My first FanPost! In response to Florida State's win over Auburn to clinch the National Championship, numerous fans around the SEC are reflexively jumping to the old "you're not real national champions because you wouldn't have gone undefeated in the SEC" defense mechanism they've developed for coping with losing the championship to a non-SEC school. I decided to write something up to shred that load of croc as I am tired of hearing it:
1) The title game isn't about who had the toughest schedule, it's about who has the two best teams (a shocking concept, I know!). If it was about who had the toughest schedule, Tennessee would have played for the national championship this year. Clearly though, who you have on your schedule doesn't change who you are. If the Seattle Seahawks played the Jacksonville Jaguars 13 times and dominated them 13 times... they'd still be the Seattle Seahawks. The 'Noles were in the Championship Game because they had the best team in the country and they played like it all season long. The '14 & '15 NFL draft classes will bear witness to that fact. SEC fans scream about injury attrition in their league, but see: FSU's injury luck in 2011. Nobody in the country had worse injury luck than us that year... and we play in the "soft" ACC. That's because the vast majority of injuries are not from big hits, but rather from random, freak incidents like receivers making quick cuts and blowing their ACLs - and besides, I would not concede that the hits in the ACC are any less hard or frequent than hits in the SEC. The ACC has plenty of future NFL-star GAMs banging pads and wrecking people every Saturday.
2) We can't help that the SEC didn't and won't extend an invitation to play in their league (and if they did, UF would certainly block the move). .. so we put UF on the schedule every year. If The gators wanted to prevent us from winning the NC, they should have played better football and stopped us from doing so. Also, we put West Virginia on the 2012 & 2013 schedules several years ago when they were a ranked team to help boost our SOS, but they backed out of the deal. Seeing how good we were becoming, no other teams from BSC conferences would agree to play us out of conference this year - I've seen the list of teams we contacted. We tried literally everybody.
3) In the end, we had the best team in the country whether or not SEC fans feel we "earned" the title as such. We destroyed everybody on our entire schedule. We had a dominating defense and the highest scoring offense in the modern era of college football. We won all games up until the NC game by at least 14 points (by 21 points if you don't count garbage time TD's). Then we beat the best team in the SEC to win the Title. If that's not deserving I don't know what is. If the 'Noles can't be the "true" national champions despite what we did this season just because we aren't in the SEC, then the NCAA needs to set up an entirely new division of major college football just for the SEC and crown a separate national champion from that league just like they do for all the other divisions.
4) Gator fans in particular hold us to a higher standard, saying we wouldn't have gone undefeated with an SEC schedule, yet they don't hold the other SEC teams that they said were better than us (Bama, Auburn, Mizzou, etc...) to that same standard. Those teams didn't go undefeated in the SEC either, so at worst, FSU is absolutely right on their same level. And, seeing as we just beat the Champions of the Almighty SEC having played horribly in our own right for 3 quarters and with Dameyune Craig stealing our signals for a 2 quarters, I'm not willing to concede that we wouldn't have gone undefeated in the SEC regular season.
5) A second point about the "wouldn't go undefeated in the SEC" argument: when a lot of gator fans say this, what they really mean is that FSU wouldn't go unscathed if we had to play an 8-game conference schedule with all of the top 8 SEC teams and none of the Kentucky's and Miss State's... and they're probably right. But that is not the reality of an SEC schedule. Take UF for example. The gators didn't have to play either Auburn or Alabama this year, who were the SEC's best 2 teams. If FSU and UF swapped conference schedules, we'd still have a great shot at going undefeated. Tenn, UK, Vandy? bring 'em on! The only teams I'd have even worried about are LSU & S. Car. Even still we had more talent than both of them.
At the end of the day, if the SEC is upset about us "just waltzing into the National Championship game" and only having to beat one "quality" team (the SEC Champs) to win the Title... all they have to do is give us and one other team (UCF or Baylor perhaps) an invitation to join the SEC. We'd be more than happy to prove our worth. We can hang with the best in the SEC. Jimbo is 5-1 against the almighty SEC, including a close, comeback win over the SEC Champs for the Title... and if there's one thing you learn about close wins in the SEC... it's that they count.
*I realize that with the current ACC exit fee, the SEC would never pony up enough cash to get us out even if it wanted to add us... but that's beside the point.