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Alabama wins, but SEC continues to be the ultimate victor

Michigan v Alabama Getty Images

The “S-E-C!” chant reached a new level of insufferable during Saturday’s game between Alabama and Michigan that didn’t previously seem possible.

At just under five minutes to go in the second quarter, Michigan quarterback Denard Robinson threw an ill-advised pass in the shadow of his own end zone to Tide linebacker C.J. Mosley. In fairness to Robinson, Mosley was wide open. But it didn’t matter, Moseley ran 16 yards with the ball for a touchdown. It was the tail end of a 31-point run by Alabama that, when clocked continuously, lasted just over a quarter’s worth of game time.

Just like that, the game felt over. It wasn’t, of course. Eighth-ranked Michigan would mount a couple of scoring drives before eventually falling to No. 2 Alabama 41-14, but the impression was set early.

That’s when the chant started booming through Cowboys Stadium, right after a PAT put Alabama up 31-0.

“S-E-C! S-E-C! S-E-C!”

I’d like to think that this game between two storied programs was just a game between two storied programs. I’d like to think that Alabama is just a top-notch program that can plug in any player at any position and have success against whatever competition it faces. I’d like to think that Nick Saban is just one of the best coaches in college football because of his ability to take away what other teams do well.

Individually, those are all true statements, but collectively they’re not reality. Michigan-Alabama was more than just a game. It was an opportunity to dethrone the SEC by knocking off the defending BCS champion in prime time on national TV — even if it was solely to show that, yes, football’s elite can be beaten one time out of 100, a la “Little Giants.” This country has SEC fatigue, and why wouldn’t it? Six straight BCS championships is a lot to have shoved in your face all the time.

Take No. 14 Clemson’s 26-19 win tonight over Auburn in Atlanta for example. Aubie may be the fourth or fifth-best team in the SEC West, but that’s not what people were talking about. Clemson beat an SEC team, so it’s labeled as a statement win. No other conference has that kind of rapport.

So when a crowd of crimson starts chanting “S-E-C!”, there’s nothing that can be done to stop it because no team’s shown it can on the field when it matters most.

Michigan tried, but the irony is that it was Alabama’s physicality, not necessarily speed, that was the separating factor. The Wolverines have speed too. Robinson had some signature open field runs on a couple of occasions, and Michigan’s receivers got behind coverage from time to time. But Robinson can’t throw the ball well enough to keep most opponents on their heels consistently and no one’s going to run sideline to sideline against Alabama successfully.

There’s nothing too complicated about it: Alabama was the better team with a favorable matchup. It doesn’t guarantee that one’s going to be more successful than the other going forward, but the storyline of the Big Ten vs. SEC is always a compelling one, so that’s what it was about tonight.

And the SEC won. Again.

Eventually, an SEC team will lose a Cowboys Classic or championship game. It has to happen. When that day comes, it’ll feel like a national holiday to everyone outside that part of the country.

Until then, all any of us can do is shrug our shoulders when the chant starts up again.

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45 Responses to “Alabama wins, but SEC continues to be the ultimate victor”
  1. rickrock6661982 says: Sep 2, 2012 12:15 AM

    LOL @ anyone who thought this game would be close

    Heck..ask any rational Michigan fan

  2. tuckfexas says: Sep 2, 2012 12:16 AM

    $EC… teams that money can buy-literally.

  3. imforbigblue says: Sep 2, 2012 12:21 AM

    Don’t forget that the SEC also won the championship in basketball to with UK

  4. lbroberts123 says: Sep 2, 2012 12:36 AM

    Auburn should have won…

  5. overratedgators says: Sep 2, 2012 12:39 AM

    Someone else said it better than me on the previous CFT post about this game. Denard Robinson is a fast, shifty runner sometimes capable of making big plays in clutch situations. But he can’t throw with any kind of accuracy or consistency. He’s a great running back, but will never find success as a quarterback.

    In other words, he’s the Tim Tebow of the Big Ten.

  6. manik56 says: Sep 2, 2012 12:39 AM

    Beating Nick Saban with Nick Saban players is impossible when you have RichRod players. Hoke will field much better teams in the coming years.

  7. houndofthebaskervols says: Sep 2, 2012 12:53 AM

    Totally classless, as expected.

  8. pdcooper08 says: Sep 2, 2012 1:05 AM

    Strong statement today by Bama. I thought Michigan would have put up more of a fight.

    The Clemson Auburn game was a great game and Auburn shouldn’t have won. Should of, could of, would of. Final score is what counts.

