I have heard it all before. So many times, over so many years, describing so many seasons. Pundits claim that "The SEC is down this year." These words sting me like few others can.
Those words, at season's close, ring hollow and rather shallow.
I hear them during football season. I hear them during basketball season. I hear them during baseball season.
The same words, repeated in hope, year after year.
And always, the SEC rises above the desire of the many coaches, sportswriters, and pollsters who wish to see a champion crowned from another geographic region.
2003's SEC baseball season is, on no way, different than any other sport season in the SEC.
The SEC plays tough out of conference games, throw their #4 or #5 starter, and are beat by the University of Luxemburg at Lafayette. "The SEC is down", they exclaim, hoping with every fiber of their being that they are right.
SEC member schools beat up on each other throughout the season. The won-loss records are not as good as Miami of the ever tough Big East. Nor are they as good as Florida State of the super tough ACC. They are not even as good as the always supreme Big 12.
But, as CWS week rolls around, let us examine the facts:
The SEC West put all 6 of their teams in regionals.
The SEC placed 8 teams in regionals.
Ole Miss won a regional game.
Arkansas won a regional game.
Mississippi State played for a regional champioship.
Auburn played for a regional championship.
Florida played for a regional championship.
Only Alabama went 2 and out.
LSU (look-out America, they're back) and South Carolina (yes, again) will represent the SEC in Omaha. The SEC is the only conference to be represented with 2 teams in the CWS.
The highly regarded ACC is done.
The Big 12 would be done, but Texass crept in.
You will, perhaps, never again see an all-SEC matchup in the CWS. That had been too commonplace. The NCAA makes sure that will never happen when teams are seeded. That is why LSU and South Carolina were put on the same side of the bracket.
No, guys and gals, the SEC is the conference of champions. The SEC is the best conference in America. The SEC members play in the toughest conference in America.
That is what seperates the SEC from all of the other conferences.
No, Virginia, the SEC is not down. It was not overrated. It is simply that good! In all sports.
I suppose, as Miami is beating the Temple's and Rutgers' of the football world, someone will want to claim them champs. I suppose that I will hear that the SEC is down this year in football. It is OK, because I know better.
Those who proclaim the SEC as down, know better also.