- Rick Reilly, Columnist, ESPN.com
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NEWPORT BEACH, Calif. -- If Auburn wins the national title Monday night, I swear I'm going to eat my fist. I'm going to weep softly. I'm going to go to Columbus, Ohio, and termite-tent Urban Meyer's house with him zipped inside. After all, he and his Ohio State team let Auburn into this game in the first place.
I need undefeated Florida State to win Monday. I need it like I need circulating blood. If Auburn wins and gives the SEC its eighth straight national championship I'm going to dress backwards and take up the flugelhorn.
Before you start yelling, I know. This is a reason-free column. It's leaking emotion from the bilge. It's journalistically wrong. I know.
I just don't care.
I can't take another year of the bragging, the self-slobbering and the chest-thumping. And that's just from Condoleezza Rice. SEC people are the acknowledged GOATs -- Gloatingest Of All Time. If they make it eight in a row, they will be as insufferable as Russell Brand.
Oh, no? Here's what Auburn fullback Jay Prosch told me Thursday: "The competition in the SEC is way beyond any other conference in the country … SEC players are smarter, faster and stronger." Smarter? Really? Smarter than a conference that has Stanford, UCLA and Cal? Bet me a first-year Google salary on that?
And I'm not even sure about "stronger and faster" after watching Oklahoma smash Alabama Thursday night in the Sugar Bowl 45-31. OU looked stronger and faster and OU coach Bob Stoops looked smarter, especially after pointing out once again how overhyped the SEC is before the game. He's now 3-1 versus Nick Saban at Alabama. Lately, the emperor has no close.
Time is wasting. The window is only open for a half a second here, people. Saban just signed another deal at Alabama, Florida will surely bounce back quickly, and even Ole Miss is getting good.
No, this is it. It's now or never. Florida State is a 9-point favorite, has about two dozen guys who can play Sundays and has the Heisman Trophy winner in QB Jameis Winston. If the streak doesn't end now, we could be stuck with these people until they SECede.
A man can hope, can't he?
Remember, starting next season with the new four-team playoff system, the SEC will get four cracks at it. Knowing their blind luck, they'll put three in.
You don't think the SEC is lucky? Explain how they got Texas A&M just as Johnny Manziel starts playing like Archie Manning. Explain how they shoehorned Auburn into this title game, a human lotto ticket that needed a billion-to-one catch (Georgia) and a 109-yard field goal return (Alabama) to get there.
If God isn't an SEC fan, he at least listens to Paul Finebaum.
And it's not just me. "It'd be nice [to end it]," FSU nose guard Timmy Jernigan said Thursday. "I get kind of sick of hearing about it."
I'm more than sick. I'm getting a facial tic here. My own company, ESPN, which has never had a one-conference station before, is launching the SEC Network next year, starring no less than Tim Tebow.
I'm not saying the SEC isn't the best conference. It is. And I'm not saying they didn't deserve six of those seven straight titles (Utah in 2008). It's just the whole behold-the-glory-of-us way its fans, coaches and players have.
For instance, the SEC acts as if it invented speed. And yet the fastest player in America -- WR Levonte Whitfield -- plays at Florida State.
The SEC acts as if it invented NFL feeder schools. And yet of the three schools with the most players on NFL rosters this season (USC, LSU and Miami), only one was from The Wonderful Conference.
The SEC acts as if it invented genius coaches. And yet its icon, Saban, made mistakes in the Iron Bowl you wouldn't see in Beverly Hills Pop Warner. Just to jog your memory, he passed up a 30-yard field goal that would've iced the game, then went for a 57-yard field goal that was returned half a mile because he forgot to put anybody on the kicking team who could run the 40 in under an afternoon.
Engrave that on your statue.
Please? Couldn't one team (1) commit an SEC violation in the title game so that we never again have to suffer condescending comments, like the one Prosch issued Thursday: "Florida State is really good. They resemble an SEC-type team the way they dominated their conference."
Oh, get over yourself. If anything, the Seminoles are far more "SEC" than Auburn. Do you realize they haven't given up a single rushing touchdown all year?
So, let me live this fantasy:
FSU whomping Auburn Monday, and some Seminoles player standing with his cleat on Prosch, going, "Resemble an SEC team? Bro, we're better than any SEC team."
Taking the first-ever iPhone photo of a non-Wonderful Conference team winning the national championship. (The iPhone wasn't invented yet when the streak started.)
I'm begging you, Famous Jameis. If you love college football, you'll do this. If Meryl Streep wins every Best Actress, people stop watching the Oscars, right?
LSU head coach Les Miles eats the exact same dinner every night -- grilled fish with steamed vegetables. Every. Single. Night.
Me, I'm a dog who gets nothing but kibbles and no bits. I ache for a little variety. Is it too much to want to eat something new besides my words?
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