  9. barbeaux says: Sep 2, 2012 1:14 AM

    I wonder how many tea bagging incidents happened this time.

  10. tigersgeaux says: Sep 2, 2012 1:20 AM

    SEC! SEC! SEC!

    Great fans, great coaches, great football stadiums (and expanding), great practice facilities, temperate weather (compared to other conferences), abundance of great high school athletes…all that is true for SEC college football, but also for SEC college baseball, SEC college basketball, and other sports. There is something to it. We are living at the right time in history to enjoy it.

    Michigan has a great running back at QB, but not a great QB. Denard seemed to be more successful in reaching Bama receivers (defensive backs) than his own receivers. Michigan is not quite ready to play at the level of Alabama, but few teams are.

    SEC! SEC! SEC!

  11. chicagokman says: Sep 2, 2012 2:19 AM

    “shrug out shoulders”? Why? It’s clear the SEC is just better. I’m an Auburn fan but I didn’t have a shred of doubt that ‘Bama was going to absolutely roll over (no pun intended) Michigan. UM is (was) the lone Top 10 team of the Big 10 – and it was clear they didn’t belong on the same field. As to the Clemson game, wish I could say that AU deserved to win but they didn’t – too many turnovers – and that QB Boyd for Clemson is as slippery as a greased pig. AU’s youth showed, but also showed tremendous promise. Get Dismukes back, more game snaps for the ‘frosh o-linemen and that’s a scary offense (gimme a hell-yeah for making Lutzenkirchen an all-arounder). I wouldn’t want to be on AU’s defense this week with all the tackling drills I imagine VanGorder is going to be running and re-running.

  12. lethimplaycoach says: Sep 2, 2012 2:59 AM

    O-V-E-R-S-I-G-N-I-N-G clap clap clap.

  13. tubad4ya says: Sep 2, 2012 3:00 AM

    It’s the same old story. Michigan is one of several teams that is often overrated in the preseason rankings simply because of who they are. I’ve seen nothing from Michigan that indicates they are a top 10 team, and I give them a 50/50 chance of finishing inside the top 20. That being said, the fact they were romped by Alabama isn’t particularly surprising, unless one believes the farce that is preseason rankings.

  14. iknoweverythingdk says: Sep 2, 2012 3:08 AM

    The SEC reign is over now that USC is back!

  15. 2ndaryinsanity says: Sep 2, 2012 7:36 AM

    Talking smack about teams you beat is one thing, but for the love of God…please quit flapping your lips about SEC vs Big 10 (or any other conference)!!!!!! I don’t care, and don’t understand why anyone else would either. You never here Giants’ fans beating their chests about how dominent the NFC East is. It’s just kind of stupid.

  16. tigersgeaux says: Sep 2, 2012 8:35 AM

    Who the flip cares what the Giants do? This is college football and this is the SEC. Unlike the wannabee conferences, the SEC has fans, fans to their respective SEC team first and fans of any SEC team playing a team from another conference, the Big 10 the latest victim. If you lived in a SEC area, especially those who have been in the SEC since the beginning, you would understand. Since you don’t, ignorance is bliss.

    May these flood waters go down, rather than rise as they are now. LSU extended records national records in their game. Good distraction for the 92,000 plus at the game and the millions watching it on ESPNU. Thanks to ESPN for giving us this game for a much needed distraction, but back to work in great earnest today.

  17. karl1210 says: Sep 2, 2012 9:31 AM

    I really don’t get it. Why cheer SEC obnoxiously all the time? We get it the SEC for the current time is the best conference in college football congratulations I guess? But unless you are an Alabama, LSU, Auburn, or Florida fan why would you be chanting SEC? I have heard Mississippi fans chant the conference name before, why? You don’t see Oklahoma fans cheer on Texas for the honor of the conference, the want Texas to lose every week. Every team in the Pac 12 wants to see USC go down and every team in the B1G wants Michigan and Ohio State to lose. That is what makes college football great rivalries and wanting to see your hated conference rivals lose. So imo the SEC has no real rivals if the fans cheer for their rivals in non conference play.

  18. overratedgators says: Sep 2, 2012 9:40 AM

    When Florida started the string of SEC national championships, it against a Big Ten team (Ohio State).

    Last night continued the SEC domination over the Big Ten with a ‘Bama win over Michigan.

    And in a weird coincidence:

    Final Score of Florida/Ohio State National Championship Game: 41-14.

    Final Score of last night’s Bama/Michigan game: 41-14.

  19. polegojim says: Sep 2, 2012 9:46 AM

    Hats off to the Tide. Clearly the better team, which was totally expected.

