Blog Entry

Shared Excellence Conference?

Posted on: October 29, 2009 2:42 pm

It’s hard not to notice the seemingly endless SEC – Big Ten debate that rages on Sportsline. I’m not sure when this rivalry of sorts began (immediately prior to the OSU-Florida 2006 NCG?) but it is a worthless debate that shouldn’t be spared much thought.

SEC fans are very proud of their conference and rightfully so. They are perhaps the best football conference in America with teams like Florida, Alabama and LSU just to name a few. However, I get the feeling that sometimes these fans forget that their foremost loyalty should not be to their conference but to their team. Perhaps my perception is mistaken but that is what I see.

Recently, SEC fans have had much to cheer about with Florida and LSU winning the past 3 national titles. Unless you are a Florida or LSU fan, however, there should be little cause for celebration. Did your team win the national title? Was it your team that passed through the gauntlet of a rigorous season to raise the silver football after a championship game triumph? If that is the case, congratulations to your team on a great season. If that is not the case, why pop the champagne? Because Florida won for the SEC? Puh-leeze . . .

The only people that Florida won for were themselves and their university. Their triumph over the Oklahoma Sooners belongs to nobody else. As much as SEC fans want to portray recent NCG triumphs as proof positive of SEC superiority, the victories are not credited to the conference but to the teams that earned them; Florida and LSU.

I haven’t seen the relationship between team and conference so blurred as is the case with SEC fans, a characteristic not prominent for fans of other conferences. For example, did ACC enthusiasts claim North Carolina’s victory over Michigan State in the most recent basketball national title game as a triumph for the conference? I doubt it. I can’t see Duke being too pleased at the thought of Tyler Hansbrough winning a national championship. Did the Pittsburgh Steelers win one for the American Football Conference in their victory over the Arizona Cardinals in the Super Bowl? Hell no! As a Colts fan, I certainly wasn’t happy with a Steeler victory.

Why SEC fans have made such a big deal about their supposed conference superiority, I honestly have no clue. They really don’t need to make it an issue because they are the best conference top to bottom in college football this year. That being said, SEC fans need to understand that they are the Southeastern Conference and not the Shared Excellence Conference. If you’re not a Florida fan, a Florida victory is not a win for you. College football should not be about conferences but about teams. I’m afraid that this important distinction may have been lost on some SEC faithful.


Since: Sep 3, 2007
Posted on: November 6, 2009 9:26 am

Shared Excellence Conference?

I absolutely agree that we (as I'm an Auburn fan) SEC maniacs tend to lend our support to the conference and not to the team we love.  Now that doesn't mean we don't cheer for our own team, but just for some reason SEC fans have found some fanaticism for their league.  Is it wrong?  No.  It's just awkward to say the least.  More gravitation is needed, however, back to team loyalty.  I think personally all the talk about, "homers" and, "haters" living in certain parts of the country has really increased this conference isolation where fans feel they need to lash out at other parts of the world.  That means it's not just the SEC though.  We just have the most of it.  Nevertheless, I digress.  You're right.  SEC fans need to focus more on their own teams and less on stereotypical conference wars.

Since: Mar 29, 2008
Posted on: October 30, 2009 11:08 pm

Shared Excellence Conference?

Thanks for taking the time to read and comment on my blog. I appreciate it.

It looks like we are of the same mind on the whole conference debate. I think you are absolutely correct in saying that the recent Ohio State debacles in big games have served as the powder keg for Big Ten critics. Their poor performance in the NCG games does to an extent reflect on the conference but not as much as some people like to believe. Those matchups are first and foremost between teams and not conferences. For example, the whippings that the Bucks took at the hands of Florida and LSU do not imply that they would be an average team in the SEC. After all, it's not like other SEC teams could beat Florida and LSU during those years because they wouldn't have gone to the NCG if that was the case. For all we know, Ohio State could have beaten every other SEC team in 2006 & 2007 except the one they ultimately faced and that's what truly makes the conference debate worthless. The only thing proven was that the best SEC team was better than the best Big Ten team. That does not definitively prove that the SEC > Big Ten or else we'd be hearing a lot more about how great of a conference the Pac 10 is with USC as their representative.

Since: Oct 5, 2006
Posted on: October 30, 2009 2:10 am

Shared Excellence Conference?


Interesting article.  Thanks for taking the time to write it up.  I think the argument for the SEC conference may, perhaps, have started back when Auburn was left out of the NC game in 2004?  I don't know, but I do know that SEC fans love to make the "conference foes beating up on each other excuse,"  when they don't go undefeated which of course led to the inevitable need to prove their superiority as a conference to back this claim.

A win is a win and a loss is a loss no matter what the circumstances.  They still have the bottom feeder teams of Vandy, Mississippi St, and Kentucky like anyone else and depending on the year another one or two gross underachievers.  So I don't give much validity to that argument because I do not feel that it is vastly different than the situation in other BCS conferences (BigE excluded).  You have the 3 or 4 dominant teams followed up by 3 to 4 mediocre/underachieving teams, with the 3-4 usual cupcakes.  I do feel the SEC is a stronger conference than the Big Ten, Big 12, PAC-10 and you could support that statement with recent NC games, but I don't think that the gap is as wide as SEC fans would like to lead people to believe.  They are marginally better (but still better) as a whole IMHO than the next best conference whichever that may be from year to year over the past 5 or 6 years. 

With that said.  I also (like you) fail to see why it matters to the likes of Alabama or Georgia in the grand scheme of things whether the SEC represents the National Champion or not.  I live in Florida and I was getting ready for the big game against Iowa last week walking out of a convenience store on Saturday afternoon wearing my Spartan garb while carrying two fresh pizzas.  A guy walking into the store wearing an Ohio State T-shirt raised a fist and proudly proclaimed "GO BIG TEN!"  It didn't exactly inspire me for some reason and I wasn't quite sure what to say but I managed a spirited "oh yeah" in an attempt not to be rude.  Then again I am not the kind to routinely pull for fellow Big Ten rival teams that I despise.

I didn't miss your point and I know that my response got somewhat off-topic, but it is late and I needed something to do :P

On another note (and OSU fans are going to flame me for saying this).  The recent and fading weakness of the Big Ten conference played a big part in what happened to Ohio State in those National Championship games.  Florida especially, was just on another level and better tested.  Even though I suppose there is always that whole timing issue for the Big Ten with the closing date of their season and the National Championship game being farther apart without a conference championship game.  SEC proponents made/make the false assertion (assumption) that because the title game pitted their conference winner against the Big Ten Conference winner that these conferences were 1 and 2.  Such an incorrect observation would skew the argument in their favor.  My opinion of course.  Take it or leave it.

I can't figure out why the text format has gone all haywire on me here so I apologize for the entire body being BOLD and irregular.  I have tried several different times to fix it and can't figure it out...


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