In case you didn’t know, Jim Delany has a fixation about the SEC. Witness this latest example, as he muses about whether Ohio State and Michigan should share the same division in the soon-to-be reconfigured Big Ten:
“I would put Michigan-Ohio State among the top five events in all of sports for rivalry,” Delany said. “It’ll get played. Now the question is, how best to play it? Are they in the same divisions or are they not? Do they play in the last game, the second-to-last game, the third-to-last game? How to do that is still under discussion.”
Delany noted that Ohio State and Michigan often have played for the right to go to the Rose Bowl, which would be lost if the teams were placed in the same division.
“You could make a good argument that Michigan and Ohio State should never really be playing for a divisional crown,” Delany said. “If they’re going to play, play for the right to go to the Rose Bowl. When Tennessee and Florida play, when Auburn and Alabama play, only one of those teams is going to go to the championship game because they’re in the same division.”
Yeah, that ol’ Iron Bowl sure has faded into obscurity since the SEC adopted division play and tucked ‘Bama and Auburn into the West, hasn’t it? It seems like nobody cares about that game anymore.
Isn’t Delany is setting his sights a little low with this talk about a Rose Bowl play-in game? After all, as Andy Staples notes, the SEC aims higher and hasn’t missed lately.
… Naturally, this dominance chafes those who live in places where they don’t appreciate Dolly Parton as an artist and where they don’t understand that good grits require the perfect combination of salt, pepper and butter. After Florida steamrolled Ohio State 41-14 to win the 2006 BCS title, Big Ten commissioner Jim Delany released a statement that essentially blamed the Buckeyes’ lack of swiftness on the Big Ten’s higher academic standards.
“The SEC has great speed, especially on the defensive line, but there are appropriate balances when mixing academics and athletics,” Delany wrote on Feb. 9, 2007. “Each school, as well as each conference, simply must do what fits their mission regardless of what a recruiting service recommends.”
Near the end of his letter Delany posited that, given the cyclical nature of college football, it was unlikely the SEC’s reign would last long. “Let’s see if the five- and 10-year trend lines hold,” Delany wrote, “or whether the recruiting services and talking heads are seeing a new day.”
Three seasons have passed since then, Commissioner. No other conference has won the national title. And when an SEC team beats a nonconference foe, SEC fans — even the ones who are bound by tradition to hate one another — rise to a full-throated roar to proclaim that superiority…