SEC Football: 10 Reasons the SEC Will Win 10 Straight National Titles
The SEC has won the last six national titles in a row, and the winner has beaten the Big 12 champion, the Pac-12 champion and even its own conference champion in order to earn the crystal football.
With a six-pack under its belt already, it is far from unreasonable to expect the SEC to extend the streak to a decade. Can the SEC extend the streak to 10? Yes. Will the SEC extend the streak to 10? That answer is also "yes," and we will cover the reasons in this article.
Here are 10 reasons that the SEC will extend the streak to at least 10 straight national championships.
10. The Conference Already Has Six
As discussed in the intro, the SEC already has six straight national championships. Beginning in 2006, Florida, LSU, Alabama and Auburn have combined to win them.
Florida and Alabama each have two national championships in the last six years, with LSU and Auburn filling in the holes between those two teams' titles.
Nobody in the BCS era has ever repeated as national champion, so the contributions of LSU and Auburn between the two title favorites were essential to the SEC's continued dominance.
With six already in-hand, we only need to prove why the SEC will win the next four.
9. Notre Dame vs. SEC Champion in 2012
Notre Dame has had an amazing season so far, and the Irish have always found a way to silence all critics this season.
The victories over Big Ten powers certainly helped the Irish cause, but those same powers didn't have the greatest seasons, either. Notre Dame's wins over Purdue, Michigan and Michigan State look a lot less impressive at the end of the season than they did during the preseason ranking period.
Notre Dame took down Oklahoma in Norman by 17 points, and that was an impressive feat. However, it's still not a victory over an SEC offensive or defensive line. Notre Dame has played sound defense all season and locks down in the red zone if an opponent even manages to get there.
Notre Dame has not been tested by a team that is currently in the BCS Top 10, aside from Stanford, who they needed an overtime period to put away. The next time that will happen is more than a month after the SEC championship game is finished. With a month to prepare, the SEC champion will be favored over the Irish.
There is a reason for that, and we will cover it much more in a later slide.
8. Conference Record in National Championship Games
Since the BCS started, the SEC has participated in the national championship game at the end of eight seasons: 1998, 2003 and 2006-2011.
The SEC has eight national championships to show for its eight appearances. With a "perfect" record in the BCS era (LSU lost to Alabama in 2011), there is even less room for doubt that the SEC champion will prevail in any championship game it suits up for.
7. Top Defenses
According to cfbstats.com, the SEC has performed quite well in terms of scoring defense over the last five years:
2012 (season not finished yet): Alabama and Florida are the No. 1 and No. 3 scoring defenses in the nation.
2011: Alabama and LSU finished at No. 1 and No. 2.
2010: Alabama finished No. 3.
2009: Alabama and Florida finished No. 2 and No. 4.
2008: Florida and Alabama finished No. 4 and No. 7.
This does not mean that the SEC has a monopoly on good defense, but it does show that the SEC's elite team(s) each season are also the nation's elite.
In 2010, Auburn's defense finished 53rd in scoring defense nationally and still held the Oregon Ducks to only 19 points. The SEC will field better defenses than the rest of the nation for at least four more years.
If you can't score on the opponent, you can't win the game.
6. Stuff Always Happens
As discussed earlier, the SEC wins national championships. Therefore, the best way to make sure the SEC doesn't win is to make sure it doesn't get in at all.
Oregon, Kansas State and Notre Dame all had that opportunity in 2012. Notre Dame held up its end of the bargain by remaining undefeated, but neither Oregon nor Kansas State did the same.
2012 was one of the best opportunities in the last seven years to keep the SEC out of the game. 2011 was a prime opportunity for the SEC not to appear as well. Oregon had a shot at LSU in the season opener, which could have kept the Tigers out of the game from Week 1.
In turn, Oklahoma State could have simply beaten Iowa State and at least made LSU deal with Justin Blackmon. However, Oregon lost to LSU and Oklahoma State lost to Iowa State.
Like 2012, whenever the SEC does something to get left out of the title game, other teams simply can't resist putting them back in the race. Getting in is the hardest part of the battle for the SEC.
The SEC continually puts up some of the best recruiting boards in the nation. While there are plenty of other teams from other conferences that pull in the nation's top recruiting class, the SEC has consistently put multiple teams near the top.
2012: Alabama (No. 1), Florida (No. 4) and Georgia (No. 5).
2011: Alabama (No. 2), Auburn (No. 3) and Georgia (No. 6).
2010: Florida (No. 1), Alabama (No. 3) and Auburn (No. 4).
