When will the SEC's reign end?

January, 11, 2012
1/11/12
11:00
AM ET
In case the entire college football-loving nation needed a reminder, the SEC trotted out a commercial during the Allstate BCS National Championship Game proclaiming we were watching history.

Flashback to the 2006 Florida Gators. And all of the national champions from the SEC since then, and of course the two SEC teams playing for the crown this year. Yes, we get it. The SEC has won six straight titles, and everybody else is running around in circles trying to catch the all mighty teams from the South.

So what can the 106 teams outside the SEC do in 2012 to slow this roll? More specifically, how well positioned is the Big East to be the conference to knock off the most powerful league in America?

I know Big East fans will take this question seriously, because they are very serious about the Big East. All you ACC fans reading here can just look at West Virginia-Clemson highlights.

There is no question the Big East takes its share of hits, lumps, knocks, knee-slappers and jeers. But it was not too long ago that Cincinnati completed an undefeated regular season. The Bearcats were this close to having their shot at taking down the SEC, but alas an undefeated Texas team finished ahead in the final BCS standings.

Now, to be certain, it is not outside the realm of possibility for a Big East team to go undefeated in the coming years. Louisville is stacking up quality talent, and coach Charlie Strong already has won a share of a league title. The nonconference schedule in 2012 is not impossible. You could say the same for Rutgers, which plays Tulane, Army, Howard and Kent State in nonconference, with the hopes of adding one more marquee game to fill the void left by TCU.

Cincinnati has proven it can win all its games, and win Big East championships, too. USF is the talented team the entire nation is waiting on. If West Virginia stays on for 2012, the Mountaineers could make a serious run, too. Let's remember they are the team that put up the most yards on LSU this season.

And, of course, there is Boise State coming in 2013, and team with two undefeated regular seasons since 2008.

So we have established that an undefeated season is a must, and the potential is there. Now what the Big East needs is a plus-one. Because an undefeated Big East team would never get into the top two ahead of teams from nearly all the major conferences, a four-team playoff would be absolutely key. Imagine an undefeated Boise State finishing in the top four and getting a shot at the SEC. The Broncos picked apart the SEC East champs already this year. You think Kellen Moore would have been able to do better than AJ McCarron? That is rhetorical.

There is no doubt what the SEC has accomplished in the past six years has been remarkable. Even more impressive is that four different teams have won titles in that span. A team like USC is in much better position next season than any team from the Big East to put an end to this unprecedented run. From my perch, the Pac-12 and Big 12 appear to be in the best position to end this reign as early as 2012.

But if it doesn't happen next season, the Big East has its share of up-and-coming teams. And it also has Boise State coming into the fold.

So never say never.

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