Its rough being an Arkansas Razorback fan right now. Trust me, I’m one of the biggest. We came into this season not only expecting SEC supremacy, but perhaps even a legitimate National Championship run.
Those hopes were dashed when halfway through the season, our record was rocked by two heartbreaking losses. Auburn, in a completely unexpected turn of events, has skyrocketed to number one in the land. Alabama suffered defeat for the first time since McElroy lined up under center. LSU can’t get a ball down the field but still wins, and Mississippi State is in the Top 25 for the first time in years.
This doesn’t even address Georgia’s woes, or the fact that last week Florida had fallen out of the top 25 for the first time since 2007.
The central issue here, the one that truly needs addressing, is the unquestionable domination of the SEC West in college football this year. There were whisperings in the preseason regarding rumors of Cam Newton emerging into legendary status, of Ryan Mallett getting 4,000 yards of offense by himself, and Georgia finally being able to knock Florida from their perch atop the Eastern Division.
Ladies and gentlemen, the SEC West this year may be the strongest any conference or conference subdivision has ever been….ever. Five of six teams, excluding Nutt’s boys down in Oxford, are ranked in the Top 25.
That which I was most afraid of seems to be coming to pass. I am an Arkansas fan first, but I’m an SEC fan second. I want to see that crystal trophy remain in SEC hands. Our conference, however, is starting to do exactly what I was most terrified of: We’re all so good, that we’re beating each other, and there’s a lot of football left to be played that could ruin our shining records.
I honestly can say that when Alabama beat my Hogs in Fayetteville, I was heartbroken. Despite that, immediately after the game, I held hopes that Bama would go undefeated for the rest of the year so they could keep the title in SEC hands. . . then South Carolina beat them.
“All is well and good!” I thought. “Perhaps The Old Ball Coach will take the Gamecocks to the big game this year!”
Then South Carolina lost. Twice.
Auburn, after their tangle with LSU this past weekend, is the only remaining undefeated team in the SEC. With the Iron Bowl still remaining to be played, however, I’m not sure that will remain the case.
Luckily for us, my fellow SEC fans, the computer is apparently at least somewhat capable of appreciating the strength of schedule, and we will still probably see a one loss SEC team jump over Boise, Oregon, or TCU, depending on the mood of the Coaches Poll that day, and still see the winner of the SEC Championship game (which will be Auburn or Bama) go to the National Championship game.
“Balderdash!” You say. “It is time for Boise to get their chance! They’ve not lost since 4 billion BC!”
“Ah, but wait,” I say. “Could Boise still have this record if they were in the SEC?”
The argument of course would continue, but we would eventually come to where I pose my final question, which I don’t think can be honestly answered by anyone who doubts the SEC’s supremacy.
If the goal of the National Championship game is to identify the best team in college football, should strength of schedule, and a team’s ability to beat other talented teams, not be the determining factor?
I’m sure that this is all quite controversial stuff that I’m saying in my chopped and hackneyed prose, but I honestly want us, as SEC fans, to continue to do that which irritates fans across the nation. Root for your team, but when the time comes, root for your conference. We are the best, after all.