SEC Football: Alabama's Rout of Notre Dame Proves SEC Is in a League of Its Own
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When Alabama center Barrett Jones dumped a cooler of crimson Gatorade on the back of head coach Nick Saban at the end of Monday night's decisive 42-12 victory over Notre Dame, it did more than just signify the second straight national title for the Tide.
It also signified the undeniable supremacy of the Southeastern Conference.
The coveted crystal football has now stayed in the SEC for the last seven seasons and in the state of Alabama for the last four.
In that time, the SEC has beaten nearly every major conference for the title—including itself.
At the very start of the run, the Big Ten Conference sent its best at the SEC—the Ohio State Buckeyes.
In the first contest, it looked like OSU was well on its way to victory when Ted Ginn Jr. took back the opening kickoff to the house. However, after that electrifying return, it was all Florida.
And it has been all SEC ever since.
The Gators wrapped up the 2007 title with a dominant 41-14 win.
The next year, LSU carried on the tradition, stomping OSU 38-24. This was the same LSU team that lost two regular-season SEC games—one to Kentucky and the other to Arkansas.
Yes, a team lost to Kentucky in football and won the national title in the same season. If that doesn't display the SEC's dominance by itself, I don't know what does.
Well, I'll continue anyway.
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Next came the Big 12 Conference, which also sent its top two programs after the SEC in consecutive years.
The contest in 2009—one of the most competitive in the SEC's run—pitted Tim Tebow's Florida squad against Sam Bradford and Oklahoma.
Bradford, the eventual first overall NFL draft pick, actually hit current Cincinnati Bengals tight end Jermaine Gresham for a touchdown in the fourth quarter to tie the game up.
However, it was Tebow who would have the final say, leading two fourth-quarter scoring drives to secure a 10-point Gator victory.
The Big 12 would come back the next year with Texas, but Alabama's run game proved to be too much in that contest. Led by Heisman winner Mark Ingram and Heisman finalist Trent Richardson, 'Bama tallied 205 yards and four scores on the ground, as the Tide rolled 37-21.
At that moment, the crystal football submitted its official change of residency to the state of Alabama.
How much longer will the SEC's supremacy last?
Even the allure of the tranquil Pacific Northwest couldn't draw that oblong piece of fancy glass out of Dixie when the Pac-12 Conference (then called the Pac-10) came calling.
One of college football's hottest programs challenged the South's rule, but even Oregon's high-flying offense couldn't end the SEC dominance, as Auburn, led by a cast of future NFL stars, sent UO flying back up North in disappointment.
The Ducks, led by their dynamic running back LaMichael James, did try mightily, but the Tigers ended up prevailing on a 19-yard field goal as time expired.
The following was perhaps the pinnacle of the conference's dominance. The all-SEC 2012 title game between Alabama and LSU ensured that the conference would stay atop college football.
Alabama, of course, would emerge the victors in a 21-0 shutout in that game then come back and repeat against Notre Dame to cap the 2012 season and give the SEC its seventh straight title.
In those seven BCS championship victories, the SEC winners have outscored their opponents by 119 points.
The biggest blowout came on Monday night when Alabama clubbed Notre Dame—one of college football's most storied programs.
There are only a few tasks left for the SEC after topping the Big Ten, Big 12, Pac-12 and now Notre Dame.
The ACC, MAC, Sun Belt and a few other conferences have yet to challenge the SEC.
Perhaps Duke, South Florida or Troy can rise to the occasion in the next few years—they're all technically Southern schools.
However, with the first ever freshman Heisman Trophy winner wearing an SEC patch on his jersey for the next few years, I wouldn't bet on it.
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