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SEC: “Great Conference, or GREATEST Conference?”

Thanks, Young Money.

We’re all fans of Grantland here at KSR (I speak for at least one of us), and recently GL blogger Michael Weinreb asked a question we’ve wondered to ourselves for the last few years:

Is the SEC the best conference right now, or is it just the best conference period?

After six championships in as many years, it’s hard to fault the SEC for considering the above question.  Two, three years ago, it would have been a little early.  But after over half a decade of dominance, it’s become a legitimate musing.  Even Weinreb admits that the conference has earned its somewhat haughty attitude:

And who can fault the SEC if it tends toward hubris these days? Six straight national championships in a part of the country where college football is inextricably tied to the region’s identity will do that. If that swagger has carried over from coaches to fans to even certain media members who cover them – I heard one talk-radio show host label the Big Ten Conference “holier than thou” – isn’t that to be expected? Hasn’t this little party been earned?

To be sure, the SEC has absolutely dominated the college football landscape the last couple few six years.  While other conferences have fiddled with new-fangled spread offenses and gimmicky, novelty play-calling, teams in the Southeast have buttered their bread by steamrolling teams defensively.  The result is a league-wide passion for stifling and frustrating offesnses, and it’s paid off for the conference members.  Of course, this is nothing new to us; we see it every Saturday in football season when we’re just happy to give the other quarterback a concussion, much less win games.  To the conference’s newcomers, though, it’s less than apparent.

According to Missouri wide receiver T.J. Moe, “Sure, the SEC’s won the last six national championships, but not all 12 teams have won them.  There’s one or two teams dominating everybody, and everyone else is kind of average. Well, not average … “

Actually, T.J., four SEC teams have won titles in the last six years.  That’s not exactly “one or two” teams.  Also, Moe noted that “Smash-mouth football isn’t going to take [the Tigers] by surprise.”

That’s actually hilarious.  I don’t know about you, but I can’t wait to see the new guys get waxed a few times this coming season.  Not because I have any particular dislike for the teams; I don’t.  They simply haven’t shared our pain, trying to be successful in arguably the most difficult league college football has ever seen.  They need to get knocked around a couple times before their claims have merit.

Also of particular, albeit somewhat scathing, note, was Weinreb’s brief mention of UK’s presser:

Kentucky coach Joker Phillips talked more about basketball than football.

While that may be seen as a negative by some, I actually take it as something of a positive.  Can’t expect to change the program by denying certain truths.  As it stands, people in Kentucky care more about basketball than football.  Joker is making a smart move by hitching his cart to that wagon, and hopefully it results in some dividends for the football program.

So now that the question has been posed, what do you think?  Is the SEC great, or greatest ever?

Article written by Corey Nichols

8 Comments for SEC: “Great Conference, or GREATEST Conference?”

  1. bill
    3:03 pm July 22, 2012 Permalink

    Well, the Sec also has more championships than the Big East in basketball in the last 20 years too…

    But, the football question isnt even a debate. Throughout history the SEC has been a good conference, pick a decade and SEC teams were representing

  2. UK Homer
    3:38 pm July 22, 2012 Permalink

    Yeah, 4 of 12 teams have contributed to those 6 straight national championships, but we as UK fans have absolutely no stake in the strength of the SEC. Save a couple years when we approached .500 in the league, we have been the bottom tier. Bama, UF, LSU, and Auburn can talk of SEC dominance all they want – they deserve it. Even also-rans like Arkansas, SC, UGA, and maybe even UT (1999 was not that long ago) can talk up the SEC. The Mississippi schools, Vandy, and us strike fear in NO major conference team…who do you think the top 7-8 SEC teams consistently beat to get in position to win championships or bowls? Us. I hope it’s not always this way, but until we get serious around here I don’t want to hang from the big boys’ coattails and laugh at other conferences because we’re not the reason the SEC is great. Boastful SEC football talk has no place on a Kentucky sports blog, unfortunately. We may not even win an SEC game this season.

  3. WINNIN9
    3:40 pm July 22, 2012 Permalink

    I agree 1, even when the SEC wasn’t the best football conference, it wasn’t far behind. Now it’s leagues apart from the others. And the Big East dominated basketball for a decade, yet Louisville fans have created a reputation for it being the best ever. Those years are over but they still hang on to it.

  4. UK Snuggy
    5:17 pm July 22, 2012 Permalink

    Corey, Corey… please check out what #2 says above. You can laugh at the Mizzou players’ ignorance of their new conference but their ignorance isn’t about the UK program. They know that they don’t need to fear UK football; hardly anyone does. You can write about the SEC being the strongest all day long, but that’s just like a U of L fan piping on about the Big East being so srong in basketball; it’s just a fan trying to live vicariously through the victories of the stronger parts of the conference. If we want to go on and on about how great UK is in basketball or cheerleading, then we can do that, but don’t make a joke of yourself writing about the SEC’s dominance in football when UK hasn’t done a damn thing to contribute to it.

  5. jaxcats8503
    5:34 pm July 22, 2012 Permalink

    I really hope Sundays don’t become Corey Nichols days. 9am post during the week is 5 too many as it is.

  6. jpgott2
    5:42 pm July 22, 2012 Permalink

    The SEC can puff its chest in football because the conference has won the last 6 National Championships. The Big East on the other hand has been talking about how it is the best Basketball conference, but have not really backed that up when it comes to National Championships. Those 2 things are totally different.

    UK has the football fan-base to be a legit powerhouse. We were top-25 in attendance nationally during the 2nd-half of the Brooks era. It has slid since Joker’s struggles.

  7. UK Snuggy
    7:36 pm July 22, 2012 Permalink

    To #6, once the NCAA decides to change the bowl eligibility criteria to fan attendance rather than wins that argument may hold water. However, until then using the word “powerhouse” and Kentucky in the same sentence when discussing football is a tragic abuse of the term.

  8. blueneck
    10:49 am July 23, 2012 Permalink

    At one point last fall the SEC had three teams in the top five, that’s 25% of the conference. Who can match that? Of course the other teams are gonna be weaker. By default, if 3-4 teams are dominating everyone else is losing to allow them to go 8-0, 7-1, 6-2 in conference. The alternative is to have everyone at 5-3, 4-4, 3-5 (the SEC East) and call everyone mediocre.
    But at least UK fans can say we see the highest level of football every year. Can a IU or UL fan say that?