Time and time again we’re told that in America: “Hard work can get you anywhere”.
Tell that to PJ Fleck and the Western Michigan Broncos.
No football team, and no coaching staff, has given more over the last four years to get to this point. Their reward: nothing.
To the rest of the college football world, to the pundits on ESPN, to the committee themselves, it seems that week after week there is only one undefeated team in college football, and that there are only five conferences worth anyone’s time.
But the sad story is that this happens year after year. Season after season it seems there’s nothing any “Group of Five” team can possibly do to get themselves on the map.
Year after year, the message is the same:
“You haven’t played anyone."
“You don’t compete in a good enough conference."
“You don’t deserve to be thrown in with the best of the best."
Week after winning week, this has been the message to Zach Terrell, Jarvion Franklin, Corey Davis: “You’ll never be good enough,”.
And credit to them: Each week they show that they are, despite getting nothing in return from the college football world.
It’s obvious that the rest of college football wants nothing to do with the Mid-American Conference, or any teams in the Group of Five except to scapegoat their problems onto them and make excuses each time they fail to beat a G5 team.
Take the Oklahoma State Cowboys: Time and time again, Mike Gundy and company cry on and on about an officiating error that cost them their game against the now 6-6 Central Michigan Chippewas.
But under the logic they throw at Western Michigan, it’s clear that Gundy’s team should have rolled to an easy victory over the now struggling Chips in their “weak” conference.
That’s college football’s double-standard, and it must end.
In a season where the sample size is just 12 games, no team that manages to lose 25% of their games should be ranked higher than a team that manages to stay picture perfect.
Taking all into account, if the committee and those pundits continue to place teams such as the USC Trojans and OK State on top of Western Michigan, they deserve to lose their jobs.
If you want to criticize WMU for only beating Northwestern by 1 point, then you better be able to criticize Oklahoma State for losing to CMU, or USC for taking 52-6 drubbing to who is hands down, the nation’s best football team.
It’s just being fair, right?
To the committee: You’ve managed to ruin this sport I loved quicker than the computers could ever have done. You’ve managed to convince us all that a win at Purdue is somehow better than a victory over Eastern Michigan or UNLV. Despite the fact that year after year Purdue loses to an UNLV or a Eastern Michigan.
You’ve managed to convince us that when the Ohio State Buckeyes only beat a 1-8 Big Ten Michigan State Spartans team, it’s because the conference is “so great”, but when Western Michigan does the same versus a Northwestern team that managed to finish 5-4 in the same conference, it proves they’re “weak”.
Build a time machine and put any of the Big Ten’s bottom feeders in the MAC West at the beginning of 2016: Purdue, Michigan State, Rutgers. I guarantee you that not a single one of them would end up playing in Detroit this weekend.
But here’s the good news, committee: You have one week to rectify your hideous mistakes. When Western Michigan beats Ohio this Friday, give them the chance they rightly deserve.
Put them in the top 4.
But who am I kidding? You won’t. Because you’re all college football elites who are too scared to challenge the status quo.
In a similar ilk to your fellow elité Marie Antoinette, your answer, instead, is to “let them eat cake."