The bowl season for the SEC gets underway today with Vandy and LSU playing their respective bowl games against ACC opponents. The bowl season always seems to bring up an eternal debate: to cheer for the other members of your conference or to cheer the defeat of your rivals? Most Southerners choose the former, whether out of a sense of regional solidarity or conference pride.
It is tempting to toe the conference line. After all, you want the people you beat and the teams that beat you to look as strong as possible. This, the argument goes, reflects well on you. You beat the strong and the stronger beat you. Any team from another conference with a similar record would not have fared as well if they had to play your schedule of heavyweights. To me, this argument makes no sense.
If Florida wins the BCS Bowl, how exactly, does that in any way help Georgia? How does it help us if any SEC team wins their bowl game? These are the teams we compete with for talent and resources. A win for a rival isn't good for us, it's good for them. There is no reflective glory in college football. Do you think UPS wishes FedEx well? No way. Why should we cheer for South Carolina or Alabama or any other SEC or ACC team?
There is an exception this year. LSU. Geaux Tigers.