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Episode 158 – A not so Happy New Year for the SEC?

Alabama's Sugar Bowl loss to Ohio State was a tough one for the SEC.

I started to keep track of conference bowl records during the 2011-2012 bowl season, and the SEC has always been the top performer among the conferences. The SEC went 6-3 in bowl games that season, with an asterisk because I ended up counting a win for Alabama over LSU as a loss for LSU in the conference total. It was a bizarre situation that I just simply was not sure how to handle in my first year doing this. The SEC trailed just the Big 12 in terms of winning percentage (Big 12 was 6-2), but it was clear the SEC was in a league of its own with both spots filled in the BCS National Championship Game. A string of BCS titles certainly helped that cause.

The SEC had more bowl wins and another BCS national title the following season and went an impressive 7-3 despite seeing its BCS title streak snapped last season. When Auburn was topped by Florida State for the BCS National Championship, the idea the SEC was unbeatable was shattered, if not simply cracked. This past season saw plenty of hype and expectations the SEC would dominate the first season of the College Football Playoff. The talk about SEC bias ran rampant at times, but the bowl season seemed to cool the idea the SEC was the most dominant force in the land, if that idea had not already been put to rest.

Make no mistake about it, the SEC is still a conference full of talent on the field and on the sidelines and coaches boxes. The SEC may not win a national title for a second straight season, and the mightiest of teams from the SEC West may have fallen flat in the postseason, but the SEC is still a force to reckon with in college football. It’s not going anywhere, and it sure is not going to roll over and die easily either. Anyone who thinks that is the case is mistaken, but it is entirely fair to suggest the gap between the SEC and other powers from top conferences has continued to close. Ohio State and TCU showed that.

But what are we supposed to say about the SEC now? Where is the conference going in 2015? Will we be able to trip over preseason hype for the SEC over the course of the offseason? To help shed some perspective on the current state of the SEC I asked one of the best at covering the conference to join me on the first podcast of the new year.

Barrett Sallee is my guest on the podcast in this episode, the first of 2015. Sallee is the lead SEC writer and video analyst for Bleacher Report. You can also hear him as a co-host of The College Football Hangover on Bleacher Report Radio (Sundays from 9am to 11 am eastern) on Sirius 93 and XM 208.

Follow Barrett Sallee on Twitter @BarrettSallee. You can also follow Bleacher Report’s college football content on Twitter @BR_CFB and Bleacher Report Radio @BR_Radio.

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About the Author

Kevin McGuire
Contributor to College Football Talk on NBCSports.com. Also a contributor to Athlon Sports and The Comeback. Member of Football Writers Association of America and National Football Foundation. Follow on Twitter @KevinOnCFB.