Alabama’s loss to "Johnny Football" and his Texas A&M Aggies leaves the SEC with no undefeated teams and, according to the national experts, the SEC’s streak of consecutive national titles will end at six.
The crystal ball trophy will flee its Southern roots and take up residence in Kansas, Oregon, or Indiana, home to college football’s remaining undefeated teams and the top-ranked programs in the latest BCS standings.
SEC outsiders have collectively rejoiced and proclaimed the time has come for a new, non-SEC national champion.
But this is the BCS where anything can happen, and usually does. And this is the SEC, a conference with a stubborn habit of barging into the national championship, welcome or not.
Sure, the SEC needs help to extend its title streak. Of the three remaining unbeaten teams — Kansas State, Oregon, and Notre Dame — two must lose to pave the way for an SEC representative in the championship game. In other words, no SEC team controls its own destiny.
I’ve never understood that expression. Destiny is destiny; you can’t control it. According to SEC Banter’s dictionary, destiny is a predetermined course of events or an irresistible power or outcome. In other words, destiny is totally out of your control.
If the SEC is to have a shot at a seventh straight national championship, it’s predetermined. Fate, if you will. The anti-SEC crowd tempting fate for the first BCS title game without an SEC team since 2005 would be wise to consult the destinies of SEC teams past.
The conference’s streak of six consecutive national titles began in 2006 when Florida, ranked No. 4 heading into the last week of the season, improbably chomped its way into the title game after undefeated Southern Cal lost to UCLA. In 2007, LSU clawed its way from No. 7 to No. 2 in the BCS standings in the final week of the season after a series of bizarre upsets. And don’t forget the Alabama team last year that rolled into the championship game after undefeated Oklahoma State lost a stunner to Iowa State late in the year. SEC teams were destined to play for — and, as it turned out, to win — national titles those years.
The next few weeks will reveal whether destiny has turned its back on the Southeastern Conference in favor of a new champion.
I’ll admit that Kansas State is a sweet story. Class act head coach in Bill Snyder, scrappy bunch from the heartland, a good mom-and-apple-pie story. But they’re from the Big 12, play next to no one of any relevance, and SEC Banter says the Wildcats would be a middle of the road team in the nation’s finest football conference.
Oregon, with its high-octane offense, speedy athletes and fancy Nike threads, may well represent the future of college football. But recent history suggests the Ducks aren’t all they’re quacked up to be (sorry, couldn’t resist) against SEC competition. Auburn dropped Oregon in the BCS title game two years ago and LSU dominated Oregon in the opening game of 2011.
Then there’s Notre Dame. I once heard it’s heresy for SEC fans to acknowledge the Irish as among college football’s elite, so I’ll stick with that conference tradition and simply write off Notre Dame as vastly overrated.
None of this, of course, means two of these teams will lose and allow Georgia or Alabama to reach the title game. The point is that anything’s still possible and, at the risk of sounding like Karl Rove on election night, it’s way too early to say the SEC’s unprecedented title streak is destined to end.
Best of luck to your SEC team this weekend. Here’s hoping our destinies involve a beautiful fall Saturday surrounded by friends and family with easy access to good food and drink, all centered around SEC football. A predetermined outcome I’ll take anytime.