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SEC Dominance May Be Over; Good News for the Irish

The SEC has been dominating college football like no other conference ever has. The conference has won six consecutive national championships and on Monday, the Alabama Crimson Tide will have a shot at making it seven. This season, the Heisman Trophy went to the SEC and six of their 14 teams were ranked in the top 12 of the BCS standings going into the bowl season. Based on this, the Tide has been installed a 10-point favorite over the unbeaten Notre Dame Fighting Irish in the BCS National Championship Game on Monday. However, let’s take a look at what we’ve seen in the bowls so far.

One of the six top 12 teams teams from the SEC, the LSU Tigers, were beaten in the Chick-Fil-A Bowl by the Clemson Tigers 25-24. Most assumed that LSU would win this game and that it would not be that difficult. But Clemson did something ACC teams aren’t supposed to do to SEC teams. They whipped them at the line of scrimmage, at least on defense. Quarterback Zach Mettenberger likely spent the next day soaking his bruised body after the beating he took from the Clemson defense.

Then the following day, it was time for the SEC to whip up on the Big Ten like they usually do. This year would be especially easy since two of the Big Ten heavyweights, the Ohio State Buckeyes and Penn State Nittany Lions were not able to go bowling due to NCAA sanctions. Ohio State not being there threw the Big Ten way out of alignment. If the Buckeyes were able to participate, they would have likely won the Big Ten Championship Game and gone to either the Rose Bowl or the BCS title game to face Notre Dame. But for the sake of argument, let’s say they went to the Rose Bowl. The Wisconsin Badgers would have been out of the BCS picture, likely ending up in either the Outback Bowl or Gator Bowl. Instead, the Northwestern Wildcats wound up in the Gator Bowl against the Mississippi State Bulldogs and the Michigan Wolverines ended up in the Outback Bowl to face another top 12 finisher, the South Carolina Gamecocks.

This was supposed to be a feast for the SEC. But the Wildcats beat the Bulldogs in Jacksonville to win their first bowl since 1949. In Orlando, the Georgia  Bulldogs, who nearly beat Alabama to get to the BCS title game, found themselves down 31-23 in the third quarter to the Nebraska Cornhuskers. Georgia rallied to win 45-31, but this is the same Nebraska team that lost to Wisconsin 70-31 in the Big Ten title game. Then in Tampa, the Wolverines gave the Gamecocks all they could handle in a 33-28 Carolina win at the buzzer.

Then on Wednesday night, the #3 ranked Florida Gators, a 14 point favorite, were soundly whipped by the Louisville Cardinals 33-23 in a game not as close as the score would indicate. The Gators were thoroughly whipped by a team that two of its players transferred to this past season because they could get more playing time there. If players are leaving your team because they cannot get off the bench and going to their team to get playing time, how do they spank you like that?

So now does Alabama look like they should be favored by 10 points based on being the champions of the brutal SEC? Not so much anymore.

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