Tuesday, March 1, 2016

On Conference Pride

Paul Finebaum - Shill
Over the last decade, there has been a strange phenomenon in college football that is completely unique to the sport. Teams have begun to take credit for the success of their conference foes. You can see it from all levels, from basement dwellers to teams with much more success but who never quite reach the top. To me, this completely insane. I will never understand why fans try to live vicariously through the success of teams that they have literally no association with other than being a doormat for the successful teams. It isn't just your typical fans. Let's take a look at perhaps the most vocal and egregious offender of this, Paul Finebaum. Some of you may know who he is, but if you don't I will give you a quick rundown. He is a guy who has is own radio block on ESPN which you can also watch on one of their six hundred additional channels. His show is devoted to college football, but he will spend most of his time talking about the SEC. Finebaum is a graduate of University of Tennessee, but has really made his career acting as a shill for the SEC. He even has a book titled "My Conference is Better than Your Conference". I'm not joking. I haven't read it, but I can assume that it is horrible.

Think about these facts for a quick second. Finebaum is a Volunteer. The SEC's reign of dominance over the past decade really has been the product of two teams, Alabama and Florida. If you aren't too familiar with college football rivalries, these are THE two rivals of Tennessee. And this shit head is seriously gloating about the fact that they are winning as if it somehow validates the fact that the Volunteers have been getting crushed by these two teams for ten plus years and haven't even come close to sniffing an SEC East title in that time.

Attention other Big Ten Teams;
This isn't your's
This isn't something that is unique to the SEC however. When Ohio State won the championship game two years ago, Michigan fans were actually happy about it. Michigan fans! What the hell?! In one of the oldest, nastiest rivalries that exists in any sport, fans were actually happy to see their rival win a championship. And when asked why, they will tell you it is for the respect of the Big Ten. Bullshit. Just because Ohio State was able to take down Alabama and then crush Oregon doesn't somehow validate the whole Big Ten. Indiana and Rutgers aren't suddenly going to be looked at in a different light because a team they lost to by five touchdowns was the best in the country that year.

It is hard to pinpoint where exactly this shift in mentality began, but I think that it really stems from the whole BCS era. When the system moved away from having the AP and Coaches polls determining who the best team was based on the eye test, it also brought on the need for a stronger perception of whatever conference your favorite team is in. Strength of schedule suddenly became ten times more important in order for your team to get one of those coveted two spots in the championship game. Suddenly, you needed the conference to be better so that your wins looked more impressive. Once that whole mentality began to take place, everything just sort of snowballed and now it has reached absolute critical mass. So please, once a team from your conference wins, don't be an asshole like Paul Finebaum or Clay Travis and say that your conference is back on top. It isn't. The team that won is back on top. Stop conference pride.

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