If there’s one thing that is clear over the last decade or so of college football it’s that the SEC has won National Titles. Seven in a row, as is reiterated seemingly daily by ESECPN, to be exact. Along with this recent success has come the largest coat-tailing coalition in the history of college sports. Maybe it’s because of social media or maybe it’s because of an unprecedented bias by the “world wide leader.” Another thought that I’ve realized lately is it may be because when you’re getting the hell kicked out of you year after year, you may succumb, not unlike a Stockholm Syndrome victim, to cheering for those who you have accepted you simply can not beat. These are the fans of the SE3.
As of late there has been so much success at the top of the SEC that they are being branded as some sort of God amongst men in college football. Well with the most teams in your conference, and the most players signed to those teams due to oversigning, I would surely hope you would have the most success. That being said the level of competition between Alabama, Florida and LSU is surely fun to watch. There are great football players on all those teams, with some pretty great (sometimes insane, see Les Miles) coaching to boot. You have one of the best coaches in the entire country, (nicest as well….o_O) in Nick Saban, and now largest TV contract due to ESPN setting up a private recruiting fund for them. But really that’s it, it’s three teams (sit down Auburn fans). The only team out of those three with any success other than recent is Alabama, who is notably more successful than any other team in the SEC. With 15 National Titles Alabama dwarfs any other team in that conference including LSU (3 titles) and Florida (3 as well).
But they’ve always had talent, right? Nope. LSU and Florida combined have fewer All-Americans (58) than Ohio State and Michigan by themselves. Twenty fewer (78 each). Don’t even get me started on Heisman winners.
But that’s neither here nor there. Since 2006 the SE3 has been on a tear, and I can’t deny those wins. What I can deny is the absurd coat-tailing that has been going on since then, particularly by the teams who haven’t done a thing in the conference the last decade plus.
I would have to say the biggest offenders of this are Tennessee Volunteer fans. Tennessee fans have won some games (799 at .684) and claim six National Titles (but the NCAA actually says it’s only 2). Hell they even have arguably the best quarterback to ever play the game, Peyton Manning, as an alumnus. What they don’t have, are recent SEC championships. They haven’t won the SEC since 1998. In fact, since ’98 they have a stellar .558 winning percentage in the SEC. Congratulations on being the hipsters of the SEC. Yah they were good, but they aren’t now, especially in the conference. Yet their fans praise the SE3. They love the SE3. They have more SE3 pride than Alabama, LSU and Florida combined. Why you ask? Because “if you can’t beat ’em, join ’em” seems to be the motto of the Tennessee Volunteers. They are perfectly fine with going 1-7 in their conference, as long as they get to stay in the conference. It’s like when you’re little, and you’re the kid on the team that gets a trophy for riding the pine while the other kids just beat up on you in practice. Sure you have a role on that team, practice dummy, but were you really part of the team?
The worst part of that analogy is that you’re not on the same team SE3 fans. You don’t get a trophy, you don’t even get a ribbon. You get stepped on. Do you think Alabama, Florida, or LSU fans really cheer for each other to win National Titles? Do you think they’re happy when someone else besides their team wins it? The answer to both these questions is undeniably “NO.” Those teams want to win it every year, not for their conference, for their team.
I know in the south there’s this ridiculous feeling of family dependency. Uncle Bob down the street got your brother Jimmy a job who married Sue down the road whose Dad works with Uncle Bob and you’re just swell. And hey if things don’t work out between you and your current girlfriend Uncle Bob can set you up with cousin Debbie because that’s how y’all handle things down there. We get it.
What you don’t get is that every conference has a team that goes on a run at some point in college football history. Nebraska went on one, and I’d be pretty confident in saying neither Texas nor Oklahoma were cheering for them. We went on one in the 50s and 60s, and I damn well know Michigan wasn’t cheering for us. Michigan went on one when Yale was still good, but that’s a different article.
The point is, SE3 fans who aren’t actually fans of those three teams, you look pathetic. You’re riding the success of teams you should be trying to beat. Instead, you’re praising them and yourselves, for accomplishments you yourself can not obtain. But hey, congrats on getting your asses handed to you by the very teams you talk trash on behalf of, because that makes sense.