Chase Young is back, ESPN bias on display

By Aaron Wannemacher

Week 12 of college football is in the books and I’m here to talk about it. I will also be discussing Week 11 and some thoughts I have on the games over that week as well. I’d like to start off talking about the return of Chase Young, since my first post was specifically about his suspension and how I feel about it. Yes, the good news is that he will be back for the big matchup with Penn State this weekend, a game with playoff implications that will also likely decide the winner of the Big Ten East. Ohio State clearly didn’t need Young in blowout wins over Maryland and Rutgers, the two games he missed. However, I still hold to the fact the suspension didn’t seem warranted and was for something other top programs wouldn’t even report if such a minor thing happened. 

It appears that Young was truthful throughout the whole process and did indeed pay back the loan to a family friend and not an agent, yet the damage is done. Prior to the suspension Chase Young was in serious consideration for the Heisman trophy, and now after the suspension he’s not even in the running for it anymore. It is true that it’s an individual award, and I personally care more about team performance, but it doesn’t seem fair when someone who is the best player in college football isn’t even in the running for the award that is supposed to go to the best player in college football. Chase Young was robbed of that opportunity, whether people agree with the suspension or not. I’ve made it known where I stand, and I’ll now move on since my first post was almost exclusively about the Chase Young suspension.

Something I have noticed over the years and been frustrated by is the clear bias towards the SEC and a lack of respect that I feel the Big Ten deserves. These two conferences always seem pitted against each other, and all ESPN has done is make it way too obvious who they believe the better conference is. What really bothers me is when college football analysts on ESPN try to tell us they know better like what they think is objective fact. The reality is they don’t really know for a fact which conference is better, and I don’t want people to just blindly believe what ESPN is telling them and not come to their own conclusion. The real crime here is that ESPN hosts the very show that gives the playoff rankings and you can clearly see the influence ESPN has on these rankings.

For example, Minnesota beat the number 4 team in the committees rankings in Penn State, yet they were only ranked 8th after their week 11 win to stay unbeaten. Yes Minnesota did in fact lose on the road to Iowa this past Saturday, but the bias is still very visible. Look no further than Georgia, who has a terrible home loss to a bad South Carolina team and that loss is seemingly being ignored. A lot of people’s complaints about the most recent rankings is how an unbeaten Minnesota team is ranked 8th behind 4 teams with 1 loss, and on top of that Minnesota has a better win than any team outside LSU, based on the committees very own rankings. 

A good way to put this in perspective is that with the loss to Iowa on the road, Minnesota is seemingly knocked all the way out of the playoff race. Meanwhile Georgia is number 4 and controls their own destiny to the playoff, even with a loss to a South Carolina team who is 4-7. If we are comparing losses, playing Iowa on the road in November is one of the toughest environments to win in, and without some mistakes by Minnesota they would have left with a win. Iowa is now 7-3 and prior to the win ranked 20th by the committee. If you compare the 2 teams, Minnesota has a better win than Georgia has and a much better loss than the one Georgia has. Yet one is knocked out of playoff contention and the other is in line to make the playoffs. 

The criteria changes so much from year to year and team to team that it’s confusing for anybody to truly understand. The committee seemingly rewards the sec for “good losses” but not the big ten. Alabama is in 5th place, and the reality is they haven’t beaten a single ranked team by the committee and lost to the only good team they played in LSU. Also, everybody seems to be ignoring the fact neither LSU or Alabama play any defense. It was played like a Big 12 game with a final score of 46-41, but nobody seems to care now that the SEC is the conference playing no defense. Alabama gets rewarded for having a “good loss” but Minnesota does not.

When Minnesota and Penn State played as a pair of undefeated teams, Heather Dinich, an ESPN analyst, implied in the middle of the 4th quarter on Twitter that Penn State winning close is a comparable win to Clemson beating a 4-6 North Carolina by 1 point. Her tweet reads “ My question for the committee if Penn State WINS … do they hold the close road win against the Nittany Lions like they’ve done w/ Clemson at UNC?” Minnesota ended up winning the game anyway, but the bias is still there. Dinich is literally implying that winning a close game on the road to an undefeated Minnesota team is the same as a close win against a 4-6 North Carolina team that isn’t any good, and it’s unbelievable to me how biased of a statement that is. No objective fan of college football would ever say such a thing, and that’s just the reality of it. It’s hard to follow such a network who has people employed who say things that are just plain ignorant.

The purpose of my blog is to point out things that others don’t and be honest no matter how it makes someone feel. There is clear bias in college football against the Big Ten, and I’m not just gonna ignore it like college football analysts on ESPN do. If you are gonna listen to what anybody says on television I would recommend Joel Klatt. He is a college football analyst on Fox and is one of if not the only college football analyst who I actually put stock into what he has to say. My thoughts and beliefs on the college football playoff rankings are similar to his, and I just think he’s the only analyst who really says what he believes and isn’t afraid to be unbiased in what he says. He doesn’t seem to care about perception or what people think, and I respect that. That’s all I have for this week, and I would appreciate any feedback or questions you may have. Stay tuned for next week, as I plan to post on my blog once each week. I know this was a longer post, but I hope you enjoyed reading it. As always, thanks for reading what I have to say, and check back next week for more!

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