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Muller: Conference Titles Should Determine Playoff Teams

Alabama celebrates its national championship. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)

Alabama celebrates its national championship. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)

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By Shawn Muller-

(CBS) I have said it once and I will say it again: If a team doesn’t win their conference championship, they SHOULD NOT be allowed to play for the national championship.  I don’t care if Alabama did beat LSU in last seasons’ BCS National Championship game, I still don’t believe that they deserved to be there in the first place.

I have been a proponent for a playoff for as long as I remember and—it appears, anyway—that we are moving closer and closer to it becoming a reality with conference commissioners all seemingly agreeing that a four-team playoff needs to happen.

But, if Southeastern Conference coaches get their way, and the playoff consists of the top four teams in the final rankings as opposed to it being tied to teams that won their conference championships, then I say, “No Thanks”.

University of Florida head coach Will Muschamp said, “I think it needs to be the four best teams in the country.  I don’t think it needs to be the conference champions because our league we might have four of the best teams in the country.”

You might be right, Mr. Muschamp.

Maybe the SEC will have “four of the best teams in the country”.

But that doesn’t mean it will—or does –have the four best teams in the nation.

All of us that live outside SEC country know that everyone involved with that conference—from the fans to the university presidents– think it is God’s gift to college football, but do they honestly think fans of Pac-12, Big 12, ACC, Big East, and Big Ten teams are really going to be interested in potentially seeing four SEC teams battling it out in the playoffs?

I understand that the SEC has had a stranglehold on national titles over the past six seasons, but that doesn’t mean the trend will continue in the future.

Coaches like Will Muschamp are operating under the assumption that SEC teams are the only ones in college football that have the chance to place the most teams inside the top four of the rankings.  But what happens if these coaches get their wish and not one SEC team finishes in the top four.

Is this scenario unlikely?  Probably.

But could it happen?  Yes.

People from SEC land were up in arms a few seasons ago when Big Ten fans felt that Michigan deserved another crack at Ohio State in the national championship game, but those same people were awfully quiet last year when the LSU-Alabama rematch was moving closer and closer and eventually becoming a reality.

Bottom line:  They can’t have it both ways.

This ridiculous assumption that every SEC team is that much better than the other top teams from around the country is comical at best.   I get tired of hearing about how “Team A had a great season, but they didn’t have to play an SEC schedule” or “I wonder how good Team A would have fared if they played in the vaunted SEC.”   Using conference affiliation to determine quality would be a huge mistake.

I am telling you right now; just because a team has the SEC logo sewn onto their shirt doesn’t automatically mean that they have magically become the top teams in the country.

Do Mississippi, Mississippi State, Vanderbilt, Arkansas, Tennessee, South Carolina, Missouri, and Texas A&M really strike that much fear into anyone?

Sure, Alabama, Auburn, LSU, Georgia, and Florida are traditional powers, but acting like each week during the SEC conference schedule means teams have to play an opponent that is on par with the New England Patriots is lazy.

If there is going to be a four-team playoff, then it needs to focus on teams that won their respective conference championship games.  It needs to ensure that the winner of the SEC, B1G, Big XII, Pac-12, ACC, and Big East (I guess) get the chance to have one of their teams throw their hat into the ring.

The NATIONAL championship game is supposed to determine the best team in the COUNTRY, not REGION.

Otherwise, let’s just turn the SEC Championship Game into the national title game and be done with it.

shawn muller 2 9 Muller: Conference Titles Should Determine Playoff Teams

Shawn Muller

Shawn Muller has lived in the great city of Chicago for 7 years. He is a 2002 graduate of the University of Wisconsin-Madison and, in October of 2010, Shawn received his certificate in radio broadcasting. In his free time, Shawn enjoys spending time with his wife Melissa and 3 year old daughter Ava, catching any live sporting event, and traveling. Check out his radio show, Grab Some Bench with Muller and Bangser” every Thursday night at 8:30 P.M., at www.blogtalkradio.com/spmuller24. Read more of his blogs here.