SEC fans all have the same nightmare.
They fall asleep on their sofas on a college football Saturday and then wake with a start to the phone ringing. They see a mysterious little blond girl pick up that phone.
She turns. "They're baaaaaaack," she says.
"Oh, No!" the SEC fans exclaim. "Not … USC! EEEEEEEEkkkkkk!"
Everyone in the country knows the program and conference that is going to end the SEC's run. Shoot, it's practically a done deal, at least since Matt Barkley stood in front of a Christmas tree and announced that he was coming back for his senior season to crush his enemies, see them driven before him and to hear the lamentation of their women.
USC is 22-11-1 all-time versus the SEC. Of course, very few of those games have taken place in the last 10 years during the SEC's, cough-cough, rise to dominance. It's a well-known college football fact -- I would never make this up -- that SEC athletic directors run and hide behind their desks when the Trojans call, intending to politely ask if said SEC team would be willing to play a game.
No, really, that probably happened.
In 2007 and 2008, USC had the same number of losses as LSU and Florida, which both won "national championships." The SEC was BCSed into those titles. Does anyone really believe Florida would have beaten USC in 2008? Of course they don't. Don't be silly.
Ah, but the Trojans slipped, no doubt. Pete Carroll, who didn't lose a nonconference game from 2003-2009, other than the 2006 national title game, lost his Pac-10 mojo, going 5-4 in conference play in 2009. He saw Oregon rising under Chip Kelly and the NCAA, frothing at the mouth to end USC's run as college football's preeminent program.
So he bolted, and the NCAA irrationally hammered USC with unjustifiable sanctions because it couldn't stand seeing Will Ferrell and Snoop Dogg hanging around practices and making the Trojans look impossibly cool.
But after a two-year postseason ban and a 10-2 finish in 2010, as noted earlier, "They're baaaack." And with Lane Kiffin as their coach, which makes things even more fun due to his beloved and lionized status among SEC fans.
No, don't run away. You're supposed to say "USC who?"
USCee you on Jan. 7 in Miami!
And if it's not USC, then it will be Oregon.