Don't hate, congratulate: The SEC has already won ... again

Congratulations are in order as the SEC won another national championship Monday night.

The only detail to be determined is which team will take home the College Football Playoff trophy. For the second time in seven years, the Strength Everywhere Conference is guaranteed to have a champion before the championship game is even played.

How's that for drama?

Alabama and Georgia will play for it all in a game that has been played 67 times previously but not since 2015 and never, of course, in the College Football Playoff.

How's that for drama?

The conference that has its own network and definitely its own attitude has a guaranteed title before we tee it up next Monday in Atlanta.

Don't say you weren't warned. We all knew an all-SEC final was a possibility. It remains a reminder of what's already accomplished. The conference has already clinched its ninth championship in 12 years.

Georgia survived Oklahoma in double-overtime. Alabama smoked defending national champion and recent rival Clemson by double digits in a rubber match of the last two national title games.

The kings of the ACC and Big 12 are dead. Long live the kings of college football.

And folks thought Dabo Swinney was getting ready to launch a dynasty? Alabama won the best two-out-of-three from Clemson. The coach of the second-place team in the SEC West (Nick Saban) is trying to win his sixth national championship, all since 2009.

That is … after winning his first national championship as the coach of the second-place SEC West team in 2011.

Georgia has been forced to wait a bit longer -- 37 years to be exact, since Herschel Walker's ran the Dawgs to a title in 1980.

Yeah, it's getting old, but what are you going to do about it? The CFP has arranged what the SEC could not -- at least on a regular basis. Georgia and Alabama have met only three times in the regular season since 2007.

The real winner? Those who sell unleaded. The contest is a virtual home game for Georgia, which is only 70 miles from Mercedes-Benz Stadium. Tuscaloosa, Alabama, is a mere three-hour jaunt to Atlanta.

If you're sick of the SEC being shoved down your throat, try being Oklahoma or Clemson. The Sooners were up 17 points and were gashed by the Bulldog Bros., Sony Michel and Nick Chubb.

Clemson couldn't get into double figures on what is -- to put it charitably -- Nick's third-best defense he has had at Bama. But don't bet against the guy in the postseason. He is now 6-1 in BCS/CFP games.

Chose your storyline:

  • Kirby Smart knew the day would come. A meeting with his old boss was inevitable, but it comes next Monday, 27 games into Smart's stay at Georgia. Smart and Saban combined to craft four championships at Alabama. Saban is 11-0 all-time against his former assistants.
  • Speaking of Saban, another title would tie him with a certain Bear Bryant for the all-time lead with six. At age 66, Saban would then have a few more years to break the Bear's mark.
  • Georgia's Jake Fromm can become the first true freshman quarterback to win a national championship in 32 years.
  • Alabama's Jalen Hurts left the field with lead late last year against Clemson. The Bama defense coughed it up. The offensive MVP of Monday's Sugar Bowl semifinal can seal the deal and get his first title as a sophomore.
  • Las Vegas has to know something: It's still amazing the Tide were favored to win the CFP the day before they were actually in the CFP.
  • It will be really interesting to see how Joe Six Pack views this game. The last time SEC teams met for the title, the nation's viewers were mostly bored. LSU-Alabama II in the 2012 BCS title underachieved ratings-wise and eventually led to expansion and the CFP.
  • UCF-soon-to-be-Nebraska coach Scott Frost made his play for a playoff berth. He may have had a point. His Knights beat the team (Auburn) that beat Alabama for the right to play for the SEC title.

Should it matter? Alabama goes in as a four-point favorite. With a new offensive coordinator (Brian Daboll), Hurts is just as good as he was under the old OC (Lane Kiffin).

That makes Bama a bit more diversified with a stable of tailbacks five deep. Georgia has the home-field advantage. Alabama will win the game.

Start the chant, anyway. "S-E-C, S-E-C." The Strength Everywhere Conference has already won.  

CBS Sports Senior Writer

Dennis Dodd has covered college football for CBS Sports since it was CBS SportsLine in 1998. He is one of only seven media members to attend all 16 BCS title games and has chronicled conference realignment... Full Bio

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