After a meeting with the Southeastern Conference Board of Governors on Tuesday in a smoke-filled room at an undisclosed Destin location, SEC commissioner Greg Sankey and Alabama coach Nick Saban hopped on a private jet and emerged in Birmingham for a press conference that will change the way fans view SEC football from now on. At that press conference, Sankey handed Saban the SEC Title Belt, a new championship that will be defended each time the champion takes the field in an SEC contest.
"Given the fact that we have gone two seasons without a national championship, we felt that the national title had lost some of its luster," Sankey said. "That is why we created a new title. This is our title. This is the SEC's title, and for most of the year, it will be the only one that matters."
Many fans immediately wondered if this was real. "I just cannot believe they would up and do this out of thin air," said one SEC fan. "Are you sure this is real."
Another fan said it sounded as if this was less than legit. "I'll believe it when I see Saban running out with a title on the field," the unnamed fan said.
Not phased by the doubt, Saban explained how he told his team to hang in there after the loss to Ohio State to close 2014.
"One thing about championship teams is that they're resilient," Saban said. "No matter what is thrown at them, no matter how deep the hole, they find a way to bounce back and overcome adversity. As I hold this championship, I think we have proven that. Something good had to happen after those ritual sacrifi.....uh, you know, next question."
Sankey, looking slightly disturbed at this point, said awarding the title to Alabama was an easy choice given they had won the SEC championship. However, noted Auburn enthusiast Tammy from Clanton, Alabama, disagreed in a passionate call to the Paul Finebaum show.
"Funny how they can't award it in a year after we win the championship, isn't it," said Tammy. " PAWWWWWWWWL, how can anyone agree with this decision. It was stupid. Let me tell you something. This is nothing but cheating. All any of you want to talk about is Alabama, Alabama, Alabama. Auburn will always be No. 1 in my book! WARDAMNEAGLE!"
A few minutes later, passionate Alabama fan Phyllis called the show. "PAWWWWWWL, ALL I CAN SAY IS ROLLDAMNTIDE!"
In Oxford, The Network called a special executive session to deliver a proclamation that Ole Miss should retroactively claim a run with the SEC Title Belt because they defeated Alabama in a game in the season before the Tide had the title awarded to them.
"This just adds to the legacy started by Johnny Vaught and continued today by Hugh Freeze," said an unnamed Network executive.
When asked about the disparaging comments about being awarded the title, Saban seemed dismissive.
"Mediocre people don't like high achievers, and high achievers don't like mediocre people," said Saban.
Immediately, pundits from various outlets weighed in on the odds of teams winning the SEC Title Belt at some point in the future.
"I just don't know about some teams," said Kirk Herbstriet. "I just don't see a way that Vanderbilt wins that title before 2050."
Bleacher Report immediately posted an article called The Six Reasons Mississippi State Will not Win the Title: The Rest of the SEC West. In a bit of a positive light, the article did mention that if Missouri could claim the title this year, the Bulldogs might could lift it off of them.
At the end of the day, Sankey said the SEC Title Belt was about making the SEC more fun to watch on television and in person.
"Having a title defended every weekend in the SEC makes for a better experience for the fans," said Sankey. "Any game in which the title will be defended will automatically become must watch television for the weekend."
In response to fans fearing the SEC Title Belt will cause a loss of tradition, Sankey reminded them that there will still be an SEC championship game at the end of the season.
Alabama will first defend the SEC TItle Belt against Ole Miss at Bryant-Denny Stadium on September 19. If Alabama wins, Georgia would get the next title shot, but should Ole Miss win, that championship shot would go to Vanderbilt.