What They’re Saying …
[Here’s an account of what media had to say following Auburn’s 22-19 win over Oregon for the national championship and the Southeastern Conference’s fifth consecutive national title.]
“Competitive depth has been the SEC's self-trumpeted calling card the past several years, and at this point it's hard to argue. Dennis Dodd of CBS Sports first tweeted this amazing stat late Monday night: The SEC has had as many schools (four) win national championships in the past five years (Florida, LSU, Alabama and Auburn) as the Big Ten has in the 74-year history of the AP poll (Michigan, Michigan State, Minnesota and Ohio State).” – Stewart Mandel, Sports Illustrated
“I'm picking the SEC to win all the marbles again next season. Louisiana State, with 17 returning starters, stands atop our ridiculously early preseason Top 25. Let's face it, it's really never too early to formulate a Top 25. Plus, it's only natural to wonder if the SEC can produce a sixth straight BCS national champion. Is the phenomenon bad for college football? No way. I regard the SEC the way I regard the New York Yankees. The SEC and the Yankees set the standard. They give other teams and leagues something to shoot for.” – Steven Sipple, Lincoln Journal Star
“The SEC is now 7-0 in BCS title games. The conference has won more than half of those 13 BCS championship games. They ought to rename the system, BCSEC.” – Dennis Dodd, CBSSports.com
“For those five consecutive seasons now, the SEC has bullied the rest of the country. The conference is close to retiring the BCS glass football. It is 7-0 in BCS title games, having won more than half the 13 games played. A large reason why is a large defensive tackle who was the latest hulking SEC defender to terrorize a championship game opponent. When Fairley, all 6-feet-5, 300 pounds of him, wasn't threatening to make a big play he was just threatening. The big lug lives on the edge of the rulebook, but you have to admit he puts the fear (of getting pounded into the sod) in opponents. Oregon's LaMichael James, the nation's leading rusher, was held to 49 yards.”
– Dennis Dodd, CBSSports.com
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“The Southeastern Conference is now 7-0 in BCS championship games and has more national titles in the Bowl Championship Series era than all the other conferences combined. Auburn is the fifth different SEC team to win a BCS championship. Maybe they should just start handing out the crystal ball at the SEC title game in Atlanta during the first weekend of December? Of course, there are droves of SEC fans who have been suggesting the same thing for the past few years. They're not kidding, either.” – Ralph Russo, Associated Press
“Amid the dignitaries on the post-game podium here Monday night was Southeastern Conference commissioner Mike Slive, whose smile flashed as bright as anyone’s.
The winners, and still champion and king of college football: The SEC.….. Monday’s effort added to the defensive dominance that has become the conference’s championship trademark. “At the end of the day,” Auburn end Antoine Carter said, “the SEC is the best conference out there.” – Dave Curtis, The Sporting News
“Now that Auburn has claimed the BCS national championship, there is no debate about the power structure inside the sport. The SEC is a cut above, and the bragging rights are no small matter to flag-flying residents in the Deep South. Those five consecutive championships have been captured by four different schools, three from the same division, two from the same state. What to make of such dominance?
No doubt, the SEC is fertile recruiting territory filled with top-flight coaches. But why do they retain so much talent? For climate and sophistication, you can't tell me that Tuscaloosa holds more appeal than Tempe. The difference is the culture. It's the people. It's the 20,000 mostly Auburn fans who roamed about the Westgate area Monday night, screaming "War Eagle" while the championship game played inside a domed stadium just a few blocks down the road.” – Dan Bickley, Arizona Republic
“A key question is what separates the Southeastern Conference, which has won the last five national championships. Some insights are obvious. As Auburn coach Gene Chizik said Tuesday in accepting his national-championship trophies, ‘‘Football in the Southeast is king.’’ The SEC schools lie in recruiting territory that might be the most fertile in the country. Because the SEC cares so much and has so many top-notch programs, the pressure is on every school to do everything it can simply to remain competitive. They make each other better. The SEC champion will be battle-tested and highly rated, two key ingredients for reaching the national championship game and being successful.” – Herb Gould, Chicago Sun Times
“Football titles are won by the big people. Usually, the big people from the Southeastern Conference. The final score of this BCS Championship Game was 22-19. That is not an accurate measure of the mass-and-force advantage that both Auburn lines, particularly the defensive line, held over Oregon.” – Mark Whicker, Orange County Register
“Why does the SEC win championships? It’s the big guys up front. Pat Dye, the former Auburn coach, told me a long time ago that the biggest difference in the SEC and other football conferences is the big, fast defensive linemen who grow up and play in the South. It was clear in Monday night’s game that Oregon had not seen anybody like defensive tackle Nick Fairley. The SEC produces more of those players than any other conference. The SEC has won five straight national championships. That is not a coincidence.” – Tony Barnhart, CBS College Sports/SEC Digital Network
