Walking the Walk
By BJ Bennett
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Another season is in the books with another SEC team having inked the final chapter.
Alabama's four-score romp of Notre Dame quieted the echoes and stirred up talk of another rare tradition: a college football dynasty. While the Crimson Tide, with three national championships in four years, have earned such a distinction, the overall sentiments are being shared league-wide. Another season is in the books with another SEC team having inked the final chapter.
With Alabama's lopsided victory, the SEC has now won an unfathomable record seven BCS National Championship games in a row. The conference is a remarkable 9-0 in championship games in the BCS era, dating back to Tennessee's 23-16 triumph over Florida State on January 4th, 1999. On college football's biggest stage, the SEC has consistently, and without misstep, performed flawlessly. Facing an ever-changing rotation of the best the FBS has to offer, the SEC offers a resume that is hard to believe.
SEC Teams in BCS Championship Games
2012: Alabama 42, Notre Dame 14
*2011: Alabama 21, LSU 0
2010: Auburn 22, Oregon 19
2009: Alabama 37, Texas 21
2008: Florida 24, Oklahoma 14
2007: LSU 38, Ohio State 24
2006: Florida 41, Ohio State 14
2003: LSU 21, Oklahoma 14
1998: Tennessee 23, Florida State 16
During the conference's run of seven consecutive titles, the 2011/2012 league rematch aside, the SEC has outscored its foes by a six-game tally of 204-106. The average final score has been an uneventful 34-18. Only Oregon has been able to play a league team within single digits throughout the SEC's recent stretch of staggering dominance. Only Ohio State, in the 2007 championship bout, has been able to score over 21 points.
This past Monday night saw Alabama outgain Notre Dame 529 total yards to 302, that with the Crimson Tide having the game on cruise control for much of the second half. A Fighting Irish defense that entered allowing just 92 yards per game rushing, surrendered 265 yards at six yards per carry against Eddie Lacy, T.J. Yeldon and company. Both Lacy and Yeldon topped the 100-yard mark. Quarterback A.J. McCarron completed 20-of-28 passes for 264 yards and four touchdowns. The showing stands alongside his torching of Tennessee as the best performance of his career.
Talk in the media and on the Twittersphere now centers around Alabama's dominance and the impact the victory has on the SEC's expanding legacy. League fans, coaches and players alike are ending posts with the sign-off #SEC7. Some are questioning what Notre Dame's record would have been had they spent the fall in the Deep South. Though results lack conclusive transitive properties, the Crimson Tide compiled more total yardage against the Fighting Irish's top ranked defense than they did against all but one of the teams on their 2012 schedule.
Critics grow weary of talk of SEC supremacy. But another challenger stepped into the ring, this one undefeated, and barely made it past the opening bell. As the aforementioned results indicate, this is nothing new for college football's top conference. Through nine title bouts in the BCS era, the SEC is undefeated. Most games in the league's recent seven game streak have struggled to be competitive. The SEC, again, has nine BCS championships; the next closest contender is the Big XII, with two.
Proponents of parity will spend the next eight months clashing with self-proclaimed SEC honks. At this point, the simple results speak louder than any argument they could make. Call fans in the south myopic, subjective and even downright obnoxious. But know they're calling it like we all see it, even if it's a run college football has never seen before.