Thursday, December 3, 2009



Attend any football game pitting an SEC team against a team from another BCS conference, and you will more often than not a) watch the SEC team win, and b) hear the fans of the victorious team start an "S-E-C! S-E-C! S-E-C!" chant.

Fanbases from other conferences do not do this, and have come to despise this chant. This hatred manifests itself most often in the form of mocking. No, that's wrong. It doesn't. In order to mock, these fanbases would have to witness their team defeat the SEC opponent more than is presently the case. So, to put it more accurately, this hatred most often manifests itself in the form of coming up with bullshit reasons for the chant.

99 times out of 100 the proffered "reason" always comes back to inferior Southerners having a chip on their shoulder about one thing or another. About a third of the time there is some implied incest joke about the "SEC family". More than half the time the reasoning is in the "they are so proud because that's all they've got" line. Finally,  and I kid you not, I have even seen serious arguments that the S-E-C chant is the South's modern day way of fighting the Civil War. Seriously.

What those Northern Aggressors fail to pick up on in their rush to belittle is that fans of the SEC, while sometimes slow of wit and even slower of tongue, get it. It being, in this case, that conference pride helps ALL members of the conference. That the present dominance of the SEC helps ALL members of the SEC. It's so simple to SEC fans that it really befuddles us that fans in the Big Ten or Big XII or PAC-10 haven't figured it out yet.

The school of thought that the SEC is home to the best teams, top-to-bottom, is borne out most bowl seasons when the sixth or seventh bowl selection of the SEC defeats the second or third, or even first bowl selection of another conference. It is borne out when LSU in 2007 loses not one but two conference games, makes the BCS National Championship Game, and defeats Ohio State convincingly. Sure, they were a controversial participant, but they overcame that by dominating the game. They earned it, and in the process put a HUGE feather in the cap of the Southeastern Conference.

The S-E-C chant during that game was, among other things, a tip of the cap to the rest of the conference, whose collective power generated LSU the benefit of the doubt, for lack of a better phrase, to be in that game in the first place. Other fanbases may not like that benefit, but it's hard to dispute at the moment. The last SEC team to play a complete season without losing a conference game was Auburn in 2004. They went undefeated on the year, 14-0, and were snubbed for the national title. Since then, the SEC has won three BCS titles. What do you think the odds are of another situation like Auburn's in 2004 happening again?

As an Arkansas fan, I don't cheer for the SEC in these big games so much for the particular school, as Florida and Alabama are both pretty much reprehensible to me. I cheer, as an Arkansas fan, because I want to take advantage of that benefit of the doubt the conference has earned on the shoulders of its depth and parity. Be it the Gators or the Tide, I want them to do the conference proud because next year or the year after I want the same chance. Fans of other schools scoff when this reasoning is given by fans of "lesser" SEC schools, but they shouldn't.

Since 1992, when the SEC expanded to two divisions, added a conference championship game and for all intents and purposes began the modern era of college football, the Southeastern Conference has had four different members win the national title. That is 33% of the conference, and that doesn't even include Auburn, who gets no credit for their undefeated season in 2004. Fully more than half of the teams in the conference have the tradition, facilities, and deep pockets necessary to win a national title. This, in my opinion, is what sets the SEC apart, and also what validates that chant.


So who wins this Saturday’s SEC Championship Game between #1 Florida and #2 Alabama?  It’s a rematch from last year, once again matching the top two teams in the country in the biggest game of the season.  Last season, I really thought that Alabama was the best team going into the game, but Florida came away victorious.  This season, I again feel that Alabama is better.  More imposing physically.  When I play the game out in my head, I see Alabama winning.  But really, I have no idea whatsoever.  As good as these two teams are, anything could happen. 

The only thing that is already determined regarding the SEC Championship game is that the winner will advance to the BCS National Championship for the fourth consecutive year.  They will be favored by Las Vegas oddsmakers.  And if the past three years are any indication, they will  defeat their competition and establish themselves as college football’s best.  In the final minutes of the game, as the players of the game are being determined by network commentators, a repetitive chant will rise up from a jubilant half of the stadium. 

S-E-C.  S-E-C.  S-E-C.  Fans from other conferences hate it, and can you blame them?  The better question that these fans will fail to consider, however, is if history repeats itself and the SEC claims its fourth straight…. can you really blame us?

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