Before getting started, I have to give big props to Fite for stepping up and giving us the amazing links below. I don’t know how he does it, but nobody can find more disturbing internet links than Fite. He has a gift, and we should celebrate it.
So, I just had dinner with some buddies at this place called “Six Feet Under” here in the A. Dinner was good, but the conversation was better. One of my buddies and I engaged in a heated discussion over my growing frustration at what I consider to be over the top praise for the SEC among the local fans (notice I intentionally do not use the word “alumni”) and the local media. First of all, I have always been up front about the fact that I think the SEC is the best conference in America. I don’t think that is debatable right now. From top to bottom, the SEC has more competitive teams than any other conference, no question. So, praise of the SEC does not bother me. What does bother me, however, is the arrogant attitude that is permeating not just from the typically over zealous and rabid SEC fans, but also from the local Atlanta media. You simply cannot turn on local radio in Atlanta and not hear somebody not only lavishing praise on the SEC, but also dismissing and ridiculing the nation’s other conferences. I even heard this same theme, in all places, on Dennis Scott’s show this evening on 790 The Zone. And yes, the fact that Dennis Scott has his own show and I don’t keeps me up at night.
A perfect example of what I am talking about is a day late last week when a local radio team was going on about how none of the elite teams in any other conference could even compete in the SEC. As happens from time to time, I felt compelled to call in and ask, “do you really think Oklahoma, Texas, Missouri, USC, Oregon, or any of the “elite” teams from the other conferences couldn’t COMPETE in the SEC?” Well, I was cut off before I could offer too much support for my argument, but ultimately, at least two of the three man team, said the didn’t think any of these teams could even compete in the SEC.
Needless to say, I respectfully disagree with these gentleman. It is one thing to exalt the SEC, but it is a completely different thing to ridicule and diminish the quality of the other conferences by dismissing their elite teams out of hand. I will tell you that the teams I listed above, and any number of other teams from the other BCS conferences could compete for an SEC title. The SEC is the best conference in the country, but it does not hold a monopoly on great football teams. And frankly, the attitude of the SEC fans and the SEC media isn’t doing their teams any favors. Having lived outside the southeast for three years, I can tell you that the attitude of the SEC fans and media creates a great deal of resentment around the country. Coaches and media around the country can only hear so many negative things about their teams and conferences from the SEC fans and media before they decide to take it out on the SEC teams. They can only hear their fans mocked because they aren’t loud enough or enough them so many times. They can only hear their teams mocked as not being fast enough so many times. Now, after the recent success of Florida and LSU, they are hearing these things way too much.
Believe it or not, teams outside of the SEC play some pretty decent football and their coaches and beat writers are pretty proud of it. If you don’t believe the opinions of these coaches and beat writers are important, just call Tommy Tuberville. And, when you are done there, give Peyton Manning a call and ask him how much it meant to win the Heisman. Oh, that’s right, given any other viable option, the national media chose to given Peyton’s Heisman to the best of the Big Ten. At the end of the day, the best thing the SEC fans and media can do is cut down the chest thumping and let the teams do their talking the field on Saturdays. If you are as good as you think you are, and I believe you are, there is no need to constantly try to ram it down the rest of the country’s throat. It can only have a negative impact.
Finally, on a related note, if I haven’t pissed you off enough, you should give this a read: http://www.nytimes.com/2008/09/12/opinion/12bissinger.html?_r=4&ei=5070&oref=slogin&emc=eta1&pagewanted=print&oref=slogin&oref=slogin&oref=slogin
I’m not always the biggest fan of Buzz’s methods, but he is an extraordinary writer, and he does provide an interesting and important perspective.