There were even more SEC teams inside the top 15 during all of those years, but just those results clearly show that the SEC is poised for success in the near future.
There are some great coaches, and they aren't all in the SEC. However, there are more elite coaches in the SEC than in any other conference.
Will Muschamp has got his Florida Gators heading to the Sugar Bowl this season, Nick Saban has the Crimson Tide in the SEC Championship Game again, Mark Richt has the Georgia Bulldogs in the conference title game for the second year in a row and Les Miles has a decimated LSU program just shy of a BCS bowl after losing an astounding number of men between 2011 and 2012.
If you throw Vanderbilt's James Franklin, Mississippi State's Dan Mullen, Ole Miss's Hugh Freeze and Texas A&M's Kevin Sumlin into the mix, it's easy to see that there are even more coaches in the SEC who could bring a national championship home sooner rather than later.
Not only are there coaches already in position to make national-championship runs, but there are those up-and-coming coaches who are getting there quite quickly. Texas A&M has proved that it has a quarterback who can hang with the best in the nation. Ole Miss went from cellar-dweller to bowl-eligible in one season. Vanderbilt is no longer in the bilge of the SEC East Division.
The SEC is getting stronger, and the streak already stands at six national titles.
3. Preparation—Iron Sharpens Iron
There are great teams in other conferences. Oregon, Florida State, Clemson, Kansas State...the list of championship contenders goes on and on.
What rivalry weekend taught everyone is that playing tough competition readies you to beat other tough competition better than playing weak teams does. Florida State "should" have beaten Florida. Clemson "should" have beaten South Carolina.
The stats all told the truth. Florida State had one of the best defenses in the nation (statistically), and Florida State's offense was leaps and bounds better than the Gators'. Clemson was facing a South Carolina squad that was missing key players.
What did Florida and South Carolina have that the ACC teams didn't? Tougher competition. Florida had faced LSU, South Carolina, Texas A&M and Georgia before taking on Florida State. South Carolina had faced LSU, Florida and Georgia, not to mention the rest of the SEC.
As Vanderbilt proved, even the "lesser" teams in the SEC are better than their ACC equivalents. The SEC squads came away undefeated in cross-conference games during rivalry weekend. The only major difference was the level of competition during the season.
The SEC is home to some of the best teams in the nation. Playing against competition like that prepares you much faster than blowing through competition. The results against the ACC speak for themselves, as Wake Forest, Georgia Tech, Florida State and Clemson all fell to their SEC rivals last week.
2. Top-Four Finishers That Weren't Allowed into the Title Game
For this slide, let's take a look at the BCS rankings before the bowls for every year that an SEC team didn't make the championship game.
1999: Alabama was BCS No. 4
2000: Florida was BCS No. 7
2001: Florida was BCS No. 5
2002: Georgia was BCS No. 4
2004: Auburn was BCS No. 3
2005: Auburn was BCS No. 7
So, out of the six years that the SEC did not make the final game, there were three seasons where the SEC's champion finished inside the BCS Top 4 and four seasons with BCS Top 5 finishes.
This shows that, even when left out, the SEC was almost in. This will help prove the point in the next slide quite well.
1. The Playoffs Are Coming
The SEC recruiting, coaching and track record all combine to show that 2012 and 2013 are likely to go to the SEC, but what about after that? Well, to put it bluntly, the playoffs are coming.
Beginning in 2014, there will be a system that pits the top four teams in college football against each other in order to determine the national champion. How those four teams are determined has yet to be ironed out, but it's safe to say that a conference champion that finishes in the top four will not be left out.
As we have discussed earlier, if the SEC gets into the game, the conference representative walks away with the crystal football. Even when Alabama lost to Texas A&M this season, the Tide only dropped to BCS No. 4. Oregon, Kansas State and Notre Dame were ahead of the Tide, but there was an important lineup behind them.
Here is the BCS Top 10 the week after Alabama lost:
1. Kansas State
3. Notre Dame
8. Texas A&M
9. South Carolina
10. Florida State
This means that, basically no matter what happened from Week 12 on, an SEC team was guaranteed to finish in the BCS Top Four. This means that there will likely be an SEC team in at least the first two playoffs.
2012 will see the SEC's seventh straight BCS championship, and 2013 will yield the conference's eighth BCS title. The playoff will increase the SEC's chances of getting in, so the years 2014 and 2015 will extend the streak to 10.
The question the other conferences need to ask themselves is, "Did we really want a playoff?" Be careful what you wish for, folks, because you might just get it.