Will the SEC continue to dominate? Teams across the nation strive to steal the championship
By Hunter Jameson
ASST SPORTS EDITOR
The Southeastern conference has exerted its dominance of college football over the last decade in ways that most college football fans have never before experienced. The SEC is known for having the best overall football atmosphere in the country as well.
The conference is divided into two regions that schools compete within: east and west. The west division includes: the University of Alabama Crimson Tide, Louisiana State University Tigers, Auburn University Tigers, Texas A&M Aggies, University of Mississippi Rebels, University of Arkansas Razorbacks and Mississippi State Bulldogs.
The east includes: the University of Georgia Bulldogs, University of Florida Gators, University of Missouri Tigers, University of South Carolina Gamecocks, University of Tennessee Volunteers, University of Kentucky Wildcats and Vanderbilt University Commodores. The history speaks for itself, with the SEC winning eight out of the last 10 National Championships and four Heisman Trophy winners since the year 2002.
Alabama, Florida, Auburn, and LSU have all been National Champions in the past decade. Tim Tebow from Florida (2007), Mark Ingram from Alabama (2009), Cam Newton from Auburn (2010), and Johnny Manziel from Texas A&M (2012) are the four Heisman trophy winners from the SEC in the last decade.
All of the success and confidence on display from SEC teams and their fans has got the rest of the country wondering who will finally dethrone the SEC as national champion. Alabama has been a powerhouse under Nick Saban with AJ McCarron at Quarterback, looking for their third national championship in a row and fourth in the last five years. They know how to play in big games, which has played to their advantage, but there are teams from other conferences that have a serious chance at the title this year.
There are currently four SEC teams in the AP Top 25 Poll: No. 1 Alabama, No. 7 Georgia, No. 9 Texas A&M and No. 10 LSU. Alabama and Georgia have arguably the best chance at keeping the national championship in SEC territory, but teams like Oregon, Clemson, Ohio State and Stanford all have legitimate chances as well.
I think I speak for every college football fan in the country when I say we’ve been dreaming of an Alabama vs. Oregon matchup for the past two years, and the dream is still alive this year. The Pac-12 Conference has two strong programs in Stanford University and the University of Oregon who are both extremely well coached and led by poised quarterbacks.
Stanford is coached by David Shaw, who has continued to transform the Cardinals into a powerhouse football program even after losing quarterback Andrew Luck and coach Jim Harbaugh to the NFL. Quarterback Kevin Hogan and running back Tyler Gaffney along with a stifling defense have led Stanford to a 5-0 record and No. 5 overall ranking. Gaffney is a San Diego native out of Cathedral Catholic High School.
The University of Oregon Ducks are led by first year head coach Mark Helfrich and Heisman Trophy contender Marcus Mariota at Quarterback. Oregon runs an extremely quick tempo offense that wears down the defense throughout the game. This style of play is what gives them an advantage over their opponent nearly every Saturday. They are the No. 2 team in the country and average nearly 60 points per game.
Ohio State is finally off of their post-season ban and is hoping to have a similar season as their last. They went a perfect 12-0 last season but unfortunately could not be eligible for a bowl game because of previous punishment placed on them.
Coach Urban Meyer made sure that his team would be ready to go this season, as they have started 6-0 despite Quarterbacks Braxton Miller and Kenny Guiton rotating due to injuries. The Buckeyes are hoping to bring a national championship to the Big Ten but might need an upset of Oregon and Clemson for that to happen.
The Clemson Tigers might have the best offensive duo in the country behind Heisman Contenders Tajh Boyd at quarterback and Sammy Watkins at wide receiver. Clemson picked up the biggest win of any team thus far when they took down the Georgia Bulldogs in week one and have continue to win, holding a 5-0 record and No. 3 ranking in the nation. The Tigers need Boyd to come up big the rest of the season in order for them to have a chance at bringing the title to the Atlantic Coast Conference.
Nobody knows what is going to happen on any given Saturday, and there are always upsets lurking in the near future. Along with these four teams mentioned, Florida State, Georgia and Louisville all have a chance at a National Championship, too.
Just one upset of a top five team can change the stakes all of the teams sitting in the top 10. The conference championship games will be the deciding factor for which team makes it to the National Championship game this year.