SEC beast roars to fourth straight title

PASADENA, Calif. – The Grand Slam was imminent when the chant started. No matter which Southeastern Conference team wins the BCS national championship, the fan base always pays homage.

“SEC! SEC! SEC!” they said, from the houndstooth-wearing lady who later professed her love for Alabama coach Nick Saban to the frat boys with ‘Bama bangs who made the trip to California to watch their boys bring home a title. The Crimson Tide obliged, brushing aside a late Texas run for a 37-21 victory Thursday night at the Rose Bowl to give the school its 13th claimed national championship and first BCS title.

For the SEC, its fourth straight crystal ball only reinforced what the rest of the college football world knows: There is the SEC, and there is everyone else. Florida won in the Orange Bowl last year, LSU at the Superdome the year before, Florida in Phoenix the season prior to that, and Alabama finished out the quartet to outfit conference commissioner Mike Slive with a fat ring for each finger, his naked thumb the only impediment to a full fist of gold and jewels.

How the SEC has grown into such a powerhouse is a triumph of which Slive beams with pride, and rightfully so: He took a regionally based conference and turned it into a cash-spitting ATM with a following north, south, east, west and everywhere in between.