Columns & Blogs

SEC proves again it is king

The SEC did it again Monday night. It was close and probably one of the best games we’ve had in awhile. But the SEC proved it’s the best football conference in America.

It’s kind of scary that the SEC has won five straight BCS championships, along with seven of the 13 played since 1998. That’s as dominant as you can get, and it proves what we all have believed in the South for many years: There’s no conference in college football like the SEC.

Gene Chizik won a title in his second season at Auburn. A year ago Nick Saban won at Alabama in his third year on the job. When Urban Meyer won his first national title in 2006, he had been at Florida for only two seasons. And in 2007, Les Miles was only in his third year after replacing Saban when he won the championship at LSU.

So these coaches for the past five titles have done it in a relatively short period of time. It shows you how quick a program can turn it around, and what a change on the sideline can mean to a program.

Chizik deserves a lot of credit. Two years ago no one wanted him in Auburn. And then a year ago when Saban got Alabama back on top, many wondered if Auburn would ever compete with its big rival across the state. And sure, while some will wonder how Cam Newton got to Auburn, the fact is they won.

The speculation about Auburn will continue until the NCAA clears everybody. Who knows how long that will take. But until it happens, people will continue to wonder if Auburn was truly clean in Newton’s recruitment. That’s natural, considering what Newton’s dad allegedly did with the coaches at Mississippi State.

But Auburn fans are not going to care one bit if something were to happen that would cause the NCAA to strip the Tigers of what they won Monday night. It’s over. They won the game. Auburn fans celebrated. So nothing the NCAA can ever do will take that away from them.

I was lucky enough to see the Atlanta Braves win the World Series (as a fan) in 1995. It’s something I’ll never forget. I celebrated with the other 50,000 in Atlanta-Fulton County Stadium that night. Do you think if something happened where Major League Baseball came out and stripped the Braves of that World Series title I would care one bit?

Now that might be a bad comparison, since MLB would never take away a title like the NCAA can, but the premise is the same. I celebrated that night, so nothing they could do will ever change what I experienced. And the NCAA can never do anything to rob Auburn fans of what they enjoyed Monday either.

Meanwhile Georgia fans just had to watch another different SEC team win a championship. How did that feel for Bulldogs fans? Probably not too good, and it puts even more pressure on Mark Richt in what could be his final season if things don’t turn around quickly.

Don’t you know Georgia fans were watching the game Monday and asking themselves, “How can Chizik get Auburn to this game in his second year, while is Richt focusing more on ‘studying the game of football’ so he can save his job?”

It’s a legitimate question.

Auburn’s win does give Georgia, and maybe Mississippi State and Arkansas, reason for hope. The Tigers turned it around pretty quickly, and in the SEC, with five straight national titles, it pretty much proves that anything is possible.

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