This season, more than ever, raises the question of which conference is better: the SEC or the Big XII?
As a fan of the University of Georgia, I have been biased in the past. However, this year, I believe the Big XII has taken the crown. Let's take a look inside each conference:
Traditionally in the SEC, powerhouse teams like Georgia, Florida, Tennessee, Auburn, LSU, and Alabama beat up each other in a race for the championship. It can definitely be argued that these teams in a weaker conference would walk away undefeated, but because of the marquee matchups in this conference, that is definitely less likely. It was not uncommon to see UGA, UF, and TENN very close at the top of the SEC East with one game being the deciding factor on who would move on to play in Atlanta. The same can usually be said with LSU and Auburn (and Alabama this year).
This year, several teams have faltered and have failed living up to expectations -- Georgia being one of them. As a preseason #1, I believed that they would lose one game this year but still manage to wrap up the SEC. However, I could have been farther from reality. Alabama and Florida really exploited the weaknesses of this UGA squad this year and have left them out to dry to play in a non-BCS bowl. Tennessee and Auburn have really struggled with finding a new offensive rhythm. LSU has suffered under the leadership of a freshman quarterback most of the time. Vanderbilt started off the season with victories and made it into the middle of the top 25. That's nothing against Vandy (as they are a good team), but that definitely says something about the complexion of the SEC East.
It has come down to Alabama and Florida. It can be argued that the winner of the SEC championship should play for the National Championship. I, for one, believe that this will be the case hands down. The SEC has been the class of football traditionally, and snubbing either Alabama or Florida would be a great injustice.
Now to the Big XII. Where do I begin? Several teams have improved and have hit the national spotlight: Texas, Oklahoma, Texas Tech, Oklahoma State, and Missouri (with Kansas hanging on in the balance). In past years, Texas and Oklahoma were the big powerhouse teams here that had a shot for competing for the national championship. This year, Texas, Oklahoma, and Texas Tech have legitimate shots at becoming the national championship. The problem? They are all in the Big XII south. Missouri takes a hold of the Big XII north, but these great teams have had to play against each other and beat each other up like my example of SEC teams.
Great teams beating up on each other will lead to inevitable losses, even if the losing team could win the national championship. This year, there are more viable teams that could potentially play in a National Championship game or in a BCS game as an at-large bid. This year, the Big XII has more teams that can win (and win big) than the SEC does.
I hope to see an SEC vs. Big XII National Championship game this year. The tough SEC defenses versus the high-octane Big XII offenses would prove to be an excellent game, no doubt.