The rest of the SEC must deal with the new reality. It is a reality where Alabama and Florida stand above the rest of the conference with the remainder of the league in a sustained decline. At least according to one source—the Sporting News.
The Sporting News advances the theory that the Alabama-Florida game is the most important rivalry in college football today. There is little doubt that the winner of the Alabama-Florida game has determined champions since the expansion of the SEC. Most years, these teams are battling for the crown, but the most interesting part of the theory is that this game has risen as the rest of the conference has declined.
According to the story, “Alabama and Florida deserve some credit for the distance. Great coaching hires, national recruiting supremacy and a knack for pulling out close games has turned them into titans. But this scenario has as much to do with disappointment as it does dominance.
“Tennessee is 36-27 since 2005 and has had three different coaches in three seasons. LSU’s nine losses in the past two seasons have fans doubting Les Miles—the guy who led the Tigers to the 2007 national title. Georgia lost five times last season, including a home game to Kentucky and a 26-point pounding at struggling Tennessee. Perhaps even worse for coach Mark Richt, his Bulldogs dropped consecutive games to Florida by a combined score of 90-27.”
The Sporting News doesn’t mention it, but Auburn has declined too. It has gone from a championship coach in Tommy Tuberville to a buffoon. This experiment won’t end well for Auburn; the Tigers are on a path to irrelevance in the conference because the team lacks the leadership needed to win championships. (Think Mike Shula.)
With the rest of the conference in decline, it only makes Alabama and Florida shine brighter on the national stage. Be sure to thank your Auburn and other SEC friends for the incompetence of their respective athletic directors. Without the likes of Mike Hamilton or Jay Jacobs the league would be much more competitive.