This past Saturday was not only G-day in Athens, but it was also the day that many of the other college football programs around the country played their spring football games as a conclusion to spring practice. I was not in Athens on Saturday due to work and life pulling rank and forcing me to be elsewhere, but that did afford me the opportunity to check out College Football Live on ESPN as they spun us around the college campuses that were hosting spring football games. During the show, the analysts recognized the fact that the SEC has been A DAMN BEAST over the last four years, terrorizing the college football landscape as the league laid claim to four consecutive BCS national championships. Desmond Howard and Trevor Matich went on to declare that the two schools that they felt could challenge the gridiron dominance of the SEC in the 2010 season were Ohio State (Howard) and Texas (Matich). Now on the surface, those are defense-able choices, but the particular schools chosen caught my attention as a fan of a Southeastern Conference school and a proud defender of the overall gridiron strength of the conference. In the immediate wake of the comments I posted this on Twitter:
#CFBLive crew just tabbed Ohio State as possibility to challenge SEC cfb dominance. History lesson FAIL. #SEC #DAWGS
My intended message was pretty clear. Haven’t we seen this movie before? Don’t we already know the answer this question? The results have been played out on the field again and again and again. With a very broad and very over-generalizing stroke of my college football brush, allow me to recap as I step proudly onto my soapbox….Ohio State (and therefore the Big 10 conference) just does not have the speed across the roster (especially the lines of scrimmage) to keep up with the SEC and Texas (and therefore the Big 12 conference…see also Oklahoma) does not play the brand of defense that rises to the level of the elite teams of the SEC. What’s more, it’s not THAT the schools from the SEC won those championship games…it is the WAY they won them. In each instance, the SEC squad demoralized the team across the field with a physical and dominating style of play. It’s a beautiful song, no matter how many times I hear it.
Now, before you jump out of your chair to challenge my clearly too general and broad striding assertions let me say this. I know that every team is absolutely different every season. I know that a championship game played in 2003, 2006, seven, eight or nine has absolutely no bearing on what might happen should a SEC champion play a champion from the Big 10 or the Big 12 in 2010. However, I have seen nothing from the any of the schools or conferences mentioned here that would lead me to believe that the result would be any different.
Many people seem to think that this is the year that, should the Alabama Crimson Tide stumble and not win the league championship, the SEC may not be strong enough to even get it’s champion into the BCS title game. I have heard others say that Ohio State could come into the season ranked as high as number two behind the defending national champion Crimson Tide and that one of the usual suspects from the Big 12 should be hanging around in the preseason top 10 with it’s sights set on another championship run. That’s all fine and good because preseason rankings really are worth about as much as the score of any one of the final scores of a spring football game, but I feel that the coaching as well as the overall strength and talent level of the players in a conference are the determining factors in the end and year after year the SEC brings in and turns out the best football players in the country.
With no clear cut favorite in the SEC East going into the season and LSU surely gearing up to challenge Alabama in the West, this may be the year that the members of the SEC beat themselves up to the point where no one team will clearly qualify to play in the BCS title game. If that turns out to be the case and the SEC has no representative in the game, there will be those that argue even a two-loss SEC Champion should be given the benefit of the doubt and be granted a spot in the game and have a chance to compete for the title. For my part, I will leave that particular argument for another day. However, just as in each of the past few years, I would argue that any undefeated or one-loss SEC champion should be in the mix for the BCS title.
On Sunday, my fellow Georgia blogger Bulldog in Exile posted an entry titled “Four times in a row". That headline got my attention because I thought maybe he had been thinking along the same lines as @genxdawg, but my guess as to the topic of the post was totally off base. Regardless, I was inspired to write this entry. So, with a very enthusiastic wag of my tail for Bulldog in Exile, I will finish up with this….
Four times in a row, and five out of the last seven years, the SEC football champion has lined up against a representative from the Big 12 (Oklahoma-2003 and Texas-2009) or the Big 10 (Ohio State-2006, 2007) and each time the SEC has come away with the crystal. Each season is different with the coming of a new fall just as each team is different every time it takes the field. With that said, recent history shows us that when elite, championship level teams from the SEC line up against a champion from the Big 10 or the Big 12, the SEC is dominant. Simply put, our best is better than yours. The analysts can say and write all they want about the teams they believe may finally be strong enough to unseat the SEC as the champion of college football. In fact, I believe that the member institutions of the conference would welcome all challengers to the throne. However, until one of those schools from another supposed power conference can prove it to me between the lines, I will continue to proudly and vehemently defend the Southeastern Conference as the class of college football.