I had just gotten in my car and begun a long drive back to my hotel room after watching Ohio State get blasted in the desert air back in 2007. I don't need to remind anyone what happened on the fateful night, because it seems to be the precipice of all of the Big Ten bashing over the last few years.
In case you are new to the college football scene—or have been in a coma for three years—I will get it out there now: The No. 1-ranked Ohio State team got blasted by a hungrier Florida team 41-14. Yes, they were outplayed.
Despite not wanting to hear anymore about the game, I still naturally turned on the local sports radio station in Phoenix because I am, well, male. The topic du jour: You guessed it, a recap of the game that was just starting to go to a call-in segment.
We'll name our caller "Joe." Joe was, shall we say, just a bit excited about how Florida played in the bowl game and was obviously in a celebratory mood. His voice quivered and his tones shot up and down with excitement.
He was obviously living vicariously through the exploits of his Gators right? Not exactly. When hanging up, "Joe" began talking about his love for Ole Miss. What? That's right, "Joe" was taking credit for a fellow SEC member school whoopin' up on those Yankee boys from Ohio.
As we fast forward a few years, it is becoming evident more and more this kind of thing is happening on message boards and sports talk radio all over the country. Apparently, your team in the SEC doesn't need to win anything, you just need to be associated with the same conference to feel proud.
Perhaps I am missing something here, but I just don't get it. If my peer gets promoted to vice president in the office, what does it do for me? Nothing, plain and simple.
My peer's success does not result in a raise for me, it does not give me a better quality of life, and sure doesn't go on my resume. That, however, does not appear to be the mindset of SEC fans.
If Florida wins a national championship, then go Rebels! If LSU lays claim to a BCS bowl win, then alrighty Kentucky! If Alabama dismantles another BCS school, then obviously the SEC got 'er done again.
So, how did we get to this point, SEC fans? I could guess at things like the history of the Civil War that might still be a begrudging mindset, or a snooty attitude and tendency of Northerners to make fun of folks from the Sun Belt, but all I would be doing is reaching for an answer.
My best guess has to do with the lynch mob mentality. It is no secret that ESPN and other media giants have fallen in love with the SEC. It is also no secret that fans of the SEC have great passion (I am sure I will see this firsthand after this article).
Truth be told, the SEC has won the last three national championships, and sent more players to the NFL than any other conference in recent years. It is hard to argue against the fact that the SEC is the best conference in this cyclical world of college football. The result: A fan base that has something to talk about.
And how they talk! The masses have been growing, but the arguments remain the same unoriginal brain dumps. We get it, SEC fan: Your team has won a recent national championship. Your team Rocks! No other team from any conference can beat your team loaded with speed.
Is it possible for a conference with the most successful recent history to actually be overrated? Is there an end to this nonsense?
I can already see the stream of arguments and same old comments streaming into my inbox after SEC fans read this. All it will be is a regurgitation of what someone else has said or written. The Southern hospitality and charm will quickly melt away into ignorance.
To beat you to the punch, let me start it out for you:
Yes, I follow a Big 10 team, and we have gotten beaten badly by SEC teams the last two times on the big stage. Big Ten teams also don't recruit much out of the Midwest, so obviously they must be missing out on the speed of Florida, Texas, and other states south of the Mason-Dixon line.
Futhermore, Big 10 games are ugly to watch, and anyone with any kind of football IQ can see that the talent level is lacking. The best coaches reside in the SEC...shall I keep going?
SEC Joe, it is time to get something worthwhile outside of taking your identity in college football. Go out to a nice dinner with your significant other. Spend some quality time with your children. Take a class. Learn karate, but please spare us the same old B.S. that spouted from your mouth for three years now.
Let me just lay some ground rules and reset your mindset:
1. If your team does not win a national championship, you can in no way, shape, or form take credit for it by simply being a part of the conference. You should feel some remorse for the team that you follow not winning.
2. You do not play for said SEC team, so even if the team you follow wins a national championship, you had absolutely nothing to do with it. Yes, shocking isn't it?
3. You do not work on the staff and hence did not interview the coach, so you don't get kudos for a great program building hire. You also did not blaze the recruiting trail, so don't brag about the great recruits coming in.
4. Don't forget the SEC was not always on top, and chances are mighty good that your team will go through a downturn sometime soon. Remember this, Alabama?
5. You cannot pick and choose stats that make your conference look good and discard those that bring the one-sided approach back to reality. Hint: Always go back to championships: that's what matters and you have that one on us now in recent history.
6. "The SEC rocks!" is not a good argument for conference supremacy. Nor is, "we have more speed." It is simply not true people born in the South are naturally faster. Do you understand how uneducated this sounds?
Is this sinking in? I really hope one of your conference members keeps winning, SEC Joe. Though I can't help but think there are many people throughout this country who feel much differently.
Perhaps this year ends up being another banner year for you, or maybe, just maybe, the law of averages will begin to right itself. No matter how it pans out, I am sure it will not stop SEC Joe from typing, talking, or lamenting about things before he actually thinks them out.
I must admit I'm exhausted. I would write more, but since my typing speed is stereotypically slow because I am from Ohio, I need a break.
Perhaps I'll go out and find someone from Mississipi who can help my friend type faster for me and write my articles. Maybe then, I can take the credit I duly deserve.