Hobbs: SEC’s stay in purgatory only lasted but a week

By By Scooter Hobbs / American Press

BATON ROUGE — The uprights of the Oregon goal posts were still wobbling from a Duck doink when the fans surely detected the

faint murmur, seemingly coming from a long distance away.

s...e...c ... ... s...e...c ... ... s...e... ..

What’s that?

Don’t worry about it.

Probably nothing.

Gradually, it was coming in slightly

clearer — Stanford had completed the overtime upset of Oregon with a

made field goal

— wafting across the great plains of the Big 12, creeping across

the Continental Divide, through the gaps of the Rockies and

gently, slightly more audible, into Pac 12 country.

You could see the uneasy look come to their faces.

“s...e...c ... ... s...e...c ... ... s...e... ..”

It had been picking up steam ever since Baylor exposed No. 1 Kansas State 52-24 earlier in the night and now, with the Ducks

done for, it was the train whistle in the distance getting bolder with each retort.

“S...E...C ... S...E...C ... S...E...C.”

An anguished, somewhat puzzled look surely came across college football fans from states that never quite seceded from this

Union.

It got louder still as ESPN tried to sort out the night’s mayhem, until finally the train rounded the bend, and what was once

a murmur was engulfing the countryside from sea to shining sea ...

Oh no. It can’t be.

“S-E-CEEE!!! ... S-E-CEEE!!! ... SECEEE!!!”

Oh, yes, they’re back. And the rest of the country has a headache that won’t go away.

The pain, the suffering, the anguish on the face of the Big 10 that was already powerless to do anything about it and was

living vicariously through others.

The rest of the world was already,

celebrating the end of the Southeastern Conference’s six-year run of

national championships

— SEC! SEC! — when the little yellow “flag” rectangle appeared on

the screen. The revelry was coming back — they’d been flagged

for premature celebration.

The Southeastern Conference’s time in purgatory only lasted a week.

(The SEC had gone to great lengths, on this nuttiest of days, to briefly quit cannibalizing itself, mostly by feasting on

out-manned, lower-division appetizers).

The rest of the country had no one but itself to blame.

The BCS naysayers who always assume November will always go according to some neat plan — where all the favorites win — had

been duped again. Will they never learn? At long last, have they no sense of history?

“S-E-C!! S-E-C!! S-E-C!!”

Gosh, how they all hate that chant, especially at the end of the BCS national championship games.

By midnight, the strip just off the Alabama campus was already celebrating a second straight national championship, perhaps

prematurely, but it is Alabama.

But, suddenly, it was the SEC’s world again and they were all just living (and dying a slow death) in it.

They had devised a brilliant plan for stopping the SEC streak, full-proof in that it didn’t let the conference anywhere near

the BCS Championship game. It seemed the only way to keep them from inflicting their pain and suffering and — worst of all

— their S-E-C chanting again.

So it was a worst nightmare, the alien who strapped himself to the bottom of the ship and reappeared just when they started

to relax.

The dam broke and all of those SEC teams that were clogging up the BCS standings — but safely on the outside looking in —

stormed in with new life and vigor, and of course strutting worse than ever.

They’re taking most of the good seats now — No. 2 Alabama, No. 3 Georgia, No. 4 Florida.

The possibilities are suddenly endless.

At worst, the holy SEC championship game, presumed to be relegated to off-Broadway just last week, just became a de facto

semifinal game for the BCS national championship.

And the conference doesn’t even have to pull for Little Lord Lane Kiffin at Southern Cal anymore.

Georgia has just as much of a chance as Alabama to get to the title game, and don’t be surprised if the Bulldogs don’t take

advantage of it in the SEC championship game.

For that matter — and this would drive

the country crazy — it wasn’t long after Kansas State and Oregon both

inexplicably

lost that somebody with knowledge of the situation came up with a

scenario for another SEC vs. SEC game for all the crystal.

At worst, it should mean the opportunity to torture Notre Dame.

Some fool even came up with a scenario where LSU and Alabama reenact last year’s BCS title game. It’s way too far-fetched

for serious discussion, so pay it no mind.

But Saturday certainly opened up a world of possibilities.

And somewhere SEC Commissioner Mike Slive was smiling. Maybe cackling.

• • •

Scooter Hobbs covers LSU athletics. Email him at shobbs@americanpress.com