Last Saturday, my SB Nation colleague, James Quinn of Rock Chalk Talk, published a posting in which he charged that college baseball’s tournament selection committee is infused with a pro-S.E.C bias. Although James characterized this as a “rant,” he sold himself short, as his argument was articulate, intelligent, and temperate. In some respects, moreover, he undeniably was correct.
Nevertheless, I have a quarrel with some of his points, which I wish to address in this, the lull between the regionals and the super regionals of the N.C.A.A. baseball playoffs. While I will quote from James’s posting, I would, as always, encourage you to read his thoughts in their entirety, as the excerpts reproduced here will not do his position justice, however much I may endeavor in good faith to represent his thoughts fairly.
Let the debate begin! (Yeah, all right, I know this is a picture of the signing of the Constitution, after the convention debates were over, but I’m trying to work toward consensus here, and, besides, they still had the state ratifying conventions to go, didn’t they? Well, O.K., then.)
Let us start with the part of James’s posting with which it is most difficult to argue; namely, his observation that “Oklahoma’s selection attracted more negative commentary than” the inclusion of Arkansas, a team that had a losing record in conference play (14-15) and made the N.C.A.A. tournament field without first having made the S.E.C. tournament field.
What little room there was to object to this contention dissipated during the regional round, according to the blogosphere’s home for college baseball coverage, Corn Nation. There, Corn Blight reported the ugly truth while echoing James’s sentiment on behalf of a disgruntled Big 12: