The title of Paul Finebaum’s 2014 book, “My Conference Can Beat Your Conference: Why the SEC Still Rules College Football,” was meant to inflame. At the time, college football was transitioning from the BCS, a system many fans thought favored the Southeastern Conference unfairly, to a four-team playoff that was supposed to even the field and give more teams a shot.
Coming from Finebaum, who had just moved his longtime Birmingham-based radio show to the SEC Network, the title smacked of boosterism and unnecessary bravado aimed mostly at Big Ten fans who had long claimed the SEC was overrated.
“I was really proud of that book,” Finebaum said. “It got a lot of interest, it did well. It was controversial then. If I came out with that book today, the reaction to it would be the same as this game: Tell me something we don’t already know.”
The game he’s referring to is Monday’s national championship between Alabama and Georgia, marking the second time in the playoff era and third occasion in the last 11 years that two SEC teams have squared off for the title.
Alabama offensive lineman Tommy Brown celebrated after winning the SEC championship against Georgia. The two teams meet again Monday night for the national championship.
This year’s championship game is occurring against the backdrop of a chaotic period in college sports with the NCAA receding from power, schools scrambling to adapt to a more deregulated environment, conferences bracing for an uncertain future and players in a more advantageous position than ever with the ability to profit off their name, image and likeness and transfer more freely between schools.
Meanwhile, the College Football Playoff itself will be overhauled with expansion from four to 12 teams the likely outcome. Because the conferences have not yet agreed on all the details of…