I’m not here to dispute if the SEC is the best conference in the country. It is. That’s not the point of this post. The point of this post is to let the world know that the days of conference affiliation mattering when judging a team are over. For years and years teams from the SEC could hark on the success of their conference and claim that they were better than teams with similar records “Because they play in the best conference”.
ala Notre Dame gets shellacked by Clemson
“They didn’t play anybody! They don’t deserve to be there”
“Georgia should have been in there because they play in the SEC and almost beat Alabama!”
Imagine talking all this shit, solely because of what conference you play in, and then letting a “Soft” Big-12 team dominate you like that. Sure the score looks close, but if you watched any of that game you would assume that UT played in the conference known for “Big-Boy Football”.
Even when teams from the SEC lost in title games, it was last second losses like the Hunter Renfrow and Kelvin Benjamin catches. Losing like that, the conference kept its aura because close games don’t matter. They were coin flips. Could have gone either way.
I wrote after the game about the extent of what Clemson just did, and I think it has the power to alter the landscape of College Football. But not because of anything the future has in store.
People writing off Alabama going forward are bat shit stupid. I can almost guarantee they’ll be back in the playoff next year. No, this game isn’t indicative of Alabama in the slightest. I still think Alabama was the second best team in the country this year.
But what is lost here is the ability for the SEC to blindly assume their teams are better solely because of their conference affiliation, because it turns out you can in fact have a good team outside of that conference. For the past decade Alabama has been the gold standard to try to mimic while building a football program. Up ’til now, no one had done it. Sure Clemson beat them, but it was close. And with a transcendent Deshaun Watson at Quarterback…No chance it could sustain that. Then Alabama got their revenge last year and all order was restored.
It didn’t matter that if you look at the SEC as a whole that Alabama was responsible for 80% of their success on the field. It was the conference. Not the NFL factory in Tuscaloosa. Nope, because they played in the SEC, the CONFERENCE was responsible. Not Nick Saban.
The media fed and fed everyone the fact that the SEC and Alabama were infallible. How could Alabama lose when they play the best teams in the country each week?
Until last night.
And it took the Golden Child getting just absolutely destroyed to change a nations narrative.
What Clemson did last night was bigger than just beating Alabama. No longer can the media and the collective 14 team fanbase of the SEC clamor for higher rankings and playoff births because of the SEC.
Looking back…Georgia LOST to that Alabama team when they were led by a one-legged Tua and then later the guy Tua replaced. They played a tough schedule they said, and almost beat Alabama. “The eye test says Georgia should be in! They’re one of the four best teams in the country!” cried pundits like Kirk Herbstreit. No, Kirk they don’t. They play in a very insular conference that’s overhyped. Which got shown on a national scale last night. Hell, even the ready made excuse for that conference of “They didn’t want to be there” if God forbid they lose a bowl that’s not the National Championship. Maybe..just maybe..the Southeastern Conference isn’t the end all be all of college football.
The media and fans needs to recognize to look at a team, instead of their schedules. The big knock on Oklahoma the past 5 years during their run of success is that they haven’t won a title because when they run up against a big-boy team they can’t compete because they play in soft conference. It doesn’t occur to anyone that maybe they just weren’t as good of a team as their opponent. And I’m thankful Clemson shattered that narrative, because their schedule was soft as baby shit. They came from the worst P-5 conference and despite that proved to America there’s new rooster in the hen-house.
And that was never supposed to happen.
Is the SEC the best conference in the country? Yes, yes they are.
But is it good enough to use as a crutch in an argument and to hold above other teams heads? Trevor Lawrence and co. showed that couldn’t be more false.
Nothing has been worse in college football than the turn seemingly in the past decade to cheer for a conference rather than a team.
And thank God that’s over.
P.S-I apologize Texas A&M fans for taking this from you. It’s the last thing you could hold on to, and I really do hate to see that taken away. My sincerest condolences.