I often marvel at the difference in conversations that college football fans have when compared to fans of other sports and other leagues. Here in the SEC, we’re not content to brag about the new quarterback for our team, or the fact that we are bringing back 8+ starters on defense. No, we must expand the conversation to include conference domination.
The Pac-12 sucks! The Big Ten is weak! These are common statements that you hear in the southeast. Don’t get me wrong. I’m one of the main people spouting this kind of pro-SEC rhetoric.
Sometimes we even like to take it out on a specific program. Take Ohio State for example. When Ohio State’s #1 ranked team with Heisman quarterback Troy Smith traveled to Glendale to take on the underdog Florida Gators in the BCS Championship, almost the entire crowd was Ohio State fans. The arrogance was well on display – your standard slob wearing an Ohio State jersey thought it beneath him to sit next to a Gator fan. Ted Ginn takes the opening kick to the house. Ohio State fans (and some Big Ten fans) were on cloud 9. And since that moment, the program and conference has been on the decline.
Maybe it was the arrogance that traveled from Columbus to Glendale that has made SEC fans despise Ohio State and want to humiliate them over and over again. Or maybe we just like being on top. I’m fine with either justification.
The best part is that we’re not even content to humiliate other conferences or teams by winning five straight BCS Championships and having a hysterical win streak over Ohio State that remains in tact since they played ineligible players during the Sugar Bowl. No, we take it even further. We want to actually dismantle other conferences and take over the world.
Yes, one of the hottest topics (especially during the offseason) for fans is SEC expansion. The number of comments and web traffic on these type of articles provide clear evidence of this each summer.
There’s nothing more satisfying in June and July than a discussion about how we’re going to rip apart the Big 12 and make the SEC even bigger and badder. Think about how unique this is in sports. Imagine a Braves fan yelling at an Astros fan telling them that the NL Central sucks and the NL East is going to take the Cards and the Cubs and leave them in the cold and ruin the future of that division. Only in college football do we actually have entities made up of groups of teams that try to ruin the other entities made up of groups of teams in the same sport.
It’s sort of like Mike Slive and other Conference Commissioners going back to the days on the playground as little kids when captains pick their teams. The below average participants don’t get picked and are forced to play with the girls. The girls of course in this analogy represent the ACC and the Big East.
In what other professional context do grown men get to relive the glory days of being an 8-year old on the playground? Even more, billions of dollars are at stake for the individuals who may or may not get picked. This couldn’t be more awesome. If only more things in life resembled college football conference expansion.
The trend is clear. The future is inevitable. I look for the SEC to continue to expand until anything of value in the football universe is absorbed and the rest discarded. Oregon, we’ll take your facilities. You can keep your hippie fan base. Lane Kiffin, we’ll take your wife. You, we will hand over to an unruly mob of Tennessee fans. Clemson, we’ll take that cool rock and pre-game entrance routine you have, but your campus looks too much like Auburn to be allowed in the conference. Florida State, we will take your girls, that awesome horse-riding Indian with a flaming spear, and that bar Potbelly’s, but the 99% meathead male portion of the student body isn’t getting in. Ohio State, the only thing of value was Kirk Herbstreit and now he lives in Nashville, so we have nothing to discuss.
Then, the SEC will look to Europe.