The beast that is now the SEC East

It's official. The Southeastern Conference Eastern Division is one part playground, four parts battleground. Consider the likes of Steve Spurrier, Mark Richt, Phil Fulmer, and college football's hottest coaching prodigy, Urban Meyer, battling it out to be king of the hill in college football's hottest division. The opportunity to represent the SEC East in the conference championship game will fuel every competitive fire that burns in these guys!

This is precisely what college football fanatics like me have been waiting for, a divisional battleground which would indubitably be the mouth watering morsel worth getting up for every Saturday morning. It would be a (Shhhhhhhh) playoff atmosphere that is long overdue. Screw the presidents. We all have Steve Spurrier to thank for it.

It also has to intrigue the likes of Bob Stoops, folks. Why wouldn't he want to be a part of this? Stoops is the Top Gun of college football and at Oklahoma he only gets a chance to play teams in the SEC East only if someone from the Orange, Sugar, Fiesta (ole'), and Rose Bowl committees set it up. In the new and vastly improved SEC East, there will be no more waiting for the BCS to get it right. These schools go head-to-head every year. Period.

However, the collective success of these collegiate coaching icons knocking heads annually has just added a monumental exclamation point that will reverberate throughout the college football world.

Spurrier's move to South Carolina ignites a fire that has been burning in him shortly after he left Washington. While I don't believe it's a fire that will burn for more than five years, his immediate return is a boon to Columbia, the Southeastern Conference and college football. It quickly turns the East into a Beast.

I'm sorry, but I never believed that Lou Holtz would automatically make Carolina a contender. Make them better, absolutely, but, the program was too far in the toilet for Lou to get them in championship form. I also felt that Holtz had probably lost some of that fire since his national title at Notre Dame in 1988. He had been retired for three years, working as an analyst before he returned to the game at 61. Three years retired tells me that he was somewhat satisfied. Regardless, Holtz's introduction at South Carolina was attended by 4,000 fans. They had better arrange for more seating in Columbia when Spurrier is announced.

What of Florida? Urban Meyer or Bob Stoops. Bob Stoops or Urban Meyer. Who cares? I guarantee you that both these guys do, though they won't tell you until one of them signs on the dotted line. I guarantee you that both of these guys grin at the prospect of coaching in the new and improved Eastern Division. The schedule is an essential element in the blood of a competitor.

If you want to make the Eastern Division even more interesting, petition Kentucky to hire Ron Zook. He would add jet fuel to a conference fire that is presently being stoked to new highs. Zook has a competitors blood, too. Besides, the 'Cats brass could ask Ashley Judd to drop her towel as fans line up outside Commonwealth Stadium to buy the last remaining season tickets after the Zooker reels in a Kentucky recruiting class that rivals those delivered by Tubby Smith.

Soon to be completed moves at South Carolina and Florida will energize players, fans, and media alike. The excitement will get you through the winter months until spring practice opens. And you can bet that those who were straddling the invisible fence of fan to hardcore fan will make the jump and become fanatics. They'll look around to see who did what in spring practice. A new magazine or special edition will arise focusing solely on those rites of spring in an attempt to separate the hard workers from the smart workers. And it will sell.

You'll read about it in every pre-season college football magazine. You'll hear it in every broadcast. And you'll talk about it at the water cooler and break room at your work place. Whether you're for it or against it, the P word will be the talk of the day, and again the SEC is leading the way. You'll talk about the playoff atmosphere that is now the SEC East.

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