SEC's The Place to Be


Since the BCS inception in 1998, there have been 13 BCS Championship games with the SEC winning seven of those contests. In total, there have been five different SEC schools play for the crown with a single defeat. In the big picture of college football 13 years is a blip on the radar, but to see five of 12 teams in once conference finish #1 shows the benefit of playing in a highly competitive conference clearly outweigh the negatives.

Aside from winning championships, countless players across the nation wanting to play at the highest level and currently it doesn’t get any higher in the NCAA than in the SEC. UK has received the benefit of recruits coming to Lexington because of the desire to play against the likes of Florida, Alabama, and Tennessee. They have also taken advantage of getting players that were spurned by their home state schools. Trevard Lindley wasn’t offered by Georgia, Danny Trevathan heard next to nothing from Florida, and Randall Cobb didn’t get an offer from Tennessee until nearly signing day. These three are just a small sampling but also represent three of the better players to come through Commonwealth Stadium. For some players, if they can’t go to their dream school, then getting to go to a division rival and make the other school regret it is the next best thing.

There may be a share of the fan base that is content with playing in a bowl game and beating just enough teams to get by. With the history of the program its understood if people don’t want to get their hopes up just to be squashed. But there is a major discrepancy between the football and men’s basketball expectations among the fans. Bowl eligibility for football is the equivalent of making the NCAA tournament. How many fans would be satisfied with the men’s basketball team making the occasional tournament appearance? Why should the football team have to lower their standards? UK football’s longterm goals should include winning National Championships.

During UK’s preseason luncheon Coach Joker Phillips told fans “don’t laugh” when it comes to championship aspirations, and they shouldn’t. Some want to believe the pinnacle is unreachable for this program. But with the recent improvement in recruiting and the improvement in player physique, thanks in part to strength coach Coach Rock Oliver, the program is on an upswing. It maybe hard to see with the recent improvements for other teams in the conference, but the athleticism and caliber of players on this years squad are far better than practically any squad prior to 2007.

It could be argued that if you were to take away Cam Newton from last year’s Auburn team, they’re potentially a .500 team. If it weren’t for a last second field goal UK could’ve had two wins in two years against the War Eagles. Sometimes the separation between ordinary and extraordinary is one player.

Going back to the incredible BCS numbers for the SEC, in the six years that the SEC wasn’t represented in the Championship game only two teams had less than two losses in any of those years. Georgia had one loss in 2002 and Auburn had and undefeated season in 2004. Both years there were two other undefeated teams from BCS conferences. In the modern game where teams are scheduling tougher out of conference games, it will be hard to see another season of three undefeated BCS conference schools. It also would be hard to believe that in the current state of the SEC that they would be held out of the Championship game if an undefeated or one loss team were to still be standing prior to the start of bowl season.

Is it tough to win in the SEC? Of course it is, but if you do then the greatness of the top SEC team is undeniable. There are several legendary programs in this conference but it isn’t impossible to create a new force in a power conference. Staying in the SEC will prove to be the right choice and like it’s always said, the right thing to do is never the easy thing to do.

‘Til the battle is won!

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