The SEC West is, without a shadow of a doubt, the single best conference that college football has ever seen.
At the time of this writing, six of the seven SEC West college football teams are ranked in the top 15 of the entire NCAA. The only team outside the top 15 is the unranked Arkansas Razorbacks, and we’ll save that story for another column.
The SEC West is unashamedly dominating at the moment. It has four out of the nine current candidates for the 2014 Heisman Trophy. It has the team with the most total yards on offense (Texas A&M). It has the team whose defense has allowed the least amount of rushing yards (Alabama). It has three of the top twelve toughest college football stadiums to play in (Arkansas, LSU and Alabama). I believe the new way to spell domination is S-E-C-W-E-S-T.
It helps that this southern region of the United States is collectively obsessed with football. It’s often the south, with its home-style cooking and fresh greens, that produces massive 6’7” 322 lb. linemen like senior guard Brey Cook at Arkansas. On Fridays, innumerable southern towns shut down completely so that the entire population can get out to the high school football game. Countless high schools in the area are spending millions of dollars on indoor practice facilities and state-of-the-art stadiums.
Whatever it is, we love our football down here in the south. Devotion has turned into ludicrous obsession. At Ole Miss, thousands of people tailgate in The Grove, rain or shine. At Mississippi State, an outsider would be alarmed by the deafening noise of cowbells ringing after touchdowns. At Texas A&M, the Yell Leaders, with their flamboyant hand motions and spontaneous lunges, effectively lead an entire student body in a unified chorus of chants. At Arkansas, the cult-like Hog call is performed without shame. At LSU, fans replace the letter “o” with “eaux” for reasons unknown. At Auburn, one mascot (the Tiger) wasn’t good enough so they added an Eagle to their repertoire. At Alabama, they chose an elephant to symbolize the “Crimson Tide.”
The SEC West is an odd group. That odd group, though, can’t seem to stop winning. They must be doing something right. As they sit atop all of college football, it’s doubtful that any opposing teams will be laughing at the little quirks of the SEC West. On the contrary, those opponents will be begging for mercy midway through the first quarter.