaganda show a lack of respect for other conferences and other good football teams, it is also completely false.

I’m not the only one who feels this way, either. Others who are fans of teams from the Big 12, Big 10, ACC, and PAC 12 feel the same way. There are good teams all across the country. For example, Washington had its best team in years in 2016. Penn State is back competing for championships, and several other teams are just a year or two, or a player or two from making championship runs of their own. One conference does not, and never has, owned college football. For the SEC fans who don’t understand why so many dislike the SEC, now you know. No one likes arrogance.

Please also note that this year the SEC had a losing record in bowl games, going 6-7, while the ACC went 9-3 and 5 other conferences had winning records (read here). In fact, the SEC was only 1 of 4 conferences with a losing record in bowl games this year. Furthermore, in the last 4 years, only 1 conference has won 2 or more national championships in football – the “itty bitty” ACC. So, if folks want to continue to carry on about “The Best Football Conference”, then the ACC has a great argument that such distinction belongs to them. So, if waging that argument is your thing, have at it.

The fact is that this is now twice in the last 4 years that a team from the supposedly mighty SEC playing in the national championship has choked away:

  1. a 2-touchdown lead in the 1st half,
  2. a double digit lead in the 2nd half,
  3. gave up 21 points in the 4th quarter,
  4. gave up the winning TD with less than 15 seconds to go, and 
  5. lost to a team from that “itty bitty conference”, the ACC.

The C in “SEC” now stands for CHOKE.



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