Let's say Cam Newton represents the SEC in this picture. Now let's say this picture was taken by the conference that follows the closest behind. Yeah, the SEC's running away from the pack right now.
You don't need some SB Nation writer to tell you who runs college football right now. The league with the most depth, talent and passion has laid claim to the past six BCS National Championships, all won in convincing fashion.
It all began with Florida's 41-14 route of heavily-favored Big Ten champion Ohio State in 2006, followed by a 38-24 LSU win over the Buckeyes in 2007. The SEC showed they could beat more than Ohio State when Florida defeated Oklahoma 24-14 in 2008. The SEC once again victimized the Big 12 in 2009 when Alabama beat Texas 37-21 at the Rose Bowl. 2010 saw the Auburn win the title 22-19 over Pac-10 (now Pac-12) champion Oregon. So with the Big Ten, Big 12 and Pac-10/12 vanquished, the BCS finally found a way to get an SEC team to lose the BCS Title Game in 2011 -- by pitting two SEC teams against each other. Bama won over LSU 21-0, and this all-SEC title tilt only showed that not only is the rest of the country failing to catch up to the SEC, but they're only farther behind than they already were.
So, the only question now is... when will it end? Seriously, this can't last forever. Somebody's bound to win the title and also have a good basketball team... in other words, somebody outside of the SEC has to win it all at some point. This article takes a look at the conferences primed and ready to knock off Emperor Slive and the SEC.
In terms of the 2012 season, I don't think anyone outside of the SEC will win the title. The SEC is loaded this year (as always), as Arkansas, LSU and Georgia are all primed for a BCS National Championship run, with Auburn, Alabama and South Carolina falling in the darkhorse category. My early champions are the Arkansas Razorbacks, though this prediction could change from now to Fall.
However, if there is any conference primed to beat the SEC in Miami this year, it has to be the Pac-12. Sure, this isn't a strong conference from top to bottom, but Oregon and USC are primed to be two of the best teams in the country this season. Oregon may lose starting QB Darron Thomas, but new QB Bryan Bennett is probably even better than Thomas. LaMichael James is gone, but DeAnthony Thomas has the potential to be the best player Chip Kelly's had at Oregon. All in all, this may be the best Oregon team Chip Kelly's had. USC is back in the bowl picture, and with Heisman candidate Matt Barkley and a great corp of WRs, USC is also a national title contender, even though Lane Kiffin is their coach.
The Big Ten lacks a true national title contender outside of the Michigan Wolverines, who face a tough task, opening against Alabama. I doubt the Big Ten will find any way to knock the SEC off its perch.
The Big 12 is also primed (though not as much as the Pac-12). Oklahoma should be good with Landry Jones at QB, even if their defense can't stop a cold... or a Tommy Tuberville offense in their own stadium. West Virginia could compete for the BCS title in their first year in the league, as they have a great home schedule (including at home against Oklahoma). Geno Smith is a legit Heisman contender and the Mountaineers could surprise a lot of folks this year. I can't buy into this team yet, though, because WVU is notorious for competing for a title then choking somewhere along the line.
The ACC... well, they're not going to stop the SEC, that's for sure. Cheer up, ACC... at least you're not the Big East.
All in all, the only league that could threaten the SEC this season is the Pac-12, led by the Ducks and Trojans. When the dust settles in Miami, Florida, however, expect an SEC team to be holding up the league's 7th straight Coaches' Trophy.