Had to chuckle at all the hoopla surrounding the announcement Friday that the SEC and Big-12 will sick their regular season champs on each other in a New Year’s Day bowl game starting in 2015.
The reasoning behind the game is clear enough. These two conferences — which were at each other’s throats just months ago — are positioning themselves for the coming switch to a four-team playoff, setting themselves up nicely if college football is eventually reduced to four power conferences.
Even if you are a Pac-12 fan, you have to admit the game should provide a marquee matchup, regardless of who ends up in it.
The PR hubbub on Friday, however, was anything but.
If you were listening to the boys from the South and Midwest and the media that follow them, it was as if the Rose Bowl had given birth to a twin, who had just knocked at the front door after being gone for 100 years. And who came with all the trappings of history.
“A new January bowl tradition is born,” SEC Commissioner Mike Slive said.
Doesn’t a game need to be least 10 years old before it’s considered a tradition?
Doesn’t a game need to have a few wild finishes and upsets before it proves to be Rose Bowl worthy?
“The Big 12 and SEC’s version of the Rose Bowl won’t have a mid-afternoon kickoff in front of the picturesque San Gabriel Mountains in Pasadena, Calif.,” wrote ESPN’s Mark Schlabach. “But the new Big 12-SEC bowl game might end up being a better football game.”
If you like 10-7 and 17-10 final scores.
If you like sparkling new.
What are they going to call it? The “Grandchild of Them All”?
Along with that spin came comments that no doubt originated with a talking-points memo. Obviously, everyone’s Gmail was in working order.
In case you didn’t get the message, SEC and Big-12 teams have appeared in 12 of the 14 BCS National Championship games. One ESPN article had five comments from commissioners and coaches referring to the SEC and Big-12 as the “two most successful BCS conferences.”
No mention of whether all those teams were deserving — or the larger question of the BCS’ objectivity.
No doubt, SEC football is good, real good, top to bottom. (Big-12 not so much, in my view). Alabama, LSU, Auburn, Florida, Georgia, South Carolina are outstanding programs, all of them.
But couldn’t we have a little humility?
Nah, that’d get in the way of ‘tradition.’