This is part of HTTA’s CFP Championship Preview Series
It’s no secret in the Hi-Top offices that I am an SEC guy. Can you really blame me? They have had a stretch of dominance, beginning in 2006, leading to 8 national championships- soon to be 9- (including 7 straight), a .631 Win % in Bowl Games, and routinely 4-plus SEC teams would grace the AP Top TEN…let alone the top 25.
That’s ridiculous. Just DOMINANCE. And I love dominance.
This run has come when the teams in the other “Power 5” conferences are matching the SEC, spending tens of millions on stadiums, shiny uniforms, practice facilities. More money than has even been seen in college sports. There are programs rich with history, legacies of Heisman winners, picturesque campuses filled with palm trees and sunshine, beautiful cheerleaders and nearby beaches.
Yet, over this time, the successes in recruiting and on the field, have been largely concentrated to the campuses in Tuscaloosa, Baton Rogue, Gainesville and Auburn. These players are just drawn to the winning.
It’s been quite a run, and with UGA- Bama meeting up in the title game, it’s just the run continuing, right?
Not so fast, my friend.
I have to come clean here…occasionally I like to maintain some objectivity, you know.
When you look closely at the last four or so seasons, the conference may have been trading on little more than it’s reputation. The B1G and ACC have been on par or arguably better than the SEC. Those conferences have claimed 3 of 4 National Championships, while the SEC has experienced two seasons at or below .500 in bowl games, while only Alabama has been able to grab a title in that span.
During the first part of the SEC Dynasty (2006-2012) the conference had unmatched depth. Beyond the usual suspects, teams like Missouri, Arkansas, Georgia and Ole Miss have all found themselves in top 10 rankings from time to time. The conference didn’t really have any shitty teams at all. People (Lil’ Dogg) would argue the top SEC teams got some “benefit of the doubt” in the rankings from time to time, and quite frankly…they deserved it.
Since 2012, though, the bottom has really fallen out of the SEC, and it’s begun to wear on the top teams. Georgia always blows it in the end. The Mississippi teams always fall short of pre-season projections. Arkansas and Mizzou? Do they still have teams?
On Monday, when UGA and BAMA meet for the National Title, it may hold the future of the conference, and college football, in the balance. Will this be a reminder to the rest of the conference and to the High School recruits out there, that the SEC belongs on top? Will it be a resurgence for the kings of College?
Or, will this be a last hoorah? One grand day to cap off a dwindling empire?
For the past four seasons, the rest of the country has smelled blood, and they’ve struck a lot of blows. The SEC is fighting back this week with all they have, but only time will tell if it’s the sign of things to come.