Somewhere deep in the cavernous reaches of SEC World Headquarters, Paul Finebaum sits comfortably ensconced in a throne of defaced and melted B1G and PAC-12 helmets laughing maniacally. He gleefully scrolls through angry tweets as Danny Kanell refreshes his snifter of diet caffeine-free cola and Greg McElroy hovers in the shadows, eagerly awaiting his next directive and Larry Culpepper gives him a hot stone pedicure. It’s all happening somewhere, even if only in the collective consciousness of college football fans, because it only took four years of the College Football Playoffs to arrive at an all-SEC national championship game.
You have free will and a calculated choice, so please don’t squander it by rooting for Alabama.
There is nothing wrong with Alabama. Alabama is fine, as far as lumbering granite-faced dynasties grinding their respective sport into a fine bone meal go. We know many fine Alabama fans and they love Alabama football dearly and Alabama is very good at football. Again, this is all fine if you are Bama.
But it’s just not any fun anymore. If you are not Bama, things are the opposite of fine. It’s a schoolyard bully nonchalantly beating a weakling with one arm while he eats a popsicle. It’s a Roomba programmed in a precise pattern designated to never miss a square inch of floorspace or hilariously bump into things like Roombas were made to do. Last year at least featured a flurry of non-offensive scoring and the vague hint of vulnerability that comes with a freshman QB. This year’s overcorrection has as many frills as a freshly-starched shirt worn by Kirk Herbstreit. Football is meant to be fun, and watching Alabama is about as fun as watching a neurosurgeon make clinical diagnoses of brain scans: you know it’s valuable, full of elite skillsets, and technically superb, but wouldn’t it be kind of neat to see the alternate reality TV version where the neurosurgeon tries to fix an outboard motor on a giant foam pendulum while muscular people shoot at him with tennis ball cannons?
“Conference pride” is a hollow rallying cry for the unimaginative and mediocre. For a fanbase that gleefully spurned the Big 12 and its perceived Longhornocracy, many of the same folks sure are eager to be another remora on the gills of the Saban death shark. Here’s a little secret, folks: Bama being the soul-crushing behemoth that it is does NOT “benefit” (to use a word you probably love) Texas A&M in any way. Quite the opposite. We are just another punching bag for them. There is no affinity. There is no vaguely-quantifiable trickle-down effect. Alabama’s dominance is great for Alabama, and that’s it. Auburn might do well out of it from time to time, but they also manage to beat Alabama more than anyone else too. Anyone who chants “S-E-C, S-E-C” at an all-SEC national title game should be rounded up and sent to work in the Finebaum phonecall mines.
Conference pride is a moot point this year anyway. The SEC is going to win a national title. Why not throw a wrench in the works and create a new superpower in the East? Besides, Georgia hasn’t won a natty since before this planet started making millennials. This will be yet one more victory for that struggling generation. Here are some teams that have won a title since Georgia last did: BYU, Washington, Colorado, Georgia Tech, and Tennessee. Do we want to live in a world where Tennessee has NC scoreboard over Georgia if we can help it? The State of Georgia desperately needs a crop of mop-haired babies named “Kirby” entering the population next September.
We’re supposed to be elite. Hey, remember a month ago when Texas A&M dropped seventy-five mill to snag a coach who’s won a title? Not sure how anyone could forget; it’s been trumpeted all over Aggie Internet nonstop as though the 2018 season was already a resounding success. That’s not the mentality of a coattail-riding school. Enough of the aw-shucks-just-happy-to-be-here SEC newcomer act. We had a decent coach who had moderate success and could’ve built a program capable of taking the next step when Saban eventually retires, but we canned his ass to go out and get someone with a better and more proven track record. Can’t have it both ways. Being serious about competing for a national title with a team like Bama in your division means wanting them to lose every single game they play.
This is a new year, and for all but two teams this is the first game of the 2018 season. Root for the underdogs. Losing this game won’t hurt Saban’s program too much in the immediate scheme of things, but it will piss him off, and he’s at his best when he’s angry. We want him at his best when we try to knock him off with our shiny new coach and attitude next year.