College Football Preview: When Will the SEC's Reign End?

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The last time a team outside the conference won the national championship was 2005. Will it ever happen again?

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Every week, our panel of sports fans discusses a topic of the moment. For today's conversation, Hampton Stevens (writer, ESPN and The Atlantic), Jake Simpson (writer, The Atlantic), and Patrick Hruby (writer, ESPN and The Atlantic) discuss the upcoming college football season.


Guys, the new college football season smells like chicken. Southern fried. Again. And if you're not the kind to have grits for breakfast, the SEC's domination of every other football conference is getting a little dull. The last team from outside the all-mighty SEC to win a national championship was Texas, all the way back in 2005 when Vince Young galloped roughshod over USC. Since then, your BCS winners list reads like the lyrics to a Lynyrd Skynyrd song; Alabama twice, Florida twice, plus Auburn and LSU.

This year, the big are getting humongous-er. That's no surprise if you know your Civil War history—and that history repeats.

Way back in November of 1861, the State of Missouri officially declared itself to be no longer part of the United States. They quit the country and were admitted as the 12th state of the Confederacy. Exactly 150 years later, November 2011, the University of Missouri did it again. They seceded from the Big 12, and were admitted as the 14th member of Southeastern Conference.

My questions for you two? They're the same ones the whole country is asking: When will the SEC's dominance finally end? And what team will finally end it? How about it, guys. Can you make a case for USC or Oregon to win it all? Or maybe Texas and Oklahoma have a better shot from the reconfigured Big 12. The Big Ten still exists, I'm told. But will we have to until next season, after the walking soap opera that is Urban Meyer has an Ohio State team off its bowl ban?

Hey, some team from another conference has to win the BCS title eventually, right? In the unlikely event that Charlie Weis at KU won't (stop laughing), then tell me who will.

–Hampton

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Patrick Hruby, Jake Simpson, and Hampton Stevens 

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