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Not an SEC fan? Here’s the haters guide to watching another all-SEC national championship



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It’s a tough time of year.

It’s cold, days are short, sun is often nowhere to be found and for many, there’s no meaningful football to watch.

Of course, that doesn’t describe the SEC. When you play in 15 of the past 16 national championships — and win 12 of them — this is like early spring when the flowers are blooming and there’s nothing but good vibes. One can take a deep breath and perhaps, if the mood is right, they can hear chants of “S-E-C! S-E-C!” coming from the Southeast.

Not everyone is fortunate enough to annually soak in joy in early January. Many are miserable right now. They need help.

Fortunately for those people, they’ve got me. Consider me a tour guide of sorts.

(I do accept tips in cash form, and I’m on Venmo and PayPal. It would also go a long way if you could give me a 5-star review on TripAdvisor and/or Yelp.)

The goal today is to help out our friends in need. Come Monday night, they’ll be forced to watch another all-SEC national championship (one mustn’t miss out on being part of the zeitgeist). It’s the 3rd such occurrence in 11 years, so by now, one would think that they have some practice in the art of hate-watching. But there’s a right way to do it and a wrong way to do it.

For the rest of the guide, I’ll speak directly to the anti-SEC crowd who insist on watching Monday night’s showdown between Alabama and Georgia, and not those watching with a legitimate rooting interest. Who is that, you ask? This dude:

So here, anti-SEC fan, is your guide to surviving yet another all-SEC national championship:

Bring up the 2011 all-SEC rematch a ton

Ah, the rematch that started it all. By “all,” I mean the belief that the BCS computers favored the SEC and that we needed human beings and a Playoff to prevent 1 league from dominating. LSU’s 9-6 win over Alabama in the regular season, for you anti-SEC fan, was anything but the “game of the century.” And the rematch was the dud of the century. LSU got into Alabama territory once more than you and I combined. Alabama kicked 5 field goals.

(Don’t bring up the fact that LSU was historically dominant in terms of beating ranked teams in the regular season and that it totally belonged. And maybe skip the part where you say that Alabama didn’t belong because after all, the Tide won 21-0.)

Ten years ago, you were robbed entertainment because of SEC bias. You undoubtedly would’ve had more fun watching LSU-Oklahoma State — the Les Miles bowl! — instead of another LSU-Alabama game. But the computers robbed you of that entertainment and because the system was clearly biased, it gave us this new flawed system, which continues to suggest that the SEC dominates the sport.

Also use 2011 to justify why this year’s game will be a total snooze fest. After all, that’s the only time that Nick Saban ever got an in-season rematch. Surely history will repeat itself and you’ll again be left bored on a Monday night.

On a related note …

Have your “they should’ve been here” non-SEC teams ready

I cannot emphasize this enough. Everyone at your watch party is going to want to know the proper ways in which this game could’ve been more entertaining. Use whatever logic you want to justify your “they should’ve been here” teams.

Here’s a rough guideline of teams to consider:

Um, duh. Did you even watch the Rose Bowl? And Chris Olave and Garrett Wilson didn’t even play! Can you imagine what that would’ve been like to watch this team against Alabama? No, I do not care that they played in last year’s title game and it was a blowout. Jaxson Smith-Njigba wasn’t even a thing yet! It’s a passing world and despite the fact that the Buckeyes got trucked by Oregon and Michigan, they totally should’ve been here.

Georgia didn’t even win its conference. You know who did? Baylor. Dave Aranda’s team plays defense the way it should be played. Never mind the fact that the Bears had 2 losses — one of which was to TCU — and their starting quarterback is a guy who was recruited to be an SEC linebacker. We needed new blood in the Playoff and Baylor would’ve been so much better to watch. Remember the Big 12 Championship?!

Who wouldn’t want to see the Roadrunners on that big stage? Why don’t they let the Group of 5 team finally have a chance? What are they afraid of?

**Checks notes**

Oh. Forgot about Cincinnati. I already consider them a Big 12 team. I was so busy noticing their NFL talent that I didn’t even consider them a Group of 5 team.

**Checks more notes**

Oh, wait. UTSA lost? Crap. Thought they went undefeated in the regular season. My bad.

Alright. Moving along.

Aidan Hutchinson was held on every play. If Georgia and Michigan play 10 times, there’s no way that game is a UGA blowout all 10 times.

You need to have those teams ready at your disposal in the event that history repeats itself and it’s 2011 all over again. Those discussions will fill the dead air better than tiptoeing around politics.

Find fault in every potential game script

If it’s 52-45? “Wow, I guess it just means less defense.”

If it’s 13-0? “Wow, thanks for nothing, SEC.”

If you aren’t using the score of the game to justify your personal anti-SEC narrative, I’ve failed you. This is essential. It creates a win-win for you, the anti-SEC person. Even if it’s a thrilling game like we got to close the 2017 season, you complain that it’s a conspiracy theory to make everyone watch a close, competitive SEC game.

