I Have No Problem Cheering For SEC

I was listening to a sports talk radio show last night – yeah, I know, but the national college football network has some pretty good commentary. Anyway, the premise from a host was that fans of Southeastern Conference teams (other than Alabama fans) should not want Bama to win the national championship.

I get that.

Alabama will be playing for its third national championship in four years when the Crimson Tide takes on Notre Dame a week from today in the BCS Game at Miami Gardens, Fla. The theory is that when Alabama wins a national championship, it helps the Tide in recruiting and in fan support and in money, and all of that hurts its SEC competition.

Of course, Alabama already is so far ahead of the conference competition in football that a win against the Fighting Irish is hardly even piling on. No matter what happens in the game next Monday night, Bama is going to continue to be one of the small number of truly national teams. That fraternity, by the way, does not include any other SEC teams.

Alabama is going to continue to lead the SEC in all manner of tradition, facilities, fan support, and coaching. And those are the things that really matter.

Even though I understand that the SEC is the primary competition for Alabama, here are the SEC teams I am for in this year's bowl season:

I am watching Vanderbilt against North Carolina State and I am truly pleased that the Commodores are winning. My daughter is a Vandy graduate, so that is part of it.

Texas A&M, the only team to defeat Alabama this year and a new member of the SEC, has always been one of my favorite teams. That is in part because Coach Paul Bryant loved it so much and then having Ex-Aggie Gene Stallings make such an impression on Bama football's legacy. And y son is a graduate of Texas A&M. So I want Texas A&M to defeat Oklahoma in the Cotton Bowl Friday.

I have no more children. Indeed, I have no relatives who are alumni of any other SEC bowl team.

Nevertheless, I am for:

LSU against Clemson (even though Clemson Coach Dabo Swinney is an Alabama graduate) in the Chick-fil-A Bowl this evening.

Mississippi State against Northwestern (thank goodness this isn't Scholar Bowl) in the Gator Bowl Tuesday.

Georgia vs. Nebraska in the Capital One Bowl Tuesday.

South Carolina vs. Michigan in the Outback Bowl Tuesday.

Florida vs. Louisville in the Sugar Bowl Wednesday.

Ole Miss in the BBVA Compass Bowl against Pittsburgh (even though Vinnie Sunseri's brother is quarterback for the Panthers) Saturday.

Magnanimous I would be happy to be disappointed in all of those if Alabama can defeat Notre Dame next Monday night.

And, by the way, the sentiment of fans being against Alabama is wasted effort. The only fans who have a proven ability to affect the outcome of games in which the Crimson Tide is not playing are Bama fans.

Don't believe it?

I give you Iowa State over Oklahoma State last year, enabling Alabama to get into the national championship game and defeat LSU for the title.

Both Oregon and Kansas State losing this year, again enabling Bama to make the BCS Championship Game.

The first bowl game I ever attended was the Orange Bowl at the end of the 1965 season. Alabama and Nebraska would have been out of the championship picture in today's format, but when top-ranked Michigan State lost in the Rose Bowl and number two Arkansas lost in the Cotton Bowl, the Tide and Cornhuskers were playing for the national championship.

Alabama won 39-28 and was number one.

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