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Is the East Coast bias dying?

The perception long popularized by West Coast football fans may be on its last legs.

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Sometimes things happen so gradually that you don't even notice it. I cannot believe it, but I think I might have missed the East Coast bias slowly begin to shrivel and die without even realizing it.

I cannot think of a better example of this happening than one small event that quietly took place without many really noticing. A one-loss Oregon team was seeded above an undefeated Florida State team in the inaugural College Football Playoff. I know that it does not seem outrageous since obviously Oregon was a better team that played a better schedule and fully deserved being seeded ahead of the Seminoles, but try to think of that happening 10 or 20 years ago. I just did and I think my brain just exploded.

It would be unthinkable to have a one-loss Pac-12 team ranked ahead of an undefeated Florida State team in the past, but here we are. Even just in the past decade, an unquestioned top five national program in USC regularly struggled to not get passed up by East Coast and southern teams with equal records for national recognition in the 2000s.

Things probably are not completely fair yet for those out West, but they have gotten a lot better and here are some reasons why...

Television technology, the Internet and social media have connected the country - SportsCenter has been around for about 20 years now, but access to actual video of every team around the country did not become that common until just recently. Not too long ago, your only hope for actually see a Pac-12 team play would be to watch their game, but there was a good chance that it was not even outside of the West Coast even if it was a big game or hoping that their highlights made it to SportsCenter. Even then, since there was only one SportsCenter and limited shows strictly about college football, you had to hope that the highlights made the cut and you were around when they aired. Now with more games on the air in general, many strictly college football shows and DVR allowing you to watch them whenever, that is no longer the case. Throw in social media turning everyone in the nation into a potential thought leader as opposed to just the established, mostly eastern press and technology has been a major friend to the death of the east coast bias.

ESPN - Getting Pac-12 games, specifically in-conference games regularly has been the biggest advancement for the conference since I started paying attention to it in the mid-90s. Sports coverage and influence has been a monarchy for about 12 years now and the Pac-12 was really hurting when they did not have in-conference games on the leader in the sports. Getting the Pac-12 on ESPN most importantly, gives the network a lot more motivation to at least talk about the conference along with simply presenting the games in a much more visually pleasing format that the old Fox Sports Net days.

Oregon/Nike's marketing - Everyone was laughing and calling Oregon ridiculous back in the early-2000s when they were putting their players on billboards in Times Square and unveiling crazy jerseys, but the Ducks had the last laugh in a big way. The Ducks and Nike were well ahead of the curve of the idea of simply doing things differently to garner attention that has swept the nation recently in pretty much every form of culture (think famous for being famous and how celebrities are now more known for being celebrities than what they actually do). The Ducks then brought their fearless, ahead of the curve approach to the field by getting Chip Kelly on board and have pretty much never looked back. The rest of the country and the college football media have pretty much followed Oregon's lead since these two moves met up in perfect fashion (literally) and have pointed attention out West when looking for what the next move in the world of college football will be.

The play - The Pac-12 has been ahead of the curve in style of play and quarterbacks for decades now, but it is only now, with more of the conference's games regularly on national TV, that people have started to notice. They do things a little bit different on offense in the Pac-12 and people outside of the Western region are finally starting to realize it, appreciate it and give the conference credit for it.