You should essentially watch this like you have a front-row seat to other people playing Mario Kart. Yes, call out when last-place Wario is gifted 3 consecutive stars while he’s getting his tail whipped at Rainbow Road. Wario didn’t earn squat. He just happened to be getting smoked and the powers in place wanted to level the playing field for the sake of entertainment.

Whether it’s a shootout or a rock fight, be armed and ready with reasons why you either aren’t entertained or you’re being entertained as a result of a conspiracy.

Vaguely bring up Playoff expansion, but don’t get too into the weeds

This is your fallback plan if things are really getting competitive in the second half. You need to shift your viewing party away from the thriller on TV by making this a big-picture issue about the system. Reference that you want to see new blood in the national championship — do not mention that 1 team is attempting to win its first national title in 41 years — and that the only way that’ll happen is with expansion.

See where your friends/people you’re talking at go with that. Do they say something like “man, wouldn’t it be so fun if we got March Madness but in college football?” Or do they go with “can you even imagine a home Playoff game on these college campuses?”

If they respond with nothing, those hypotheticals are fair game for you to throw out there. Remember, you’ve got to be the one driving the conversation. The last thing you want is your friends/people you’re talking at to have a good time because of an all-SEC national championship.

You also need to remember to keep the expansion discussion vague. If someone asks you “how is expansion actually going to change the national championship teams?” Change the topic. Talk about literally anything else.

“So targeting, huh? They should fix that.”

Vaguely bring up how the SEC is clearly paying the most with NIL, but don’t get too into the weeds

Again, the goal is to be vague. Blame the system at all costs. That’s your best defense. It’s not your job to explain that the SEC won 11 of the last 15 national championships before NIL became a thing. You simply have to point out that Georgia and Alabama have players who are making big bucks through NIL.

Reference that Bryce Young made 7 figures before he started a game. You’re approaching this as a member of the proletariat and the SEC elite are the bourgeoisie. The goal is to make it seem like only the rich can win in this capitalist sport.

Vague is key here. When someone brings up “well, haven’t they been paying players for decades?” Change the topic. Talk about literally anything else.

“So faking injuries, huh? They should fix that.”

Watch the coaches telecast instead of the main broadcast

Because unlike the announcers, the coaches don’t have SEC bias and they just wanna talk ball.

Prepare 3 or 4 go-to Stetson Bennett IV jokes

Be original. If your only joke is “I guess the Mailman failed to deliver again,” there’s a fairly decent chance that you’ll get nothing more than that half-chuckle the congregation makes when the pastor attempts to tell a joke. You don’t want that. You want belly laughs. You want your friends/people you’re talking with to be impressed with your wit, even if the jokes are rehearsed.

So let me offer up a few starters for you to consider:

  • You’d think that with all of Georgia’s money, they could afford someone better than Cory Matthews to play quarterback.
  • Kirby Smart loves Stetson Bennett as much as the NCAA loves not doing a thing.
  • In the Year 2045, Nick Saban will still be winning national titles and Kirby Smart will still be starting Stetson Bennett instead of several 5-stars.

And in the event that Bennett leads the Dawgs to an offensive blitzkrieg, have this one in the holster, too:

  • Alabama can’t even stop Stetson Bennett? What in the Stephen Garcia is going on?

If you’ve run out of jokes by halftime, that’s on you. Try to keep it at 1 per quarter.

If Alabama wins, shout from the mountain tops that the SEC is Bama or bust

This is a key fallback if the Tide win title No. 7 in the Saban era. You can dismiss the SEC’s accomplishments by saying that the conference is just Alabama and everyone else. This is your opportunity to reference how weird it is that the rest of the SEC celebrates Alabama’s accomplishments and that any league would look dominant if it got to have the Tide in it.

Whatever you do, make sure that nobody even hints at this graphic about national championship appearances by conference in the 21st century:

There’s a good chance that by the time when this game inevitably ends after midnight, you can just throw out blanket statements that don’t have much factual backing. Odds are, nobody will fire back at such a claim with the fact that Ohio State is the only Big Ten team to make a national championship in the 21st century, or that it’s been 16 years since the Big 12 won a title and 17 years for the Pac-12.

Use Bama fatigue and real fatigue to your advantage.

Please, please, please have those TV ratings stat ready to justify your anti-SEC narrative

Nothing helps a narrative like TV ratings. They’re fantastic points of data for justifying why a system needs to be shaken up. If those national championship numbers dip from last year, it’s gotta be “because the title game was too regionalized.”

If those year-to-year numbers increase, there’s still a spin. “Everyone was scared about COVID so they stayed home and watched.” Or “ESPN probably just juiced the numbers to justify having 2 SEC teams in the title game.”

These are all fantastic, bulletproof arguments. You need to be able to react to whichever situation presents itself.

That’s really how you need to approach everything on Monday night. I suppose you can always not watch and instead pretend like you’re binging Succession with a pint of Cherry Garcia in your hand (that plays any night). But even if you are doing that, be honest. You’re still going to be refreshing Twitter and/or constantly checking the score. Might as well just lean into it and just watch the game.

Hopefully I’ve prepared you well, anti-SEC fan. You’re now equipped to be a wet blanket wherever you decide to watch another all-SEC national championship.

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