Folks Need to Sack SEC in Football, but They Won't
It's the Southeastern Conference.
In other words, the SEC is too powerful for college football, and there isn't a thing that righteous-thinking folks can do about it.
This week was more of the same -- bad. Not only did Auburn become the fifth consecutive team from the conference to win a national championship, but Les Miles did a telling thing in regard to SEC football when compared to its counterparts who rank a distant second, third or in the category of Don't Even Think That You Can Beat One Of These SEC Guys Within This Century In A Big Game.
That telling thing? Well, Miles announced he will remain at LSU, where he is as popular as spoiled gumbo.
This obviously gifted coach is so smitten by the SEC that he is willing to stay where he isn't wanted, and it gets worse: He could have returned to his Big Ten roots, but he turned down the Michigan coaching job for a second time in four seasons.
To be fair, the decision makers in Ann Arbor say they never offered Miles the job. But unless you believe Michigan Stadium is smaller than an ant hill, you know the Wolverines didn't exactly whack Rich Rodriguez to clear the way for San Diego State's Brady Hoke.
If Miles says yes, he's at Michigan.
It's his alma mater.
He played, coached and prospered under Bo Schembechler, the Wolverines' icon for the ages.
Instead, Miles declined to become one of those "conquering heroes" they mention in the Michigan fight song by signing a new seven-year deal with LSU to the chagrin of many in the Tiger Nation.
They say Miles won it all in 2007 because he inherited Nick Saban's players. They say he is the luckiest coach ever. They say his magic eventually will vanish. They say they're tired of his Mad Hatter act courtesy of his baseball caps, high-risk playcalling and blunt tongue.
To which Miles shrugs.
After six seasons at LSU, he has won 62 games, five bowl games and that national championship. He also has a university, a fan base (although a sneering one) and a conference that is obsessed with winning by using whatever it takes.
I mean, WHATEVER it takes.
Here's a snapshot of an SEC that never has met a scandal it didn't like: One moment, Florida and Georgia are continuing to have more players taking more mug shots than publicity shots. The next, Mississippi State folks (and likely others in the SEC) are snitching to the NCAA on how they say the father of stud quarterback Cam Newton helped his son go from Florida to a junior college and then to Auburn.
But SEC teams not named Vanderbilt win like crazy, and that's why SEC players often make NFL rosters.
That's why television networks write all of those mighty checks to show SEC games. That's why the scandals keep coming. That's why those scandals get shoved into the background by the media after a while. That's why SEC teams have no incentive not to do whatever it takes to win. That's why some SEC teams pay their assistant coaches more than the head coaches of other conferences.
That's why Miles wants to stay.
Actually, that's why they all want to stay or come back -- like Saban, for instance, going from LSU to the Miami Dolphins before switching to a more pro-like program than the Dolphins at Alabama.
How potent is the SEC? Alabama spent last season grabbing the national championship over Texas, which has resources that resemble most SEC schools, which is to say Texas of the Big 12 spends money on football that rivals the federal budget. And, similar to Alabama, Texas is part of a state that sits among the elite in producing talent. And similar to Alabama, Texas is efficient at acquiring that in-state talent.
Alabama hammered Texas anyway.
Then there is Ohio State, an unofficial SEC school that happens to play in the Big Ten. In addition to the huge bucks associated with its football program -- you know, like an SEC school -- Ohio State has a following that is as loud, large and loony as any of those stretching from Tuscaloosa, Ala., to Athens, Ga., to Gainesville, Fla.
That isn't necessarily a compliment, by the way. Similar to SEC schools, Ohio State has watched more than a few of its players have issues with the NCAA cops as well as the real ones.
Mostly, similar to SEC schools, Ohio State dominates on the field, and the Buckeyes have shown as much by reaching the BCS championship game twice during the past five years.
They've also lost twice -- to SEC teams.
In the 2007 title game, they were clobbered by Florida, and the following year, LSU dropped them by two touchdowns.
The other victims in the SEC's five-season streak to a national championship were Oklahoma and Oregon. While Oklahoma is a Big 12 power that nevertheless was no match for Florida heading toward its second title in three seasons in 2009, Oregon is a Pac-10 team that was supposedly the owner of enough speed, quickness and a No. 1 rating to counter whatever Auburn had to offer.
Oregon didn't win.
Society didn't win, either, because the message the SEC is sending to the rest of the world is clear: Survival of the fittest, baby, and by any means necessary.