The SEC has won the last five BCS National Championship Games, and with the decision to opt for an all-SEC rematch this season in the title game, we're guaranteed to see the conference capture its sixth-straight BCS crown.
But since we're on a train with no brakes, we might as well have a little fun with the situation in which we find ourselves—inevitably hurtling toward another year of hearing how the SEC is the greatest thing since sliced bread.
There's been a lot of talk about this season's first meeting between LSU and Alabama.
(Wait! If they've played already...)
The 9-6 overtime “thriller” in Tuscaloosa made a mockery of the phrase “Game of the Century.”
In hindsight, it probably could have been called “Slapfight of the Century” or “Sorority Pillow Fight of the Century.”
It certainly wasn't cut from the same cloth of other epic college football battles we've come to know and love over the past few decades.
Three-point games are great, and there's nothing better than an overtime victory on the road. But both teams scoring a combined 15 points on five field goals?
Agonizing to watch.
But it did tell us one thing—in the SEC, a very high premium is placed on defense. Both Alabama and LSU are loaded with talent, but the real studs play on the defensive side of the ball.
Love him or hate him (and chances are if you're not from Tuscaloosa, you hate him), the man knows how to win.
Just take a look at his record.
His first-ever head coaching gig is at Toledo in 1990. He goes 9-2 and wins the MAC title in his only season.
He spends the next several seasons as a defensive coordinator in the NFL (defensive coordinator, you say?) before taking over as head coach at Michigan State.
Saban took an also-ran in the Big Ten in 1995 and turned them into a top-10 team by 1999, but fled East Lansing before the ink was dry on his massive new LSU contract (beginning the sad trend of coaches not even bothering to coach their team in a bowl game).
Still, Saban was 34-24-1 at MSU, which was apparently good enough to secure an SEC job.
What happened at LSU from 2000 to 2004 is the stuff of which legends are made. Saban was a combined 48-16 with at least a share of three SEC West titles, two SEC championships and a BCS Championship.
Not bad for five seasons of work.
Once again, Saban decided to chase a paycheck and left Baton Rouge for the NFL. After two seasons in which Saban posted a losing record (15-17), he found a new home in Tuscaloosa.
In his five seasons controlling the Tide, Saban has posted a 54-12 record, won two SEC-West crowns, an SEC title and a BCS Championship.
On January 9, Nick Saban will have a chance to become the first coach to win three BCS titles (he's already the first to win two with two separate teams).
At this point, it seems the only thing keeping Nick Saban from becoming the next Bear Bryant is the prospect that there's possibly some other program out there that will find a way to come up with more money that Alabama.
Les Miles began his coaching career at the same place he played football: Michigan.
Wait. Another Big Ten football guy leading an SEC team to success? Say it ain't so!
As much as the SEC loves its coaches, facts are facts, and the Big Ten has been the foundry for many of the steely men who roam southern sidelines.
If only the Big Ten could figure out how to keep these guys north of the Mason-Dixon Line, there might be an actual challenger to the SEC's supremacy.
After Miles got his first head coaching gig at Oklahoma State in 2001 (where he was 28-21 in four seasons), he was selected to replace Nick Saban at LSU.
It wasn't long before Miles was racking up the wins, but any thought of him riding the coattails of Saban have long since disappeared.
Les Miles has been at LSU longer than Nick Saban has been anywhere (one reason Miles is one spot higher on our list than Saban), and in those seven seasons, The Hat is 75-17 with three divisional championships, two SEC titles and a BCS title win.
Miles is also 5-1 in bowl games, including 2-0 in BCS bowls.
Weird bovine-like habits aside, Les Miles is easily one of the most instinctive, courageous and effective head coaches in the nation. This season's dominating performance by his Tigers has done nothing to dispel that belief, both from the Tigers faithful and the rest of the football world.
No, this isn't an answer to the Big Ten, or the Big 12.
We're talking about the big seven in the SEC: Alabama, LSU, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, South Carolina and Auburn.
These seven programs have established themselves as at least as good as any other selection of any seven other teams anywhere else in the nation—even seven teams from differing conferences.
Every team in this group, with the exception of South Carolina, has played in a BCS bowl at least once. Four of them have won BCS National Championship Games.
Go ahead. Come up with any grouping of seven other teams and try to prove it's conclusively better than the SEC's big seven.
There are literally hundreds and hundreds of recipes and mixes containing Southern Comfort, but we're not talking about whiskey here.
Southern Comfort isn't just a drink—it's a way of life for football players from Dixie.
So many of these athletes are born, raised and trained in the south, and the south is where they'll remain until they're 22 or 23 years old.
There's no other part of the country—not even Texas—that has such a monopoly on high school prospects as the SEC does over the best of the best from Louisiana, Alabama, Mississippi and Georgia.
With the addition of Texas A&M to the mix, the opening of the Texas talent pool to schools like Georgia and Florida could mean the SEC is well positioned to cling to their spot atop the FBS mountain.
We've already touched on this briefly when talking about Nick “Show Me The Money” Saban, but the other side of the coin is that the SEC pays as well if not better than another other conference in the nation when it comes to coaching staffs.
Football is simply a way of life in the south.
While other mundane things like basketball, hockey, baseball, pro sports and real life interfere in the rest of the nation, everything—and we mean everything—takes a back seat to SEC football in Dixieland.
