In Title Game, SEC Is Money
But maybe that's not you, maybe you're an investing genius. Maybe you poured money into technology stocks during the NASDAQ's rise and sold out at the perfect time, or maybe you were the only real estate guru out there who cashed out before the sub-prime implosion brought down the housing market.
But odds are, like us, you didn't. And right now, as the decade comes to a close, you're staring at your 401k or your kid's college fund or your depleted stash of beer money and thinking to yourself, "How could I have been so stupid?"
Don't worry, I've got the cure for what ails you. Or, more likely, something that will make you feel even sicker. You could have thrown away all the investment books, turned off CNBC, eschewed buying stocks on margin, never even walked into a bank to take out a mortgage loan, or set up a home equity line.
And you could have still returned 32 times your initial investment over the past 11 years.
Sound too good to be true, like I'm pitching you a pyramid scheme built on a mountain of air?
All you needed to do was bet on the SEC to win the five title games the league has been featured in during the BCS era.
Because there has been no surer bet in all of American society.
That's because the five SEC teams that have played for the BCS title have all won, a perfect 5-0 mark. As if that weren't enough, all five teams have won by at least a touchdown and all have covered the spread.
Think about that for a moment.
You wouldn't have even had to stress very much during these games.
Because the SEC teams have only ever trailed in these games twice: for less than four minutes when Ted Ginn took back the opening kick in the 2007 Florida-Ohio State game and in the first quarter of the 2008 LSU-Ohio State game.
Both teams went on to beat Ohio State easily. Hell, Florida, as the underdog, was even giving you a full touchdown leading into that game. So if you'd taken the Gators to win straight up you would have more than doubled your money.
In fact, here's a stat that is going to boggle your mind. There have been 300 total minutes in the five title games featuring SEC teams.
The SEC team has been trailing for -- wait for it -- 19 total minutes in those games.
Never in the second half.
Right now, you're probably sitting there shaking your head. Your mind is blown. You're a lot like my dad who had the first Shoney's open up next door to his work.
"No one," he famously told my mom, "will ever pay a $1 for a hamburger."
Shoney's would mint many millionaires in a public stock offering five years later.
Dad repeated his investing sagacity a few years later when he ate at the original Cracker Barrel for a decade. "I'm not sure Yankees would like this place," he said.
My family could have been multi-millionaires.
Just by buying stock where we ate.
And you could be rich too, just by betting on the teams that you already knew would win.
Former Fidelity Magellan mutual fund guru Peter Lynch talks about stalking ten-baggers, stocks that would return 10 times your initial investment, in his amazing book, One Up on Wall Street.
If you'd merely started with a thousand dollars and wagered it on the SEC team when they got to the first BCS title game in 1999, you'd have turned your $1,000 into $32,000 in a decade when the stock market has remained virtually even. Make five easy decisions and you'd have paid for four years of state school tuition for your son or daughter. To hell with 529s, the only three letters you need to be concerned with during the BCS era are S and E and C. (Not the Securities and Exchange Commission, they've been much worse at their job during the past decade or so).
Just to make you sick to your stomach, here's a 401k investing strategy that would have returned 32 times the investment when you've lost half of your money.
$2,000 --Tennessee over Florida State 23-16 (The Vols are two-point underdogs)
$4,000 -- LSU over Oklahoma 21-14 (LSU, the underdog by four points, wins by 7)
$8,000 -- Florida over Ohio State 41-14 (The Gators are touchdown underdogs and win 41-14)
$16,000 -- LSU over Ohio State 38-24 (LSU is favored by four and wins 38-24)
$32,000 -- Florida over Oklahoma 24-14 (The Gators are favored by five and win 24-14)
What makes the money that we all could have made even more impressive is considering the SEC's 5-0 mark in the context of the BCS title game. With five wins, the SEC is just one win behind every other conference in America, who have combined to win the other six title games.
And no other conference is remotely close to the SEC's overall mark. That's even though the Big 12 actually has more appearances than the SEC, six to the SEC's five. But the Big 12 has gone just 2-4 in the big game. The ACC, Big Ten and Big East (Miami counts for them) all have 1-2 records.
What's the second-best record among the Big Six conferences in the title game?
The Pac 10.
As if that weren't enough, come Jan. 7, Alabama will be the fourth different SEC team to play for the title. The Big Ten, Pac-10, and ACC have all had just one team represent their conference. All of this dominance is enough to make Auburn fans demand a retroactive share of the 2004 national title that they weren't given the chance to play for. Hell, maybe the other six BCS champs should get an asterisk in the record book: *No SEC team was featured in the championship game.
We can talk about the whys behind this dominance, personally I think it's because bowl games, with their one month preparation time, favor the more talented team, but right now you might be thinking to yourself: Whatever, historical lines mean nothing for upcoming games. This game stands alone.
But does it?
Because so far there has been no surer bet in American life than taking the SEC in the title game.
Alabama is currently just a four-point favorite over Texas. Can they make the SEC 6-0 against both the score and the spread come Jan. 7?
That's the 64,000-dollar question.
Clay Travis is the author of three books. His latest, "On Rocky Top: A Front Row Seat to The End of an Era" chronicles the 2008 Tennessee football season and is on sale now and makes a great stocking stuffer, assuming you like to stuff sockings year-round.