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Two Weeks Until Kickoff in the SEC

Under investigation, Johnny Manziel and the Texas A&M Aggies are forcing the college football world to rethink itself.

Johnny Manziel and the Texas A&M Aggies

For those of you who do not live in the south, you would not understand what it is like in SEC country right now. It’s two weeks until the start of the football season. People are already getting ready for that first tailgate party. In the south, college football is a 365-day-a-year obsession. The SEC rivals spend their days talking trash to their foes, keeping up with recruiting, re-living past triumphs and counting down the days until the opening game of the next season. Then, in an all to short three months that includes six or seven home games, it is all over again. But for those three months, all else stops. The work or school week is just something to pass the time until Saturday.

For a lot of the SEC Nation, there is no professional sports teams to follow in their states. So in Alabama, Mississippi, South Carolina, Arkansas and Kentucky, the SEC team is the biggest thing going there. And in other states, such as Florida, Tennessee, Georgia, and Louisiana, the SEC school was around long before the pro teams, so they are still the biggest game in town there too.

But what makes college football so much more important in the SEC than it does anywhere else? That’s hard to say. For most of us, it’s just always been that way. In other parts of the country, pro sports are bigger than the college game. Why? Who knows? It probably has a lot to do with the success of the local teams. But in the SEC, obsession in many cases came before success. For example, the Florida Gators football history was one of futility up until 1990. They had won nothing, not even an SEC championship (not that counted anyway). But there were still 75,000 people who packed Florida field for every home game.

Other schools such as the Ole Miss Rebels, Georgia Bulldogs, Tennessee Volunteers, Auburn Tigers and Mississippi State Bulldogs had periods of success, but for the most part played second fiddle to the Alabama Crimson Tide. But that didn’t stop the fans from filling those stadiums every week.

It could be said that the reason the SEC is so good now is because the fans and alumni of its schools have always taken it so seriously. Usually the winning starts and the fans follow. In the SEC it happened the other way around in many cases.

So how did it happen? It could be the weather. In the south, summertime is just hot and humid. For the most part, people stay inside. They venture outside to go swimming or play baseball, but that usually doesn’t last long. So in the fall, when the weather cools off, it’s nice to go outside. So football is a good reason to spend the day outdoors in the nicer weather.

My theory is, the south and its people have been and still are looked upon as inferior in entertainment and the media. You know the stereotypes. Southerners are dumb, slow, racist rednecks who lost the war and are still sore about it. So college football is the one place the south gets to flex its muscle. And the people love it. That explains why rival schools who hate each other all year, cheer for their rivals on New Year’s day.

You never hear fans chant “Pac 12, Pac 12” or “Big Ten, Big Ten” after a bowl win. But “SEC, SEC” is normal. SEC fans take great pride in whipping the outsiders. Does this help in recruiting? Possibly. The SEC is almost like a family. You want to beat your brother really bad when you go up against him, but let somebody else go at him and you got his back. That’s how the SEC is. That kind of passion attracts fans. They want to be a part of it. People who literally have no interest in any other sports love college football in the south. It’s not just a sport, it is a way of life. Two weeks begins the best time of the year.

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