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.