A team from the Southeastern Conference has won college football’s championship for seven seasons in a row. On Jan. 6, against Florida State University, Auburn University will try to make it eight. That the SEC is the strongest conference in college football is now a settled matter for all but the most feverish Big Ten boosters.
The question of why remains a subject of rabid debate. Pinning down the source of the SEC’s greatness is a chicken-and-egg problem. The SEC wins because its schools have big sports budgets. Its schools have big sports budgets because they win. And round and round we go. The search for a first cause often ends in mythology. It’s a Southern pride thing! Nick Saban sold his soul to the devil!