Yes, SEC fans.
You've got the crowds.
You've got the traditions, where everyone but Jesus seems to do a walk or two before a game.
You've certainly got the tailgating.
But there's some aspects you guys could certainly expand and lead the way in the college football world.
1. Get more diverse. Like the rest of the NCAA, actually.
I know this sounds shocking, but since Buddy Croom quietly left Mississippi State, no-one's really talked about a possible black coach in the SEC. And there doesn't seem to be one on the horizon, either.
The VFA knows the Southeastern Conference isn't alone - the NCAA world of college football isn't exactly a poster child for diversity (three black coaches out of a possible 117= ouch!) and frankly needs to improve. But SEC Football has led the way in terms of football, why not give more black coaches or possible assistants a chance? According to a Bleacher Report report, only a smidgeon of African Americans are in assistants or co-ordinators.
2. Sort out the recruiting issues
A week doesn't seem to roll by when Tennessee's self-reporting a recruiting violation. Or bitching at the University of Florida. Georgia avoided one last year. Or there are other recruiting issues that darken the SEC's door that we don't know about - and quite frankly, don't want to. It's time to gather every coach together and read the schools the riot act before the NCAA does. Books like Meat Market haven't exactly given good PR to SEC coaches and their recruiting. And again, leading the way against the other conferences might go some way to resurrecting the SEC's reputation.
3. Improve the academics
In 2008, the SEC was bottom in the major conference graduation success rate list, with only 60.5% of teams' players graduating. Kudos to Vanderbilt (91%) and Florida (68%), while the rest of them really weren't a whole lot to smile about. Georgia's was a surprising 48%. What can be done to help SEC footballers put academics first. After all, one injury in the NFL and these players will soon realise why the NFL stands for "Not For Long". These kids need to graduate.
4. Cut out the crime
Although this column made plenty of jokes about Penn State football, it's been more than a little boring seeing the headline [ADD SEC SCHOOL'S NAME HERE] arrested". Urban Meyer's seen 22 of his players arrested. Alabama, Tennessee, LSU and Georgia have hardly been wonderful on that front in the past. It's even happened at the house of the Oxford plaid - Ole Miss. While it might be funny for journalists and haters of [ADD SEC SCHOOL'S NAME HERE] the disciplinary problems aren't just an embarassment, they may well turn into a liability. The people might say: "But who cares? Little Johnny Running Back's going to go into the NFL after he finishes college." He might well do, but if if he's been arrested 401 times, then he's probably got a better chance playing in front of the (guard) dogs in the pound, rather than the Dogg Pound, if you catch my drift.
That's really it.
Listen, SEC lovers, your conference is still one of the best - if not THE best - that college football has to offer. If you could graduate more players, get less people arrested, sort out the recruiting issues and hire a couple of black coaches you guys would be the truly envy of the college football world.