It's no secret that the states of Mississippi and Alabama are completely devoid of professional sports.
It's only natural that teams like Alabama, Mississippi State, Ole Miss and Auburn fill the hole. Nature abhors a vacuum, and the absence of professional sports in the region only amplifies importance of the college teams.
What does that mean for the bottom line?
Rather than buying their son or daughter that favorite Alabama hat and favorite NFL team sweatshirt, mommy and daddy can spend their entire Christmas budget on Crimson Tide merchandise without having to send any cash in the direction of people who already make billions of dollars every year.
Consequently, LSU, Alabama and their compatriots in the SEC can afford to have the highest-paid collection of coaches the sport has ever seen.
While there's been no shortage of sunshine blown in the direction of the SEC, we do have to call a spade a spade when we see it.
And, for the most part, the SEC's non-conference scheduling has been a big, giant, ugly spade.
Yes, LSU put together an absolutely impressive and improbable string of games against ranked opponents this season, including a few whopping non-conference battles.
But beyond the Tigers this year, the plethora of late-season FCS opponents is enough to make any true football traditionalist gag.
As much fun as it may be for Crimson Tide fans to watch Alabama beat up on Georgia Southern in Week 11, there's no other BCS Automatic Qualifying Conference that schedules cream-puffs quite like the SEC.
We might be able to excuse a warm-up against a collection of FCS programs, but to play these much smaller programs at a time when you should be hitting your stride isn't just uninteresting, it's not sporting.
If you're going to play an FCS program, for the love of all things holy, do it in Week 1 or Week 2 like the rest of the nation, would you please?
We can only take so much of The Citadel at South Carolina or Furman at Florida so freaking late in the season.
Before we even begin here, we're going to preface this by saying the SEC isn't the only culprit here, and the NCAA deserves as much if not more blame than any individual player, coach, program or conference.
Now, we'd be remiss if we didn't mention the constant slick, back-room dealing that seems to go on during the recruitment of so many talented young football phenoms.
The Cam Newton and Cecil Newton saga was probably the most high-profile of recent cases, but don't for a second think that the Newtons are the only people to shop their talented son around the SEC.
And don't think for a moment that Auburn is the only team to pick up that particular phone when it rings.
And don't ever think that this is all limited to the SEC.
But in the SEC, there seems to be another level of “the club.” The fact that Mississippi State blew the whistle on Cecil Newton was in and of itself pretty surprising. Maybe it will do some good in the long run as certain programs announce to the rest of the SEC that the gig is up.
Some of the pretending not to notice extends to the field of play, too.
In the SEC Championship Game on December 3, one of the supposedly best-in-the-nation SEC officials magically missed the fact that Tyrann Mathieu threw the ball out of bounds before crossing the goal line in his now infamous punt return for a “touchdown.”
On top of that, the SEC replay official didn't bother to take a second glance on the obvious “fumble out of bounds for a touchback.”
So much for reviewing every play.
To add one final insult, Mathieu himself made a joke out of the whole situation, laughing it off and pretending that it doesn't really matter if he follows the rules of the game or not.
The way the BCS system is set up, it's easy to see how the SEC's greatness becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy each season.
Two-thirds of the BCS formula are taken from the two human polls that are part of the BCS—the AFCA Coaches Poll and the Harris Interactive Poll.
When each season begins and ends with talk about how great the SEC is, it's not really any surprise that the SEC begins the year with a number of teams pretty high in the rankings even though there's no real reason for such a ranking.
At least the Harris Poll has it right by not releasing a ranking until Week 6. But you can't honestly say that the Harris voters aren't influenced by the preseason talk and the early polls from the coaches or the AP.
If there was no preseason poll, would the Crimson Tide and their lackluster schedule have found themselves so highly ranked?
What about Arkansas? Is beating FCS Missouri State, New Mexico and Troy really all it takes to reach the No. 14 spot in the polls these days?
If so, there are probably some MAC and Sun Belt teams that could find their way into the top tier of the FBS.
Maybe we should all take a lesson from the folks at Harris Interactive. Maybe we all need to reserve judgment until Week 6, and rank teams based on something other than speculation.
It doesn't take an illiterate second-string punter to realize that the SEC is pretty much guaranteed to continue their BCS streak this season.
With the dubious selection of Alabama to play in the BCS National Championship Game against a team that has already beaten Alabama (at Alabama no less), the world is denied the opportunity to see how a vaunted SEC defense would do against the onslaught of the Oklahoma State Cowboys or the prowess of some of the nation's top players not playing in the deep south.
This year's BCS National Championship Game will draw a huge television audience in SEC country, but the rest of the nation is a bit of a mystery.
At this point, the folks at ESPN and the BCS are probably hoping the morbid curiosity of rubber-necking at a mangled car wreck will draw in a national audience.
After all, suppose we're treated to another mind-numbing field-goal fest, and Alabama actually wins this time. Who would you vote No. 1 on your ballot?
At this point, the only way the SEC won't win this season's national title is if one or both teams goes the way of the 2004 USC Trojans who had their 2005 BCS title vacated for cheating.
But even if, God forbid, that does happen, it probably won't do a thing to dispel the now nearly proven notion that those looking for the best college football in the nation need look no further than the Southeastern Conference.