In plenty of time for Halloween, Lee Corso outlined the scariest scenario any SEC fan could imagine. “With their schedule, I like Southern Cal to run the table the rest of the year,” Corso told his TV audience last weekend. “With their reputation, seven national championships, I like USC to be in the BCS title game.”
The shriek that followed was SEC fans screaming like Jamie Lee Curtis in a slasher film.
Paranoia strikes the SEC quickly these days. A quick glance through the blogs reveals the hyperventilating. “The ridiculous coverage of the media darlings in L.A. seemingly never ends,” wrote one poster on an Alabama blog after Corso’s comments. “If not for USC’s loss to Oregon State, we would have wall-to-wall (USC) coverage.”
The southern football fan’s loathing for “media bias” would make the most strident political candidate blush. How else, they ask, do you explain Ohio State? The Buckeyes were favored in the last two BCS championship games, but were outscored 79-38 by LSU and Florida. Yet this year, before getting thumped by USC, the Buckeyes were ranked ahead of every SEC school except Georgia.
The conspiracy theorists have now turned their sights on USC. The theory goes like this: If Texas, Texas Tech, Oklahoma State, Penn State and BYU all lose one game somewhere along the line, the Trojans will leap past everyone, including more deserving teams like Alabama and Florida, to enter the BCS picture.
As another commenter on a fan site pointed out, USC and Ohio State both have “something Alabama doesn’t — A BIG FAT LOSS on their record!”
Georgia fans don’t have to look to the future to find their paranoid conspiracies. They see it in the polls. How, they argue, could the 5-1 Bulldogs, preseason No. 1, lose to No. 2 Alabama, and be ranked four spots below a team that lost to Oregon State?
For proof, fans point to the schedules. At the halfway mark in the season, the NCAA has Georgia’s schedule ranked 11th toughest in the nation. The Trojans’ schedule ranks 21st — behind Georgia Tech and Indiana. That gap in schedule strength is likely to grow as USC plays Washington, Arizona, Washington State, Cal and the hopeless Irish of Notre Dame.
This has SEC fans fearing a repeat of 2004, when undefeated USC beat undefeated Oklahoma in the championship game while undefeated Auburn got a pat on the back and a nice consolation prize.
SEC fans believe that either Georgia or Florida could win the rest of their games (both can’t since they play each other on Nov. 1), beat Alabama or LSU in the SEC championship game, and not get a shot at the BCS title game.