Is the Southeastern Conference an all-powerful entity that has rightfully earned its place atop the college football foodchain, or is the SEC's position due in large part to a marketing machine that has a financial stake in the league?
Jordan Burchette authors a piece in Rolling Stone titled, "The Worldwide Cheerleader: ESPN and the College Football Playoff." Burchette lays out a compelling argument that the network uses its multimedia might to twist and turn narratives in favor of the SEC.
ESPN has invested heavily in the SEC by creating the SEC Network. By one account, ESPN could earn 12% of its annual profits from the network.
Burchette points out that South Carolina — a team that has already racked up four losses — was touted as a darkhouse national title contender in the preseason. Much of the praise came from ESPN's roster of talent. Then along came Texas A&M, which handed the Gamecocks a 52-28 loss in the season opener at Columbia.