Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Together Again: Axis of East Coast Bias

If there is one time of the year when USC embraces the Domer Hype Machine, it’s the week leading up to our annual rivalry game versus the “Irish.” As we’ve said before, we don’t mind ND hyping itself through a biased east coast media if it means that our subsequent victory over the “Irish” is equally hyped.

And, like clockwork, the Grey Lady played its part yesterday, featuring USC prominently in a full-page spread about college football on page 2 of the Sports section, an ode to the Trojans’ 44-24 beat down of ND last Saturday.

Still, we’re beginning to see that this east coast bias thing isn’t as simple as it used to be. Sure, the photo of Pete Carroll making a double victory sign at the top of the page is nice, and the brief about Dwayne Jarrett being a late Heisman dark horse is pleasant enough. But the New York Times is giving USC its props grudgingly:
LOS ANGELES, Nov. 26 — Last year’s game between Notre Dame and Southern California reminded the college football world how much luck is involved in the chase for a national title.

That game, won by U.S.C., 34-31, had the Bush Push, Dwayne Jarrett’s seeing double on fourth-and-9 and Matt Leinart’s late fumble, which conveniently bounced out of bounds. As the contenders to face Ohio State this season for the national title are whittled in the wake of this year’s U.S.C. victory against Notre Dame, luck has once again reappeared in the race for the Bowl Championship Series title game.

This time, the fortunate circumstances for the Trojans happened off the field, thanks to their aggressive scheduling philosophy, which appears to be the deciding factor in the Trojans’ probably outlasting Michigan and Florida for the right to play in the national title game.
What the hell? USC Trojans know better this. We know the Bush Push was smart, the Leinart-Jarrett hook up was pure nerve and skill, and while Leinart’s fumble out of bounds may have been fortunate, USC’s re-emergence at No. 2 this season is due to Carroll’s voodoo and magic tennis book. Nothing lucky about that! But, I digress …

Since when is USC’s “play anybody, anywhere” philosophy equal to luck? Since when is it lucky to be the only school from the six major BCS conferences not to schedule a game against a school from outside a BCS conference?

Sure, the fact that two of those opponents turned out to be conference division champions – Arkansas won the SEC West at 10-2, Nebraska took the Big 12 North at 9-3 – and the other is a nationally ranked independent may be out of our hands, but there will never be a Division 1-AA school on USC’s schedule, which is purely a matter of choice.

I make this last point because Florida’s Urban Meyer – apparently stepping up onto the SEC soapbox to replace the self-fulfilled prognosticating idiot at Auburn – is trying to tell us his Gators have played a tough schedule … as if we don’t see 1-AA Western Carolina on their list … at 2-9, no less.

Of course, playing its usual role as a primary conduit of the east coast bias, which as we know is related to the southern inferiority complex, the Grey Lady gave Meyer some ink to state his case:
Florida’s argument will be that the strength of the SEC, widely regarded as the toughest in the country, should carry more weight. And it is an argument that will rage on across the South for years, just as it did when Auburn was left out of the national title game two years ago despite an undefeated regular season.

“The only thing I get concerned about is that Auburn wasn’t here, I think, two years ago,” Meyer said. “Once again, when I hear our league compared against other leagues, I kind of shake my head. I am one of those guys who coached against a lot of those other leagues. There is no finer league in the country than the SEC.”
And, in tow the New York Times – which claims to be a “national” newspaper, while still purposefully serving its subway alumni – had to give voice to its favored “Irish”:
When told before Saturday’s game that U.S.C. was the only B.C.S. team that did not play a non-B.C.S. university, White called the statistic “compelling.”

“You have to give them an A-plus in intent to schedule,” he said. “It’s very, very impressive.”
Impressive indeed, but remember White made this statement before USC embarrassed the “Irish” on national prime-time television. Ask him the same question today, and his answer would probably be a little different. Maybe something like, “Who gives a crap. We’re God’s Team, damn it!”

So, there you have it in plain view. The east coast media bias, the Domer Hype Machine and the southern inferiority complex – all closely related factions of the Axis of East Coast Bias – laid out neatly on page 2 in the Grey Lady.

And yet the fact remains: We win, we’re in.



HomeFries94 said...

In a (rare) moment of humility when I told my admiral "we got lucky", his words to me were "you make your own luck".

It's so true, and I've never forgotten that.

Anonymous said...

I use that paper to wrap fish in. Grey OLD Lady is more like it!

Conquest Chronicles

Anonymous said...

You mention a couple of times that Cal is USC's Pac-10 rival. They have to beat us regularly to say that. 34-31 in Trip OT is great but fluky.

Also, the NCAA's SOS calculator is a joke. It is weighted 2/3 to the opponent's records and 1/3 to the opponent's opponents record. Therfeore, if the whole conference plays 3-4 non conf games against patsies, everyone in the conf is essentially 4-0 or 3-1 before league play. That means that teams who finish conference play 3-5 even have winning records in many cases. This means that 7 or more additional wins for the SOS calculation. As you stated include 2-9 directional U and UF falls 10 spots to 11. The fact is the SEC doesn't fare that strong. Recent bowl records stink year after year. For the last 5 years Pac10 is rated #1 conference and SEC rated #5. All time, Pac10 is #4 and SEC is #1.

Curiously, the Pac-10 has a better alltime win percentage in Bowl games than the SEC (52.15% vs 51.76%). I guess the best vs the best doesn't seem to matter in some peoples minds.

Go to www.cfbdatawarehouse.com and see.