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Wait a sec — you’re suggesting the SEC isn’t the biggest rooster in the college football hen house anymore?
Of course, the Southeast Conference has won the last six BCS titles. But now there are some forward-thinking Academic All-American types who’ve been watching the Pacific-12 act far less passive than previous years. All of the sudden, they’ve got dozens of reasons to believe the monopoly is over.
(Now, where have we heard that before?)
The oversized ESPN college football preview magazine proclaims: “Curse the SEC! Enough Already. Can Someone Please Take Down College Football’s Most Dominant Conference? (We’re Talking To You, Trojans)”
The Sports Illustrated college football preview magazine proclaims: “USC’s Matt Barkley Is Back — and He Didn’t Stay to Play in the Holiday Bowl.”
Considering there’s a brand-new pre-season title favorite emerging from a dormant state, a brand-new TV network created to showcase everyone’s Western regional talents, and another new twist on Oregon’s uniforms bound to set the fashion world on fire, the Pac-12 has more than risen to the challenge.
Stacked up these measuring posts, you make the call:
AP RANKING BRAGGING RIGHTS:
Pac-12: Has the No. 1 pick; two in the top five; five in the top 30.
SEC: Has two in the top three; five in the top 10; seven in the top 28, 11 in the top 41.
Edge: Pac-12. For starters, it’s all about the perception of who’s going to finish first. The SEC has been content with bashing each other around during the regular season, waiting for the computers to process their greatness, then presuming two of them will emerge for the mythical national title. That’s the kind of back-woods thinking that’s about to be squashed as we gear up for a new four-team playoff system where human committee members make the final picks.
WHO’S IN CHARGE:
Pac-12: Larry Scott
SEC: Mike Slive.
Edge: Pac-12. Slive was once called “The Most Powerful Man in College Athletics.” That was from a 2010 AOL.com story. (People still use AOL?) Slive is MySpace. He might as well be leading the Security and Exchange Commission today. Scott is LinkedIn. Even Jed Clampett knows that once you strike something crude with a rural shotgun blast, the next move is to Beverly Hills to make things happen. Had Scott been the SEC commissioner the last three years, Tuscaloosa might have become one of the nation’s top suppliers of fine wines instead of Temecula.
HOW TO WATCH GAMES:
Pac-12: Aside from a new multi-billion-dollar deal with ESPN and Fox, the conference has self-generated a seven-regional, one-national channel platform.
SEC: A game of the week on CBS. If the rabbit ears on top of the TV are angled just right.
Edge: Pac-12. Their new deal also includes unprecedented access of games on iPhones and iPads. Imagine how the progressive the South could be once it completes the next phase in upgrading hand-cranked and rotary phones.
THE USC FACTOR:
Pac-12: The University of Southern California comes off two years of unnecessary punishment with a No. 1 preseason ranking by the AP and the ESPN Power Rankings, and No. 3 by the USA Today coaches’ poll which got all mucked up when coach Lane Kiffin got involved in the voting process.
SEC: The University of South Carolina is No. 9 in the AP and USA Today poll, and No. 10 in the ESPN.com Power Rankings. We’re not sure how superior coach Steve Spurrier believes his team to be.
Edge: Pac-12. Trojans always tend to muzzle Gamecocks when the action gets hot and heavy.
Pac-12: Lane Kiffin, Jim Mora, Chip Kelly, Rich Rodriguez, Mike Leach, Steve Sarkisian, Mike Reilly, Jeff Tedford, Kyle Whittingham.
SEC: Nick Saban, Steve Spurrier, Mark Richt, Les Miles, Gene Chizik, Joker Phillips (right).
Edge: Pac-12. No jokers there. Kiffin needed to only volunteer for one year at Tennessee to realize how much the conference goes against natural selection. And we’re still not sure what team Saban coaches these days.
Pac-12: Colorado and Utah (2011).
SEC: Missouri and Texas A&M (2012).
Edge: Pac-12. Strategic alliances could lead to including hot spots like Hawaii and Las Vegas when the Pac-12 expands to 14 teams at some point. The SEC’s expansion dreams of going from 14 to 64 will likely target Presbyterian, Wofford, Townsend, Troy, Western Kentucky, Western Carolina, East Carolina, Florida Atlantic, Buffalo, Georgia Southern, UMass, Jackson (Miss.) State, Jacksonville (Fla.) State, South Alabama, Middle Tennessee, Louisiana-Monroe, Louisiana-Lafayette, North Texas, Tulsa, Tulane and Central Arkansas – in other words, actual non-confrontational schools already on the SEC’s members non-conference schedule for 2012.
OFF-SEASON HEISMAN-RELATED STORIES:
Pac-12: USC’s Matt Barkley turns down the NFL to come back for his senior year and a Heisman campaign and begins the year as the year as the trophy favorite.
SEC: A former Heisman runner-up named “Honey Badger” turns down LSU’s code of conduct to focus on future NFL career.
Edge: When Barkley is barking out signals for the Seattle Seahawks in 2013, Tyrann Mathieu will be in Lot 6 directing traffic past the Space Needle.
PRECEIVED WEAKEST LINKS:
Pac-12: Washington State, Colorado.
SEC: Mississippi, Vanderbilt, Kentucky.
Edge: Pac-12. Forbes recently ranked Ole Miss at No. 2 and Auburn at No. 7 on its list of the “Worst College Football Teams for the Money,” based on program expenditures versus victories produced. Colorado ranked No. 8. Meanwhile, on the list of “Best College Teams for the Money,” Stanford ranked No. 4 and Utah was No. 9. LSU came in at No. 10.
Pac-12: Rose, Alamo, Holiday, Sun, Las Vegas, Kraft Fight Hunger, New Mexico.
SEC: Sugar, Capital One, Outback, Cotton, Chick-Fil-A, Gator, Liberty, Music City, BBVA Compass and Independence.
Edge: Pac-12. Only 58 percent of its members (seven of 12) are guaranteed a non-descript post-season bid. The SEC makes sure 71 percent (10 of 14) will get in. The four who don’t make it often get passes to the Daytona 500. The SEC wants liberty and independence, but one of its commitments involves taking a pledge to eat controversial chicken sandwiches. Where’s their moral compass? Go fight some hunger.
MOST TELLING WIKIPEDIA NUGGET OF INFORMATION:
Pac-12: “The ‘Conference of Champions’ … has won more NCAA National Team Championships than any other conference in history; the three schools with the most NCAA team championships belong to the Pac-12 (UCLA, Stanford and USC).”
SEC: “The conference is one of the most successful financially, consistently leading most conferences in revenue distribution to its members, including an SEC record $220.0 million for the 2010-2011 fiscal year.”
Edge: Most college algebra classes teach that trophies are greater than or equal to money when establishing a legacy.
TAILGATE UTENSIL ETIQUETTE:
Pac-12: Yes, Real silverware.
SEC: Optional. Especially on the back of a motorcycle.
Edge: SEC. Too many stainless steel forks, spoons and knives are finding their way into landfills. Along with former SEC head coaches.