Championships. Traditions. Rivalries. Respect. Welcome to SEC Football.
With five National Championships by four different schools in the past five years, it’s easy to crown the SEC as the most dominant football conference in the NCAA. The SEC has the most BCS bowl game appearances and has won the most bowl games out of any other football conference. It’s a conference where every player, every coach and every fan expects their team to win.
The SEC has some of the best known traditions in college sports. Tailgating is a tradition where generations of alumni and fans gather in southern style. Traditions are past down and memories are made. Game days unite communities with their hero’s by an entrance that is a tradition every fan wants to experience. Each parade is different, but the tradition is the same. Old Miss and Alabama have The Walk of Champions, Tennessee- the VOL Walk, LSU- the March Down the Hill, Vanderbilt’s Star Walk, Kentucky’s Cat Walk, Florida’s Gator Walk, Mississippi State and Georgia’s Dawg Walk, Aubrun’s Tiger Walk and Arkansas- A Walk are all sacred steps to every home game.
Some traditions are unique, some we don’t always understand but these traditions are part of SEC pride. LSU is one of the few schools that use an “H” style goal post so players can run through it from the endzone and they mark the yard lines by the five yard-line, not just by the ten yard-line. Alabama’s Rammer Jammer Cheer, the Gator Chomp, the Grove at Old Miss, Auburn’s Toomer’s Corner, Georgia’s Uga, Mississippi State’s cow bell, South Carolina’s Cockaboose Railroad and Tennessee’s Rock, the forming for the “T” and playing of Rocky Top are all iconic traditions in college football.
Rivalries in the SEC are unlike any other in college football. There are games that have been played for centuries, games that can change your season and games that can end a coaching contract. When you play in the SEC you’re not just playing to win, you’re playing for pride. The Iron Bowl: Alabama- AuburnThe Halloween Game: Tennessee- South CarolinaThe Egg Bowl: Mississippi State- Arkansas The Magnolia Bowl: LSU – Ole MissThe Largest Cocktail Party: Florida-Georgia The Third Saturday in October: Alabama- Tennessee The Deep South’s Oldest Rivalry: Auburn-Georgia
The state of Alabama is divided. At an early age you have to choose; Roll Tide or War Eagle. There’s no in between, you have to choose and that’s what makes the Iron Bowl match up one of the best rivalries in college football. But what happens when the rivalry goes too far?
Alabama fans were not the only college football fans that didn’t drink the Cammy Cam juice. I don’t have to explain why Cam Newton should not have been eligible or why this championship may be in the history books with asterisk. But soon, he’ll have to give back his Heisman Trophy. We all know that the Newton case isn’t closed. So I can’t help but wonder the timeline of the poisoning of Toomer’s Corner along with the NCAA investigations… Wednesday afternoon NCAA investigators had interviewed four individuals about Auburn football recruiting tactics, but the main story for Auburn was about an Alabama fan; Harvey Updyke Jr., a 62 years old man who poisoned the oak trees with herbicide known as Spike 80DF after Auburn beat Alabama in the Iron Bowl.
On January 27th Updyke called the Paul Finebaum radio show and announced that he had applied the herbicide to the soil of the 130-year old oak trees.
Soil samples were collected January 27th after the show and quickly processed by the Mississippi State Chemical Laboratory.
On February 7th Auburn Police launched a police investigation and without delay located Updyke.
On February 16th, the same day as the NCAA investigator had interviewed four individuals about Auburns recruiting tactics, Auburn announced on their website and to the media without having Updyke in custody, the news of the Oaks being poisoned.
On February 17th Updyk was arrested with a $50,000 bond facing a felony and ten years in prison.
If Auburn knew about the herbicide for more than a week and then released the information about Updyke before the police had his mug shot… maybe this was a coincidence to distract any NCAA findings in the soil of Jordan-Hare Stadium or maybe it was planned…
Auburn quickly took the pride from Alabama’s glory by beating them in the Iron Bowl and then winning the National Championship a year after Alabama. Even with all the NCAA investigations, Alabama fans showed their respect for playing in the SEC. Alabama established Tide for Toomer’s, a fund for Crimson Tide fans to contribute money to Auburn University’s efforts to rehabilitate or replace the poisoned trees. In only a few days, over 35 thousand dollars had been raised by Alabama fans.
Paul Finebaum said the rivalry between Alabama and Auburn would only get worse and Alabama would retaliate- taking the rivalry to a whole new level… well Mr. Finebaum, the rivalry is strong, but the respect is stronger. Welcome to the SEC!