Growing up in the South I always pulled for "our teams" to whip those from other regions. Once as an adolescent I saw a quote of a player from one of those famous Northern Universities who said, "I hate playing teams from the South; it's like the Civil War all over again." Exactly the kind of satisfying fuel my chauvinistic regionalism thrived on.
As an adult I have tried to put away childish things but I find that the hype about the South Eastern Conference continues with the same immature zeal. Listen to SEC fans talk and you would think that only Kryptonite could slow down their juggernauts. They are especially contemptuous of their cousins in the ACC, referring to them as the "almost competitive conference." In my opinion the kind of hard scientific analysis for which Tech students are famous should yield the simple fact that the SEC is currently a stronger conference than the ACC. But not overwhelmingly so. To suggest otherwise is to engage in the same old over the top hype that has plagued that conference for generations.
I remember as a youth we always said that Alabama was cheated out of National Championships because of a bias against the South. Only let them play a team like Notre Dame we said and people will see how dominant the SEC is. Be careful what you wish for. When Alabama finally played Notre-Damn-Dame-Yankee-U they lost. The series record is a dismal 1-5 and the famous Bear never beat 'em.
I also remember the year 1972 because that was the year Alabama was supposed to prove again that SEC teams were superior. In the Sugar Bowl against Nebraska they lost by four touchdowns. Speaking of Nebraska, Florida has never beaten them.
Of course I know the charge that will be made. I am cherry picking scores, dates and teams. I would be fully willing to admit that on one condition. Let the typical SEC fan admit that other conferences are closer in parity than they let on. Had North Carolina not been drawn off sides by a Pittsburge center doing a "St. Vitus' dance" with his head the ACC picks up another victory in the bowls. Likewise Auburn, the team that should have beaten Alabama, could just have easily been another SEC loss. Don't insult my intelligence by telling me that a team giving up over 600 yards and 33 first downs to Northwestern is superior.
The current hype would sugest that a beautiful and well balanced team like Alabama is somehow playing on another level. SEC fans seem to get their collective manhood stroked by believing such a canard, never mind that it took Alabama 10 tries before they finally beat Texas in a game and even then it was only with Texas' star quarterback on the bench with an injury. Alabama fans in particular as well as SEC fans in general are willing to overlook history and believe that this year alone proves their case -even in a tainted game. I would simply argue that the differences between some conferences are more marginal than we would like to believe.
And don't even mention Utah to them.