    Some good signs of improvement by Michigan, but still Men V Boys in the end.

    Keep up the good work Coach Hoke!

    Go BLUE!

  20. WingT says: Sep 2, 2012 10:05 AM

    Michigan is going to be fine. It takes time to build the program with the players that fit the coaches philosophy.

    I was surprised by the way the Bama dominated. I thought it would be a more evenly contested game.

    Good luck to Michigan in the Big 10 this year – I hope they roll through conference and beat the S@$t out of the buckeyes

  21. Liga Del Tacos Rosa says: Sep 2, 2012 10:45 AM

    I think Floyd Mayweather thought it was gonna be close.

  22. dcroz says: Sep 2, 2012 11:00 AM


    It’s just like it is in a large family. There is all kinds of sibling rivalry and infighting that takes place every day…but when someone from the outside threatens one sibling, then all the rest come in for support, no matter what squabbles they may have had with each other. It may be a dysfunctional family in the SEC, but it’s still a family nonetheless.

    Of course, this is born of factors that run far deeper than just college athletics. The South has been on the defensive essentially since the start of the Republic, from slavery to Jim Crow-era segregation to lagging behind the rest of the country in economic and educational development. And in those areas, it was a scorn well earned. So when there was something that the South could then lord over the rest of the country in terms of being the best, then Southerners latched onto it long and loud. This is why Bear Bryant was so popular not just in Alabama but across the entire South: it was not just that he was successful, it was that he gave the South something to be proud of on the national scene. The same continues to be true today across all of college athletics for current players, coaches, and teams.

    More than this, though, the South continues to rankle over not just Northern badmouthing, but also over Northern hypocrisy. National news outlets (including this one) seem to have a cadre of reporters ready to write a headline-busting story anytime two white supremacists in the South come within a hundred yards of each other yet ignore the acts of racism that happen right outside their own doors…or even inside of them. When a mass shooting occurs in the North, it is treated as an isolated incident, but when it happens in the South, the entire region is tarred and feathered as the act exemplifying everyone that lives here. And to bring it back to college football, the South keeps getting criticized for having players on the roster that would NEVER be admitted to a Big 10 or PAC-12 school, though that same criticism doesn’t seem to apply when a player gets dismissed from a school in those conferences for failing to meet academic eligibility requirements, like the one from Cal the other day.

    And before you ask why you don’t have this same level of fervor from the ACC which is still mostly composed of Southern schools, I would suggest that it has far more private and public schools that tend to cater to the region’s elite (Duke, Wake Forest, Georgia Tech, North Carolina, Virginia) who feel themselves removed from such petty matters, as opposed to SEC schools which are all public institutions with the exception of Vandy. Also, the ACC kinda sucks right now.

    So yes, get ready to hear more chants of “SEC! SEC! SEC!” even if someone breaks the current national championship streak this year. Because there will still be people out there putting down the South whenever they can…and there will always be Southerners willing to let you know what they think of it.

  23. karl1210 says: Sep 2, 2012 12:19 PM

    That was an excellent response dcroz. I sometimes tend to forget that people in different parts of the world will have different views of the world. I appreciate the bound that the fans of the SEC have, but I don’t think I could ever do it. I being a duel fan of Ohio State and Minnesota (Parents born in both Columbus and Minnesota) Can’t stand Michigan, Wisconsin, and Iowa and find it disturbing at the thought of cheering for them. Also I do admit there is a little bit of jealousy coming through so hearing SEC-SEC-SEC all the time can get on ones nerves. Though I understand the fans feelings better you can understand how annoying it gets after awhile. Hell of a lot of good teams in there though and good luck to whoever team you root for in the season.

  24. patall24 says: Sep 2, 2012 12:32 PM

    Roll Tide. can’t beat us then join us.

  25. florida727 says: Sep 2, 2012 12:51 PM

    overratedgators says:
    Sep 2, 2012 12:39 AM
    In other words, he’s (Denard Robinson) the Tim Tebow of the Big Ten.


    Really? So he’s won two national championships, the Heisman trophy, and was a 1st round NFL draft pick, too? I didn’t know that.

  26. pmm0455 says: Sep 2, 2012 12:56 PM

    “S-E-C! S-E-C! S-E-C!”
    “S-E-C! S-E-C! S-E-C!”
    “S-E-C! S-E-C! S-E-C!”
    “S-E-C! S-E-C! S-E-C!”
    “S-E-C! S-E-C! S-E-C!”
    “S-E-C! S-E-C! S-E-C!”
    “S-E-C! S-E-C! S-E-C!”
    “S-E-C! S-E-C! S-E-C!”
    “S-E-C! S-E-C! S-E-C!”
    “S-E-C! S-E-C! S-E-C!”
    “S-E-C! S-E-C! S-E-C!”
    “S-E-C! S-E-C! S-E-C!”
    “S-E-C! S-E-C! S-E-C!”
    “S-E-C! S-E-C! S-E-C!”
    “S-E-C! S-E-C! S-E-C!”

