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

Hampton,

Even though this is a discussion about college football dominance, I'm glad you brought up the Civil War. The way I see it, the SEC's Reign of 21-0 Dixieland Terror will only be more absolute in the coming decades. Not because something in the water of the old Confederacy produces inherently better athletes, blessed with the myth of "SEC speed." Not because the conference seems to spend more money on coaching and player acquisition than its geographic rivals. Not even because the schools that can't actually play football still produce killer tailgating.

No, the reason SEC will reign supreme long after Alabama constructs an actual pyramid in honor of Nick Saban is simple: Southern college football fans care more. Like, way more than anywhere else. For them, football is manhood, identity, obsession, madness. And that's just the talk radio part of it. So when the inconvenient truth that football destroys children's brains eventually forces the college game to shrink and wither—and mark my words, that day is coming, either via lawsuits or the belated realization that institutions of higher education charged with in loco parentis duties probably shouldn't be sponsoring and celebrating official, organized student activities that inevitably result in brain damage—the South will embrace the sport that much more tightly. It will become the glorious, Yankee-go-home, don't-tell-us-what-to-do Lost Cause of the 21st century: when all you have is pride, all you have is pride ... and War Eagle!

As for the immediate future? Such as the coming season? I like Southern Cal's chances of ending the SEC's national title streak. More than that, I like the idea of USC doing so, mostly because of how much Southern fans detest Trojans coach Lane Kiffin—a man who had the gall to take a job at Tennessee, act bratty and irreverent without any Spurrier-like aw-shucks drawling charm, and then dump the conference for a better gig elsewhere. Plus, a USC championship would mean great memes.

Jake, is the rest of college football living in the SEC's world? Or will another school break the conference's hammerlock?

–Patrick

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Sports Roundtable

Patrick Hruby, Jake Simpson, and Hampton Stevens 

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