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Brandon Evans - No doubt SEC is best in football

Down here in Georgia, it's easy to find people who agree that the SEC is the strongest conference in college football.

But travel outside the friendly confines of the Southeast and you'll find many people who feel very differently about that statement.

However, the 2007-08 bowl season has left little doubt about which conference is the best on the gridiron.

The SEC sent nine teams to bowl games this year - more than any other conference - and went 7-2 overall.

I particularly enjoyed the throttling that Georgia put on Hawaii - the only undefeated team entering the bowl season.

Even the SEC's two bowl losses can be put into perspective.

Arkansas lost to a very good Missouri team, one that was ranked No. 1 two weeks before bowl season began. Arkansas also played without its head coach and teams playing with interim head coaches during the bowls went a combined 1-3. Meanwhile, Florida played a Michigan team that played its heart out in a final tribute to Coach Lloyd Carr.

Did I mention LSU won the BCS title game, destroying Ohio State in a manner that evoked a little deja vu?

Keep sending teams from the 'Little 10' against the SE-speed and you'll find the same result year-in and year-out.

Now let's look at the other conferences and how they performed in the bowls.

The Pac 10 finished the bowl season at 4-2 with the most decisive win coming Jan. 1 in the Rose Bowl as Southern California demolished Illinois - a team that never should have been there.

Oregon knocked off South Florida, Oregon State beat Maryland and California beat Air Force to claim the Pac 10's other three wins. Some were impressive, some were not. The Pac 10's two losses belonged to UCLA and Arizona State.

Now to the Big 10, which went an abysmal 3-5. Michigan did beat last year's national champion in Florida. However, only Purdue, Penn State and Michigan State were able to earn bowl wins.

Then there's the Big 12 - probably the second best conference this year behind the SEC. Oklahoma, Texas, Missouri, Texas Tech and Oklahoma State all earned wins, moving the Big 12's bowl mark to 5-3.

The rest of the conferences can't even join the debate.

The Mountain West finished 4-1. Utah, BYU, New Mexico and TCU all gathered wins, but do those teams really merit bragging rights with wins over obviously inferior competition?

The ACC? Are you kidding? It finished 2-6.

The Big East? Try again. It went 3-2.

Look at it this way: Every year, bowl season pits the top competition against the SEC in bowl games, and up until this year, the SEC hasn't delivered the way it should - at least not in the form of bowl wins and losses.

This year, however, the SEC came through with flying colors.

So, feel free to say the SEC is the best football conference at any watering hole from Miami to Seattle and know that this time you have the facts to back it up.

Sports writer Brandon Evans can be reached at brandon.evans@rockdalecitizen.com