SEC Pride: What fans have to brag about heading into rivalry week
SEC fans are a prideful bunch. From historically great programs to wonderful fan traditions to the conference’s recent dominance over the college football landscape, there’s plenty to chant “S-E-C!” about. Here’s a look at five things the conference’s fans can point to after week 13 of the regular season.
- The hottest team in the country. SEC fans have known Arkansas has been on the verge of victory all season, but the rest of the country just saw a sub-.500 team without a conference win. Now that the Razorbacks have registered two straight shutout wins over ranked opponents, they’re finally garnering some national respect, earning votes as high as No. 18 in the AP poll.
- The country’s most underrated team. Missouri climbed to No. 17 in the AP poll this week, their highest ranking of the season. There are still nine 2- and 3-win teams ahead of the Tigers, including one that the Tigers are ahead of in the SEC standings (although Georgia did shut the Tigers out). The Tigers ugly offense and loss to Indiana have earned Mizzou some of the disrespect; a second straight SEC East title might turn that around.
- Alumni shining bright. Odell Beckham Jr. is the talk of the NFL after his highlight-reel catch on Sunday Night Football. He’s one of several former SEC stars tearing it up at the next level. Guys like Mike Evans (Texas A&M, Tampa Bay Buccaneers), Jarvis Landry (LSU, Miami Dolphins), Jeremy Hill (LSU, Cincinnati Bengals) and Cody Parkey (Auburn, Philadelphia Eagles) have made names for themselves in their initial NFL campaigns.
- A chance to own out-of-conference rivals. Four SEC teams are playing out-of-conference rivals this weekend, giving the conference another chance to establish national dominance. The SEC has dominated its non-conference slate this year, losing just one game against Power 5 opponents, and they could further that record on Saturday with four big wins.
- All eyes on the SEC. The Iron Bowl is the crown jewel of Rivalry Week just about every year, and ESPN’s College GameDay is honoring the game’s importance with another SEC visit. The Egg Bowl carries national significance as well, while Florida can hand the Florida State Seminoles their first loss since…the 2012 game between these two teams. For once, fans will actually be rooting for the SEC on Saturday.