Today, Pat Forde published an article on the need for the SEC to expand to a 9 game conference football schedule. For the record, I concur with Forde's conclusion for many of the reasons he mentioned. However, with this little gem:
With an expansion to 14 teams, it is harder to make equitable schedules that establish true divisional champions with eight games. More teams means the need for more games to diminish the odds of a team riding a weak league schedule (ahem, Georgia) to a division title.
Before we get into the key question brought about by Forde's argument, let's just take a moment to reflect on the fact that Georgia's league schedule would have been significantly more difficult if Forde's alma mater, the University of Missouri, had bothered to field something approximating a collegiate football team.
But the real question is, why does the Georgia weak schedule meme continue to live on? As I pointed out here Georgia's conference schedule was virtually identical to that of the Alabama Crimson Tide. I can only assume Mr. Forde doesn't believe the Tide rode a weak league schedule to the Western Division title. Such would be blasphemy.
The reason for this (and this is just a shot in the dark) is because Alabama won the SECCG and the National Title (a feat which pundits far and wide have proclaimed would have also been achieved by the Bulldogs were it not for that pesky last minute drive on that fateful December night at the Georgia Dome). Alabama deservedly won both those games but I fail to see what either has to do with "riding a weak schedule to a division title."
And it isn't like there haven't been numerous teams that have taken an easier path to the National Championship game... it's almost as if that exact thing happened just a few months ago when the Notre Dame Fighting Irish were so thoroughly exposed as the pretenders they were... Certainly more so than Georgia was against Alabama.
So my question to you is this: Why does the meme live on? Is it convenience? Is it due to some broader conspiracy to badmouth Georgia in the national media (pass me that tinfoil hat!)? Is it simple ignorance?
And what does Georgia have to do to live down the weak schedule nonsense? If Georgia had won the National Championship would that have settled things or would we have still heard about the South Carolina game and the weak conference schedule (I lean toward the latter)?
Certainly no one will be able to point the "weak schedule" finger at Georgia this year with LSU on the schedule and Clemson from out-of-conference! Unless of course Clemson somehow implodes and LSU has a subpar season, in which case I presume exactly that will happen. Will anyone point out the weak schedules of some of our division mates if they benefit from them on the road to Atlanta? Recent history tells us not to hold our breath.
All in all its just another day in the crazy, backwards world of the media-driven football narrative. A narrative which is almost always short-sighted, ill-informed, and hyperbolic to the core.