It’s Thanksgiving and you know what that means. Plenty of turkey, your aunt’s “famous” casserole that slightly grosses you out, and football.
Growing up, Thanksgiving in my family was dominated by deep, often heated conversations about SEC football. Voices would rise, opinions would be shared, and a few tempers would flare — and we were all for the same team! Throw in some beverages and Aunt Muriel’s famous green bean casserole (really just gobs of cream of mushroom soup, canned green beans, and crumbled Ritz crackers on top) and you had a recipe for a memorable holiday.
I suspect football will play a role in your family’s Thanksgiving, as well, so let’s reflect on our fortune as fans of the finest football conference in the land. Let’s give thanks for Southeastern Conference football and count the ways in which the SEC offers the best of what’s around:
Starting with the obvious, let’s be thankful that the game of football is indisputably played at a superior level in the SEC. Just look at this week’s BCS standings, which feature LSU, Alabama, and Arkansas ranked 1 through 3, respectively. It’s been ages since teams from the same conference occupied the top three spots in the rankings, and it’s the first time in history those teams come from the same division, in this case the dominant SEC West. Do you really want to join this division, Texas A&M?
Let’s give thanks that the SEC is on its way to claiming a sixth straight national championship. The BCS title game could even be an all-SEC affair. Fans of SEC teams attending the title game have long chanted “SEC, SEC!” before, during, and after the game. Imagine that cheer this year if, for example, LSU and Alabama square off again in the Crescent City. The entire Superdome could cheer “SEC, SEC!” in unison, and it’s probably the only thing the fans could agree on: SEC football is king.
Let’s give thanks that the loudest, most intimidating stadiums are in the SEC. I’ll take 85,000 screaming Auburn fans in Jordan-Hare over 110,000 subdued daytimers in Michigan’s “Big House” every time.
Let’s give thanks that SEC college towns feature some of the best Southern cuisine, which by default makes it some of the best food in the nation. Give me some fried catfish from Taylor Grocery in Oxford, a roast beef po-boy from Pastime in Baton Rouge, pulled pork and boiled peanuts from Jot ‘Em Down Barbecue in Athens, and just about anything from the Tomato Head in Knoxville.
And what would down-home SEC food be without cold beer? Thankfully, by far the coldest beer in the country is from the SEC. An obscure law on the books of most Southeastern Conference states requires all beer-serving establishments to chill the frothy beverage to 33 degrees.
Okay, that last one is made up, but it seems like it should be true.
Let’s give thanks that the SEC has the prettiest campuses in the nation, and I’m not talking about pretty architecture.
Let’s give thanks for the pride, athleticism, pageantry, and way of life that is SEC football.
By the way, I’ll take Alabama over Auburn, LSU over Arkansas, Mississippi State over Ole Miss, Florida over Florida State, Georgia over Georgia Tech, Kentucky over Tennessee, South Carolina over Clemson, and Vanderbilt over Wake Forest to cap off the regular season.
Happy Thanksgiving and best of luck to your SEC team. Meanwhile, my Aunt Muriel just walked in with her famous green bean casserole. Yum.
Ben Prevost is a contributing columnist for The Times. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.