UPDATE: Florida peels and dices Alabama 31-20 to take the SEC title. Tebow shines. The guy is amazing. In the beginning, middle and end, he gives credit where credit is certainly due--to his Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. This is the power of Tebow, a power infinitely greater than himself. A power that makes everyone and everything around him better. He's genuinely an inspiring role model to so many kids---and all of us---who have little to look up to in today's culture. And he uses the pedestal fans have put him on for good and for God, rather than just for himself and his own aggrandizement.
GAME OF THE CENTURY TODAY as #1 Alabama (undefeated) and #4 Florida (10-point favorite) square off in Atlanta for SEC title championship. More.
I admit, I'm not the world's biggest college football fan, preferring instead basketball and baseball if given my druthers. However, it's undeniable that SEC football is the biggest gorilla on all playing fields of all conferences and in all sports in this country. If you can compete in SEC college conference football, you can more than compete anywhere.
I don't know a lot, but I sure know it's a very big deal in these parts and can appreciate what it's done for a lot of kids that play here in this conference. And I know who Tim Tebow is. So this afternoon, when I saw this piece in the WSJ, I read it with interest.
What the Rise of Southern Football says about America is about how population shifts (twenty-seven of the 50 fastest-growing metropolitan regions in the country in 2007 were in the South, while personal-income growth in the region outpaced the national average over the past decade), southern culture and rising affluence, especially in the southeast, have all contributed to college football's amazing popularity here.
Whereas football was once considered an elite sport of northern universities like Harvard and Nortre Dame, those old stereotypes have given way in recent decades to the SEC's meteoric rise which now sends more players to the NFL by far than the rust belt states all together.
A little Americana found in this very good piece,
"The sport's regional profile grew in the '60s and '70s when Alabama coach Paul "Bear" Bryant won six national titles even as the South was being pilloried for its resistance to the Civil Rights movement. Wayne Flynt, a professor emeritus of history at Auburn, says Mr. Bryant's achievements were a point of pride even for Southerners from other states.
"The desire to win was so strong it even outweighed racial prejudice -- Mr. Bryant was finally able to freely recruit black players after his team suffered a beating in 1970 at the hands of Southern California, whose star running back, Sam Cunningham, was black.
"Nothing did more for racial integration in the South than sport and the military," Mr. Flynt says. Today, expectations are so high that despite the performances of Alabama and Florida, many consider this a down season for the conference because LSU and Georgia lost eight games combined.
"The breadth of the South's football culture creates a fanaticism that crosses all lines."
Here in Tennessee where I live, there are no greater more fanatic fans than those at UT and Big Orange Country. Pity the poor coach that has a losing season like the one there now. He doesn't last long before fans have his scalp and have him on the bus with a one-way ticket to ride.
Anyway, it's getting exciting down here in Dixie as the season draws to a finale and you can bet that I'll be with friends watching SEC football Saturday afternoon unless I want to spend the day alone. I'm there and proud of my good ole SEC conference.