I have to come clean. I’m moderately envious of the SEC’s two newest members. The quality of football and passion of the region are unlike any other conferences in the country. It’d be nice, as a fan, to be a part of that scene. However, the fruits of your new conference affiliation come at a price, and it can be a hefty one. It won’t always be an enjoyable experience, so it would behoove you to be as prepared as possible. To maximize the enjoyment of your new southeastern endeavor, follow my 4-point plan. This list is directed at not only fans of these programs, but the teams, as well.
1. Fuck a Team Up ASAP
Everyone’s heard that old prison adage about fucking someone up the first day behind bars to earn the respect of your prison mates and keep the more physically imposing guys at bay. It usually involves blindsiding someone during recess with a clothesline, then unloading on his rib cage while he’s on the ground. The key is to do it where everyone can see it. The same concept applies here. It’d be best to choose a nationally televised game, because you want as many eyes to catch it as possible. Just make sure it’s an SEC opponent, though. It will have to be an inferior program like Kentucky or Vandy, but they’re in the club, so it counts just the same. But look, if you find yourselves up big late in the game, pile that shit on.
I’m talking about the football equivalent of a shower shanking, spilling his guts all over the floor. Leave your starters in. Throw the ball deep. Commit personal fouls. Talk trash. Humiliate them and run the score up. You’ll receive some negative press, but you’ll be announcing your SEC presence with authority. And after the hurt feelings have subsided, respect will follow.
Check the tread on your tires and change the oil; it’s about time to start pounding the pavement. The Big 12 is likely the conference that ranks dead last in travel destinations: Ames, Manhattan, Lubbock, Norman, Stillwater, Waco. I mean what the fuck, right? Now, SEC campuses aren’t exactly located in lavish metropolises, but they have some great college towns. Athens, Georgia is likely the best, so don’t pass on that one when given the opportunity. But the real reason travelling is a must is because of the tailgating.
SEC tailgating is basically a sport in and of itself, a sport among the fans. They take as much pride in their schools’ tailgating atmospheres as the players do in their games. The women are finer, as well. Don’t pass up a Baton Rouge tailgate. Thank me later.
3. Temper Expectations
Look here, you’re not in the Big 12 anymore. Instead of Kansas, you’re playing Georgia. Instead of Iowa State, you’re playing Arkansas. I know times were a little rough in the Big 12 where you enjoyed very little success, but you are about to take a step up in competition. That 92 MPH straight fastball is now 97 with cut, and you’re still the average, warning track-powered .278 hitter you were in triple A. Don’t yet aspire for conference titles. They are not in reach.
Enjoy the games and relish in the competition. Hard-fought losses are now wins. Expect less is all. The fall will hurt much less if you don’t allow yourselves to get too high. Plus, you can always cling onto coattails of your powerhouse conference members when shit turns south.
4. Scandal It Up
Nothing announces your SEC arrival quite like a good old-fashioned scandal. It can be recruiting related – leave a bag of cash on a prospect’s doorstep with your team logo on it. Will you get caught? Yeah, that’s the point. It can be a something team related – maybe a flurry of alcohol involved run-ins with law enforcement or some bar scene debauchery that draws national attention. It can even be something totally outlandish like going Updyke on another program – steal a mascot, shit in some endzone hedges during a game, chain a statue to the back of your pickup and go Saddam Hussein on it. Just make sure it makes national news. No half-measures.
You’ll be fine once the chatter dies down and legal debts to society are paid up. It’s not even looked down upon in that conference. Harvey Updyke is basically a celebrity in Tuscaloosa.
Lastly, remember that no matter how bad things get at times, you’re still better off than you were a year ago.
Follow me on Twitter @RogerDornTFM