The East Coast Bias: The discussion continues.

Bruins Nation and Dawg Sports continue their excellent exchange on the East Coast Bias.

Both parties have made some excellent points. I put up a post earlier in regards to my views to the ECB but I now feel that a more thorough opinion should be discussed. I will use the perspective of someone who grew up in L.A. and attended many SC games as a kid to establish my point.

As I said in my original post old habits die-hard, the collective thought process of the CFB culture in the 70's and 80's was that west coast football, outside of SC, was an after thought. Sure the USC-UCLA game was always televised nationally as part of the whole rivalry thing but to folks on the east coast the game was either time filler or ignored altogether.

Yes the Pac-10 has come a long way from the time when I was growing up but if it weren't for ESPN or satellite TV I think we would still have the disconnect between the conferences that some still hold on to. LA hasn't had an NFL team for some 10 years now so USC and UCLA are at the top of the heap in LA when football season comes around. But even when the Rams were there USC still dominated the football scene until Pat Haden got to the Rams then interest picked up.

Within the Pac 10 rivalries come and go. The traditional rivalries will always be there but the attempt by ESPN to make a rivalry out of the Cal-USC game is pointless.

Some brief observations:

Cal has started give SC a run only recently. There has always been some animosity towards the "People's Republic of Berkley" but it is certainly not a rivalry in the sense of USC-UCLA or USC-ND.

Huge swings in the USC-UCLA rivalry in the past 15 years have made interest in the games inconsistent nationally. Yes there is still the same distaste towards each other but the rest of the country east of the Mississippi just don't seem to care.

Oregon has improved its game over the last few years. They have actually given SC some tough losses but their inability to win big games gets them the bridesmaid tag.

Washington used to give SC a run for its money in the days of Don James but they are falling on hard times of late. They actually owned SC in the 90's.

Washington St. has never really been tough against SC.

Oregon St. when coached by Dennis Erickson was a decent product but they too have slipped and now Riley is on the hot seat.

The Arizona schools have also had ups and downs since they joined the Pac 10 in the 70's, but nothing to shake the foundation of the MSM. ASU has shot itself in the foot this year when they had a chance to make a good game of it against SC.

Stanford has always been a bit of a Red Headed stepchild when it comes to football.

While the Pac 10 has become a stronger conference of late its history tends to lead people think that it's ho-hum, which is where the old habits diehard. CFR has noted in his post here the Pac 10 is has always been an academic conference first that goes to the beat of its own drum. The MSM sees that and responds in kind.

Kyle's observation:

On the field, the Pac-10 is as good as any major conference in college football. In the stands, though, the league is lacking, as its attendance figures simply do not match those of the S.E.C. In 2005, Pac-10 stadiums were filled to 84.87 per cent capacity. That gave the league the lowest attendance figure of any B.C.S. conference except the Big East . . . and this was in the year that marked record-setting overall and average attendance in the Pac-10. (No S.E.C. team's average was below the 86.6 per cent registered by Mississippi State. Vanderbilt averaged 90.6 per cent capacity in 2005. Meanwhile, Stanford spent $90 million in the off-season to reduce its stadium capacity from 85,000 to 50,000.)

Show up on Saturdays. Boost ratings by watching televised Pac-10 games. Buy more merchandise. When your team goes to three straight bowl games with a shot at the national championship, cheer for your team.

It's not a bias based on geography. It's a bias based on apathy. Fortunately, Pac-10 weblogs like Bruins Nation, Conquest Chronicles, U-Dub Dish, and Building the Dam are working to fire up fan bases and combat Pacific indifference. If you are reading the fine work of these authors (and of other Western webloggers like Block U and Provo Pride), leaving thoughtful and impassioned comments and diaries at their sites, and attending Pac-10 and Mountain West games, the West Coast needs more fans like you.

Nestor's reply:

What I wanted to get at was Kyle's underlying assertion that Pac-10 fans are somehow not passionate about their teams is just not true. Perhaps he ought to take in a game in Eugene, Seattle before implying that Pac-10 fans have no passion.  Yes, we don't get our fans passion hyped day in and day out on ESPN, but when it comes to home-field advantage, and genuine college football atmosphere those teams do not have to take back seats to any team from the SEC. And this is coming from someone who has been to Bryant Denny stadium.
 

To me both are right and both are wrong. West coast demographics don't support pro football let alone college football. Up until their recent run USC football attendance was down or flat depending on your point of view. Most "fans" are alums or family of alums. Angelino's don't live in the type of community that shows support for CFB teams that you would see in the south or upper mid west there are just too many other things to do.

Tradition also comes into play. Teams in the SEC, Big 12 and Big 10 have a longer tradition than most teams in the Pac 10. That tradition goes far and deep. When I was at the UF-Tenn. game last year I was staying with a buddy of mine from the service. After dinner and few beers were kicking back watching sports center, he changes the channel to the local affiliate that had an hour-long show on the local HS football scene. You would probably see the same thing in Texas or Pennsylvania, known hot beds of HS football. That's where it starts and it grows from there. I have never seen that in LA. And i'm not talking about few extra minutes onthe Friday night late local news, I'm talking about a dedicated show!

Bias comes in many forms. Some legitimate some not. I do think there is East Coast Bias but I believe the Pac 10 and their early fan base started it, and it was further perpetuated by the MSM when going for the easy money. The only way it changes is by putting a good product on the airwaves, part of that process is salesmanship. The Pac 10 doesn't help the situation by not negotiating with the 4-letter network there by settling for regional telecasts on Fox Sports west.

My parents were out here in the NYC area recently from LA and my dad and I had numerous discussions about SC and CFB in general. I found his comments interesting in the sense that when he was attending SC in the 60's that outside of ND or the Rose Bowl opponent (when SC was in it) there wasn't any real interest in football in the other conferences. Now that could viewed as a west coast bias but I see it more just a lack of interest.  That's how the MSM's current attitude feels to me. I do think that there is an East Coast Bias but, s i have stated before, it is out of apathy and convenience.

In the end, the discussion will always be there. Nestor and Kyle have done some excellent research. My views are strictly from memory and a few conversations I had recently that reflected on my youth as kid growing up in LA. Today, technology has afforded us the ability to watch a multitude of games and increase the viewership of a great sport.  That the discussion is even taking place has shown that our interest in this sport passionate at the least and because of technology is always at our fingertips.

I should note that I did minimal research in writing this piece, choosing to rely on my personal experience rather than trying to dig up stats, which is not one of my strengths.

Feel free to comment.

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