  27. overratedgators says: Sep 2, 2012 1:08 PM

    Dcroz: credit where due … That was an excellent response…

  28. overratedgators says: Sep 2, 2012 1:12 PM

    Florida727: no, I didn’t meant that Denard is a good athlete playing a position he doesn’t belong in. Just like Tebow. I’m not begrudging St. Timothy’s success at UF – he had a phenomenal career there. But just like Robinson – he had his limitations exposed as a QB by the Crimson Tide. (One difference, of course: unlike Tebow, Robinson didn’t cry like a bitch on national TV afterward.)

  29. joshm5683 says: Sep 2, 2012 2:42 PM

    Denard Robinson will make an excellent slot receiver and punt returning in the NFL……….

  30. matlp57 says: Sep 2, 2012 2:44 PM

    The SEC is the only conference where every team in it has been on NCAA probation at one time or another,I don’t see anyone bragging on that record.

  31. buckeye94 says: Sep 2, 2012 3:37 PM

    I can’t wait to hear the SEC excuses when none if em make it to the BcS

  32. blasterpastor says: Sep 2, 2012 4:01 PM

    Anybody else notice the vast discrepancy in what is given as the height for Denard Robinson? His “bio” says 6’0″ but, last night, every member of his team and of Alabama’s team towered over him. He may have great success in college but that won’t cut it in the NFL. Even if, and it’s a huge “if,” he is 6’0″ tall, there were several college QBs in this year’s draft who didn’t make it because they were not 6’3″ or over. Tebow is 6’3″ – Rothlisberger is 6’5″ – Cam Newton is 6’5″ – Tom Brady is 6’4″ – Andrew Luck is 6’4″ —- you aren’t going to make it as a new QB in the NFL if you are six feet or less.

  33. jko54 says: Sep 2, 2012 4:46 PM

    hey Karl, granted dcroz was very elegant in his words and views, and in part, I agree and support him. I was raised on SEC football and for over 50 years have avidly watched and supported it, but believe me when I say that MOST people in the south have their very strong loves and hates. For example, you will not hear the standard Auburn fan ever cheering for Alabama and visa versa, nor a Ole Miss fan cheering for Miss. State or visa versa, this is a matter of fact with all the teams and the majority of the fans. Personally I can’t stand Alabama, LSU and Florida…but I will be the first to admit their prowess. I was raised a Ole Miss fan, I graduated from there but also have degrees from Miss. St. and Tennessee. So obviously I root for all three, tough choice when they play each other. For example, the biggest selling bumper sticker in Vol country for years read: “My Favorite Team is Tennessee and Whoever is Playing Alabama”…so dcroz was elegant but not really correct, not about all of the SEC fans. If Alabama went 0-12, Personally I would love it, it won’t ever happen, but not everyone supports the other schools!

  34. jko54 says: Sep 2, 2012 4:50 PM

    buckeye94…you will have to wait until there is no BCS for the SEC to not be in the BCS

  35. kupski says: Sep 2, 2012 7:20 PM

    Michigan got wayyy too much promps from E.S.P.N.

    They had an easy schedule last year, not this year though and it will show with at least 4 loses.

    Coach Lloyd Carr, err no I mean Rich Rodriguez, ooopsie I mean Brady Hoke, yea Brady white gravy stained fat pig Hoke/ Hoax is a horrible coach and a poor excuse of physique (shouldn’t he be in shape and have them learn from example?) and Michigan is really not that good. Other than the q.b. they have nothing offensively. Last year was a “Hoax” .

    Again, the press pushed this way out of proportion that they were going to be competitive and the ENTIRE nation knew they were going to get dusted and lo and behold they did.

    Its NOT the Big Ten players per se, its the coaching and training technique. Blame them.

  36. tide4life says: Sep 2, 2012 7:44 PM

    Happy to see my beloved Tide win- even bigger than I anticipated- against a team that some may consider overrated (not gettin into that). But Michigan is not to be dismissed, and neither is Robinson. Hoke has a bit if a mess to clean up and when he does, the Wolverines will be back firmly on the “feared” list.
    Bottom line: One game. Season’s just started. And it’s still wide open.
    I’m just glad it’s COLLEGE FOOTBALL SEASON AGAIN!!!