“When the college football season begins anew in about eight months, there probably won't be a Southeastern Conference team at the top of the polls. However, by season's end, don't be surprised if another SEC team does finish on top. Auburn became the fifth consecutive SEC team to win the Bowl Championship Series title by defeating Oregon 22-19 Monday night at University of Phoenix Stadium. ….. Still, the numbers are hard to ignore. The SEC's streak became the most dominating run for a league in eight decades, matching the Big Ten's five consecutive championships won by Michigan and Minnesota from 1932-36 -- and four came before the Associated Press began its news media poll. Auburn became the fourth different SEC school to play for BCS title in the last five seasons. Since 2006, no other conference has had more than two different schools play for the national title. To put the SEC's recent dominance in perspective, consider that the Big Ten has won just two championships in the past 40 years, by Michigan in '97 (shared with Nebraska) and Ohio State in '02. The SEC won its 10th in 19 years.” – Kelly Whiteside, USA Today
“ Uncle! We concede. The rest of the country, that is. Nobody plays college football like they do below the Mason-Dixon Line, which is not to be confused with the Auburn defensive line. Compared to the Southeastern Conference, the Big Ten is a big nothing. The Pac-10 is a pack of unfulfilled promises. Five straight national championships for the SEC. Two in a row for the state of Alabama (or acknowledging the refusal by the fans and alumni even to acknowledge the existence of the opposing school), the state of Auburn. A year ago, the Crimson Tide folks (yes, that's a good commercial on ESPN, "Roll Tide") were gloating as much about their success as Auburn's failure. Twelve months, it's gone the other way. Sweet Home Alabama. Or Auburn.” – Art Spander, RealClearSports.com
“We are witnesses to history that seems unbelievable. At least it feels that way to those of us not from the South. With Auburn’s 22-19 victory over Oregon on Monday, the Southeastern Conference has won the past five national titles since Texas beat USC after the 2005 season. Those chants of “S-E-C!, S-E-C!, S-E-C!” may be annoying, but they carry great weight on the heels of Auburn, Alabama, Florida, LSU and Florida waltzing back home with the crystal football. Since the debut of the Associated Press poll in 1936, only once has a major conference put together a streak longer than two. Yep, the SEC won three straight from 1978-80, as Alabama won the first two followed by Georgia. For good measure, the conference owns three of the past four Heisman winners — Tim Tebow, Mark Ingram and Cam Newton. And Tebow got more first-place votes than 2008 winner Sam Bradford.” – Douglas Pils, Houston Chronicle
“You know what they say about something that doesn't kill you only making you, well, pretty darned formidable. Four different Southeastern Conference teams have won the last five BCS championship games, and thus the national title. That's impossible to do, which is why nobody has done it since the Big Ten back in the 1930s, when it was probably a little bit easier. And, in the 13-year history of the BCS, the SEC is 7-0 in the last game. Only one other conference, the Big 12, has won even two (Oklahoma in 2000, Texas in 2005). Each of the other BCS conferences - Pac-10 (Southern Cal in 2004), Atlantic Coast (Florida State in 1999), Big East (Miami in 2001) and Big Ten (Ohio State in 2002) - has won one. Think about that, especially when you consider that it hasn't been one or even two teams doing all the damage. I don't know who's going to win it all 12 months from now. But I'd say it's a good bet that whoever gets through the SEC will have a big-time shot. And by the way, in case you're already looking that far ahead, Alabama and Louisiana State are both supposed to be really good. LSU beat Alabama this season, but has to play at Alabama in 2011. ….. Right now, what the SEC is is unstoppable. But maybe one of these years . . .” – Mike Kern, Philadelphia Daily News
“Southeastern: Lucky or great? The answer: yes. The Southeastern Conference won its fifth consecutive BCS title and has won seven of 13. The SEC is clearly the nation's best league but also has had its share of BCS title breaks. In the 1998 season, Florida State quarterback Chris Weinke was injured and could not play in the title game against Tennessee. Last year, Alabama defeated Texas after Longhorns quarterback Colt McCoy got injured. Louisiana State, in 2007, became the first two-loss BCS champion. In 2006, Florida edged Michigan out of a title game spot by .9445 to .9344. Auburn wouldn't have won this year had a Clemson receiver held onto a pass in September. But these are just nitpicks — the SEC is No.1.” – Chris Dufresne, Los Angeles Times
“The SEC doesn’t just have better teams than the rest of the country, it has more of them. It has the richest and best television deal – a combined $3 billion in national exposure with CBS and ESPN. It has the most passionate fans. Its coaches and players are the game’s biggest stars. It’s become the NFL-lite – a long way from the sleepy days as a mere Southern pursuit.” – Dan Wetzel, Yahoo Sports
“Tipsheet: This is the SEC's world, we just live in it. In the showdown between Nike University and Cam Newton Tech, Newton ultimately prevailed. The BCS title goes to Auburn University and the SEC extended its domination over college football.” – Jeff Gordon, St. Louis Post-Dispatch
“There are three certainties in life: death, taxes and the SEC winning BCS title games.
….. Monday night, (Auburn defensive coordinator Ted) Roof made perfectly clear that for the fifth consecutive year, another conference's best offensive pyrotechnics couldn't withstand the SEC's brutal defenses. Five years ago, the Florida Gators began the SEC's reign atop the college football universe with a 41-14 domination of Ohio State here on the same field. Five years later, thanks to the Auburn Tigers, the SEC is still on top. And another offense has fallen victim to southern-fried defensive dominance.
On a cool night in Glendale, the SEC's reach covered the continent, ManifeSECt destiny, indeed. As Carter succinctly summed it up, "We're the SEC, man." – Clay Travis, AOL FanHouse