A Guide To Sniffing Out The SEC "Man Behind The Curtain"

T.V. HenryContributor ISeptember 3, 2009

ATHENS, GA - OCTOBER 11:  UGA VII, mascot of the Georgia Bulldogs stands the field before the game against the Tennessee Volunteers at Sanford Stadium on October 11, 2008 in Athens, Georgia.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)


As the college football begins, beware of The Man Behind the Curtain and his scalding hot air.

First, A Tale of Two Resumes

The first? 18 of the last 22 national titles [including] 6 of the last seven. [Teams from this conference] frequently occupy half of the top 8 [spots] at the end of the year

The second? 14-13 vs. the Big 10 since 1999. . . 7-10 vs. the Pac-10 since 2000. . .  6-6 vs. the ACC last season.

Which shows dominance? Your answer is duly noted. By the way, the second resume belongs to SEC football. (The first is Pac-10 softball, just to give perspective on what true dominance looks like.)You wouldn’t know that SEC football is so close to the rest of the pack by the way the sports media interminably repeats the “SEC is the best” mantra with Gregorian-chant like conformity. It’s to the point where you too can’t help but be hypnotized. Like the Great Oz, the SEC fan base blusters and bellows, fake thunderclaps jostling nerves like fern branches in the breeze. Comply or be blowhard-ed to death, no matter what your senses tell you (let alone our lying eyes).

A friend [who works at an SEC school] calls this the Principle of Unfalsifiability. Like any article of faith, it renders facts irrelevant. It’s why your wife can’t be cheating, those lying No-tell Motel receipts be damned. Just change the standard of evidence, once the inconvenient truths begin stacking up like the Persians in 300.

Wanna see this intellectual version of Lucy yanking the football away from Charlie Brown in action? It goes a little something like this.

When Ole Miss beats Florida, “they’re a great team” that shows “the great depth of the SEC,” and they get a top 10 ranking the following preseason. When Oregon State beats USC, “USC just had a bad game.” 

When Utah stomps Alabama, ONE offensive tackle makes ALL the difference. When Oklahoma and Ohio St. lose to Florida without their most explosive offensive players and return men, well “if they needed one guy that much, they really weren’t that good.”

When Utah blasted UCLA in 2007 and Pittsburgh in 2005, it was “The Pac-10 and Big East are embarrassing.”

When UL-Monroe and Duke hand SEC bowl teams the two most embarrassing non-conference losses of any conference in the past few years (yes, including the Michigan loss to App. St.), its “hey, ULM and Duke were pretty good.”(No, really, I’ve heard that.)

When USC overwhelms Ohio St and Penn St, it’s “oh, the Big 10 has eroded.”

When USC overwhelms the SEC west champ Arkansas on their home field, “that Arkansas team wasn't really that good.”

When SEC quarterbacks struggle to complete routine throws in conference, it’s called “SEC defense”

When [the same QBs] struggle vs. Troy (see LSU), Wyoming (see Tennessee), Duke (see Vanderbilt), West Virginia (see Auburn, Mississippi St.), Missouri (see Arkansas, Ole Miss) UL Monroe, Utah (see Alabama), Colorado (see Georgia), or they don’t get drafted (see Chris Leak, Brandon Cox) SEC evangelists pull the old Men In Black trick; a flash of light from a pen, and hope all memory disappears.

When quarterbacks from other conferences (Pat White, Brian Johnson, Matt Groethe, Chase Daniel, etc) move the ball at will on SEC defenses, it’s . . .well, IBID

When Florida loses to Michigan in a home (bowl) game after winning the turnover battle 4-0, "they didn't want to be there."

Greatness never needs extraneous vindication; it vindicates itself. Florida is an elite program, by any measure, and so is LSU. So, as the gridiron journeys of Fall begin anew in earnest across the plains of Nebraska, twixt fields of corn in Iowa, near swampy bayous in Louisiana, and in the shadow Oregon pines, let your senses drink their hearty fill of them. But if at any time SEC boosters and their handmaidens bluster like the Great OZ of their dominance, always remember that you have Toto, and he always sniffs out the quavering, insecure little man behind the curtain.