Are you an SEC snob ?

The Covington News - - Sports - BEN PREVOST COLUM­NIST

No one likes a snob, my mother says (Ole Miss fans ex­cepted).

She’s right as usual. But if you feel the same way as I do about SEC football, you might very well be an SEC snob.

You think ev­ery­thing’s bet­ter in the SEC, don’t you? For ex­am­ple, you’d rather tail­gate in the grove in Ox­ford, Miss., than in Colum­bus, Ohio. Boat drinks with the Vol­un­teer Navy on the Ten­nessee River over a tail­gate party in Utah. Do they tail­gate in Utah?

I once at­tended a tail­gate in East Lans­ing, Mich. and asked for a bloody mary. With raised eye­brows I was handed a wa­tery mix of bland tomato juice and bad vodka. Even the ice had that yucky freezer taste to it.

Dif­fer­ent story at a tail­gate down on the bayou in Ba­ton Rouge. To my de­light, LSU fans poured a per­fectly mean con­coc­tion of Zing-Zang, Tito’s vodka, Tabasco, cracked pep­per, Worces­ter­shire sauce and some mys­tery voodoo in­gre­di­ent they told me not to ask about. All gar­nished with a cel­ery stalk and a green bean in a pur­ple and gold “Geaux Cup.” Ah, the SEC.

The South­east­ern Con­fer­ence ad­van­tage expands far be­yond tail­gat­ing. You tell me who you’d rather have as a date to the big game. A Kappa from Ge­or­gia or a women’s rugby player from Wis­con­sin? (The Badgers do have a women’s rugby club team. I checked.)

Let’s talk sta­di­ums. From the Swamp to Kyle Field, to nearly ev­ery sta­dium in be­tween, nowhere in the coun­try is the pas­sion more pal­pa­ble than in SEC venues. We’re just . . . how to say this po­litely . . . bet­ter.

Are we SEC snobs? Let’s probe the is­sue with ref­er­ence to some clas­sic movies. We could be snobby like Judge Smails of Bush­wood Coun­try Club in 1980’s “Cad­dyshack.” (“Danny, I’m hav­ing a party this week­end. How would you like to come over and mow my lawn?”). Maybe we’re closer to the Omega fra­ter­nity broth­ers in the 1978 film “An­i­mal House,” with their snooty, holier-thanthou at­ti­tude. Per­haps our con­fer­ence snob­bery

ap­proaches that of Louis Winthorpe III, the wealthy fi­nancier played by Dan Aykroyd in 1983’s “Trad­ing Places” (“This is the sports watch of the ’80s. Six thou­sand, nine hun­dred and fifty five dol­lars re­tail!”)

There is, how­ever, a key dif­fer­ence be­tween us and these leg­endary movie snobs: we have rea­son to be proud. Look no fur­ther than this week’s na­tional rank­ings for con­fir­ma­tion that the SEC re­mains the coun­try’s finest football con­fer­ence. Five SEC teams in the top 15, four in the top 10, three in the top 5 and the No. 1 and No. 2 teams in the na­tion. Of course, the bright­est val­i­da­tion of SEC suc­cess is found in tro­phy cases across the South­east, where crys­tal balls sig­nify the SEC’s cap­ture of seven of the last nine BCS na­tional cham­pi­onships.

The elite me­dia dreads con­tin­ued SEC dom­i­nance. Mere min­utes af­ter USC’s loss to Stan­ford last Satur­day, tears were shed in Hol­ly­wood and pun­dits pro­claimed the likes of Ore­gon, Florida State and even Notre Dame as ti­tle con­tenders. Puh-leeze. We all know the na­tional cham­pi­onship is on Dec. 1 in At­lanta when ei­ther LSU or Alabama will face Ge­or­gia, Florida or South Carolina in the SEC Cham­pi­onship Game.

This Satur­day, mean­while, lacks big-time SEC show­downs but I’ll still watch Ge­or­gia-Van­der­bilt over Florida State-Clem­son be­cause, you guessed it, ev­ery­thing’s bet­ter in the SEC. In the East, South Carolina can stay in the mix with a win over vis­it­ing Mis­souri. Word out of Columbia, S.C. is that Con­nor Shaw will get the nod at quar­ter­back. Mizzou seeks its in­au­gu­ral con­fer­ence win, but they’ll have to wait un­til the Van­der­bilt game in early Oc­to­ber. I’m call­ing a com­fort­able vic­tory for the Game­cocks.

In the West, LSU trav­els to the plains of Auburn for what typ­i­cally is a mar­quee matchup. The home team in this Tiger v. Tiger se­ries has won 11 of the last 12 meet­ings.

But LSU is 47-4 against un­ranked op­po­nents un­der Les Miles and Auburn is dis­tracted by my pro­posal a few weeks ago that the school merge with Clem­son to form Clem­burn. I’ll take the Bayou Ben­gals in this one. Yes, life is good here in the SEC. The rest of the col­lege football world might think we’re snobs. We’re not. We’re just bet­ter than them.

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