FORT WORTH, Texas - Nothing serves as proof of the absurd level of popularity of football, of college football, of the Southeastern Conference, more than SEC Media Days. Or maybe it is just proof of a lack of a hobby on the behalf of thousands people that show up to this thing.
The 2015 SEC football media days has begun in the tourist trap that is Hoover, Alabama. This means the 2015 college football season is here; like you, I am a total junkie for this.
The last time the highest-ranked team from the SEC finished so low was 2005 when LSU was an unsightly fifth.
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Despite its reputation as the greatest conference ever assembled, no league took more of a PR hit in the bowl season than the SEC, and specifically the mighty SEC West.
The top five finishers in the SEC West - Alabama, Mississippi State, Ole Miss, Auburn, LSU - all finished the season with a loss. Auburn and Mississippi State both finished the season with consecutive defeats.
With Ohio State defeating Alabama in a playoff game, and then rolling in the title game over Oregon, the SEC actually faced doubts that maybe the rest of college football is not as far behind as hyped.
That the football played outside of the SEC West is of a similar caliber.
During the Davey O’Brien Award in Fort Worth earlier this year, I asked Mississippi State quarterback and Heisman Trophy candidate Dak Prescott if he felt the league took a hit.
The short answer is no. Here is the long answer:
“We played the hardest schedule and the biggest and the fastest teams week in and week out,” Prescott said. “You got into a bowl game and I guess some teams are a little beat up from playing each other all season long. I guess the other teams got the best of us. I think the SEC West is the strongest division and in the strongest conference in football second only to the NFL. I just think it’s the people that play in the league and whatever you want to add into the equation - the players, the size and the speed - are the difference.”
Translation - The SEC is still the king. Unless 2015 is a repeat of 2014, the SEC is the best, and the finale to last season was as a result of too many teams deliberately mailing it in at bowl season.
If there is a similar finish to 2014, the the rest of football can say its caught up. Until then, there is no debate.
Mac Engel, 817-390-7760