Time to put end to SEC lovefest

Gary Danielson was at it again last week, a CBS shill for the Southeastern Conference, which I suppose is part of any contract for those working at the network that pays billions of dollars to broadcast football games for the Nick Saban League.

Danielson was the analyst for Florida-South Carolina when he wondered what might happen if three teams – the winner between the Gators and Alabama should they meet in the SEC championship game, Oregon and Notre Dame – finished the season undefeated.

He wondered whether the Ducks or Irish would be left out of the Bowl Championship Series title game, given there was no possibility the Gators or Crimson Tide would be. This is when I threw a shoe at the television.

A popular storyline for national media this week was trying to determine which team deserves to be recognized as No. 2.

To which I wondered: You mean behind Kansas State?

It is Oct. 27, 2012. When it is Oct. 27, 2014, there is a chance all of the inequitable shenanigans that have defined the BCS standings will have been shoved into a drawer, never to be used again when deciding which teams should play for the title.

But we still don’t know who will comprise the committee that will choose the four teams to participate in the playoff system set to arrive in two years, and I have a bad feeling extended members of Saban’s family have already promised to continue pushing the SEC agenda if selected.

Or, as a good friend likes to call it, the bought-and-paid-for-SEC-agenda by ESPN and CBS.

Saban might again have the nation’s best team at Alabama, might go undefeated, might win his third national championship in four years and bring the SEC a seventh straight BCS title. He is one of the best coaches in history and annually offers a defense good enough to stop Donald Trump from opening his mouth.

Saban will also be the first to tell you both facts.

But we have two more BCS title games before a playoff commences, two more opportunities for the biased cartel to keep a deserving team out of the championship game.

Which is why I would be very afraid in Manhattan, Kan., today.

Kansas State is ranked third in the BCS standings with the best resume of any team nationally. It has the best win (at Oklahoma) of anyone. It has three victories against ranked teams on the road. It’s not a close debate to any program that doesn’t call a tree killer one of its own, and yet Alabama and Florida are ranked ahead of the Wildcats.

Which has nothing to do with now, but rather two months ago.

The best thing about a playoff in 2014-15 might be the devaluation of preseason polls, those voters ranking teams and creating perception before one snap has taken place in a season, before it has been proven who really are the best teams, before anyone has a clue a Kansas State or Notre Dame or Oregon State are of championship caliber.

It also works the other way.

Example: Arkansas of the SEC was ranked 10th in preseason polls this year. It is 3-4, has losses by 52 and 48 points and would be better off with Bobby Petrino’s mistress calling plays.

Five teams from the SEC were ranked among the Top 10 in those August polls. Five teams based on past results, reputation, everything but the here and now of there being six SEC teams with losing records.

Missouri stinks. Arkansas stinks. Kentucky stinks. Tennessee stinks. It’s not as good a conference top to bottom as most want you to believe.

It doesn’t mean Alabama still isn’t the best team (although its best win is against an average Michigan side on a neutral field) or that Florida can’t go undefeated.

It doesn’t mean tree killers won’t again celebrate in January.

But it means that in a season when the Big 12 Conference has only one team with a losing record today and whose second-worst team is Baylor (no gimme), when the Pac-12 has the Oregon schools undefeated to this point and Southern California lurking at No. 9, when a certain team from South Bend, Ind., is no longer so bad that Rudy really would start at defensive end, the annual SEC lovefest seems even more nauseating than usual.

A month from now, we can only hope the two most deserving teams meet in Miami for the BCS championship, but isn’t that what we have hoped for each year?

For now, I’ll just keep throwing shoes at the television while sticking pins into a Gary Danielson doll.

Las Vegas Review-Journal sports columnist Ed Graney can be reached at egraney@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-4618. He can be heard from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday through Friday on “Gridlock,” ESPN 1100 and 98.9 FM. Follow him on Twitter: @edgraney.

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