The conference discussion

Thursday was a rare day in front of the television watching college football. It was pretty neat.

Just a few thoughts …

The SEC will certainly be bashed in the months ahead as being a media creation undeserving of its reputation.

The criticism will come from all corners. From that standpoint, maybe the best thing that has happened so far in bowl season is the fact that Oklahoma got waxed so at least Bob Stoops won’t be leading that charge.

Georgia Tech coach Paul Johnson gladly took the lead after the Orange Bowl to say, “Maybe we won’t hear about the SEC for a few weeks,” or something like that.

As with most things, the truth is in the middle.

The SEC deserves its reputation as a dominant conference. The most support for that theory comes in the numbers that C.J. Johnson stated earlier this week, a string of national championships, draft picks, etc.

Is the SEC’s reputation a media creation? I don’t think that’s the intended goal of most coverage. What I think is there is such quantity and volume of college football coverage that one opinion repeated many times over from many different voices can sound like somebody is driving an agenda. Probably there are some agendas out there just like there are some agendas, it seems, to discredit the league. Remember, so many of these opinions are coming from former college football players, alums of the SEC and other conferences.

The bowl games have driven home the point that quality college football is played in a lot of places. I didn’t doubt that.

I get so focused on Ole Miss and what I’m doing that I don’t see a lot of games during the season. I read and keep up. I knew Marcus Mariota was good, but I was a little surprised by Ohio State’s dominance of Wisconsin in the Big 10 championship game. Then really watching the Buckeyes for the first time last night, they looked really good.

TCU is obviously very good though not as good as Ole Miss made the Frogs look in the Peach Bowl.

I think the committee did as good a job as you could do picking the four teams. It looked like Florida State would be the weakest of the bunch, and that played out. Should the Seminoles have been there over TCU or Baylor? It didn’t look like it, but it’s hard to pull the trigger on an undefeated reigning national champion and say “You’re not invited.”

As far as the conference discussion goes, look for one of the next talking points from SEC antagonists to be a comparison of BCS Era championships and how those are something less than Playoff Era titles.

Cody Prewitt had a great point this week, and TCU coach Gary Patterson kind of followed it up. “Let’s just promote college football.”

Should be a very entertaining game between Ohio State and Oregon. …

On a side note, I was glad to hear Kirk Herbstreit take Florida State players to task for leaving the field without shaking hands with Oregon players.

Camera angles didn’t show a full picture, but Herbstreit estimated that 70 percent of FSU players went straight to the locker room at the end of the game.

To his credit, Jameis Winston was not one of those. …

The guy that impressed me most yesterday was Ohio State running back Ezekiel Elliott.

I had some other things going on in the morning and didn’t get a chance to see much of Wisconsin’s Melvin Gordon.

Those two guys are great backs and fit the Big 10 reputation as a power running league but probably with more speed.

That said, the most impressive play of bowl season so far has been LSU’s Leonard Fournette, at 6-1, 230, running away from Notre Dame’s little fast guys on that kick return.

Denham Springs, La., native, Mississippian since 1989 with a stop in Meridian before arriving in Tupelo. Daily Journal beat writer since 1996, covering Ole Miss since 2002. Proud Northeast Louisiana alum. Follow me on Twitter @parrishalford and listen to John Davis and myself daily with The Ole Miss Beat on Rebel Sports Radio.

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