Since its foundation in 1933, the Southeastern Conference has been the gold standard for others to follow. In everything the Southeastern Conference does, others tend to follow suit. We see it again as the wheels of conference realignment are left spinning inside the ACC. Reports have surfaced that seven schools are interested in leaving the conference and joining the likeness of the Southeastern Conference, Big 10, and maybe the Big 12. However, nobody is trying to depart the Southeastern Conference because, as a whole, the conference is the best. Top to bottom, the Southeastern Conference is the conference that everybody wishes they were a part of.
Year after year, the Southeastern Conference sets the standard for others to follow. In 1992, Roy Kramer had a vision for the Southeastern Conference Football and hosted the first-ever Conference Championship game. Despite pushback from everyone, the 1992 SEC Championship game between Alabama and Florida provided the breeding ground for the modern-day Conference Championship. It wasn’t until 1996 that the Big 12 adopted the Championship game. During that time, the Southeastern Conference would play a standalone game in early December, soaking in television revenue for their members.
Fast forward to 2020, while other conferences were playing into the Covid hysteria, the Southeastern Conference decided that they were going to play football. Many criticized the decision to play, but in hindsight, the Southeastern Conference once again proved those people wrong. When others like the Pac-12 and Big 10 refused to play football in the fall of 2021, it was the Southeastern Conference that decided their student-athletes were the ones that were in charge of the conference rather than people from Washington, DC.
In the latest conference talks, the Southeastern Conference is the prize that everyone is chasing. Oklahoma and Texas realized the market value of the Southeastern Conference when they decided to join the conference leaving the Big 12 behind. Others, including Clemson, Florida State, and NC State, put the inquiry out there that they would be interested in joining the Southeastern Conference. It might happen and would be another addition to the Southeastern Conference, but the SEC doesn’t necessarily need them to be successful.
For those with wondering minds, nobody is trying to leave the Southeastern Conference. Never will. Who knows what happens next with the NCAA, but one thing is for sure, the Southeastern Conference will always be the pillar that others will strive to keep up with.