  37. gbow11 says: Sep 2, 2012 8:48 PM

    I love how so many people think when the new system takes place the SEC will be left out of the NC game. On the contrary, the SEC will truly dominate then! There has been many of years where the conf. was so strong you couldn’t get out of there undefeated. There for no SEC team in the NC game. After a two loss LSU team destroyed OSU the powers to be realized how good the SEC really is. Now seven years later and soon to be seven NC titles it will only get worse for the rest of college football.

  38. thraiderskin says: Sep 2, 2012 10:31 PM

    Yeah… I knew it was going to be a blow out, Denard Robinson is a utility player, playing quarterback.

  39. twoody50 says: Sep 3, 2012 8:56 AM

    Alabama has one game on their schedule…..LSU. The SEC, after Bama and LSU, have nothing. They proved it this weekend. At the end, the pollsters will try to give us another Bama LSU title game. After all the BCS ,ESPN and SEC are one in the same.

  40. gbow11 says: Sep 3, 2012 9:06 AM

    Twoody50…blah, blah, blah! Same old tired rants. You line up the top six teams in the SEC VS the top six teams in any other Conf. and the SEC goes 5-1. You take the top three teams and we go 3-0!

    I can’t wait until the new playoff format starts. The top SEC team that makes it will always win. Period, end of discussion! Complete and total domination from that point forward.

    SEC, SEC, SEC, SEC!!!!

  41. twoody50 says: Sep 3, 2012 9:44 AM

    You sure that isn’t Tbow11. Alabama will sweep through the SEC as it would any other conference. That’s a given. Good coach in Sabin and easy recruiting in the South.

  42. roltyd says: Sep 3, 2012 9:58 AM

    The SEC has more than three good teams this year. The Vols showed they have improved tremendously, Miss St will surprise many this year, and could go on to win ten games this year. Arky is always a threat, just ask LSU, and the SEC East is up for grabs between UGA, USCe, and even the Gaytors.

    Good game by tbe Tide, little tweaks to the defense and could be unstoppable, but it’s been after only one game. CNS demands focus on the next opponent only. And that’s the way we roll.

    BTW, there IS a lot of rivalry between schools within the SEC, but lots of support for ALL of them when we go outside our box. It’s called Southern Pride, you are born with it. Besides, at the end of the day, it’s just a game…but it sure is fun being #1!

    RTR, Geaux Tigers, and go SEC!!

  43. florida727 says: Sep 3, 2012 12:05 PM

    overratedgators says:
    Sep 2, 2012 1:12 PM
    But just like Robinson – he had his limitations exposed as a QB by the Crimson Tide.


    Would that have been in 2006 when the Gators beat ‘Bama 28-13?

    Or would that have been in 2008 when the Gators beat then-undefeated (12-0) and #1 ranked ‘Bama in the SEC championship game 31-20 when Tebow threw THREE touchdown passes?

    Oh, wait, you’re talking about 2009 when Tim led the Gators to an undefeated regular season, lost to the eventual national champions in the SEC title game, then torched an undefeated Cincinnati team for 533 passing yards, 3 TD’s, while running for another, winning his 2nd consecutive post-season game MVP award, right?

    Just trying to figure out which Alabama team ‘exposed’ Tim’s weaknesses. Must have been 2009, right? Certainly 2008 doesn’t count since he WON that matchup, right? Try doing a little research before you expose yourself as nothing more than an idiot hater with zero credibility.

  44. gbow11 says: Sep 3, 2012 12:51 PM

    Tebow was a great college quaterback, but everybody outside of Gainsville new he would be a bust in the NFL. He played great in all the games against Alabama even the one we won. However, it was with great pride watching him crying like a bi_ ch on the sidelines as the game was ending!

  45. bamawv says: Sep 3, 2012 3:18 PM

    The comments here indicate some jealousy among the non-SEC members. I guess the “SEC” chants must feel like our fanbase is rubbing it in,–pouring salt on open wounds. But when we play games that are over by the end of the 1st qtr. (see Bama – Mich St. in the 2010 season or the Bama – Mich game) we are looking for any kind of entertainment to break up the boredom of 3 and outs on defense or repetitive 80 yd TD drives. I imagine a few Bama fans were wishing they had the remote control for the Jerryworld jumbotron to see what else was on.

    I am noticing the crew here trying to convince themselves that Bama has some illegal competitive advantage. But the truth is much more simple and painfully obvious– y’all are just not very good. RTR

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