Bowl season confirms that SEC still has 'it'

Posted by ESPN.com's Chris Low

Results speak volumes. And when you've got it, you've got it.

For the third consecutive year, and the fourth time in the last six years, the SEC has it.

The "it" would be the BCS national championship trophy.

Above everything else that happened during the 2008 bowl season, it was confirmed once again that when it comes to playing for and winning college football's top prize, nobody is better than the SEC.

Florida's 24-14 victory over Oklahoma on Jan. 8 in the FedEx BCS National Championship Game was historic on a couple of different fronts. Most notably, it marked the first time a conference had produced three straight consensus national champions since 1940-42. Minnesota won in 1940 and 1941, while Ohio State won in 1942 -- giving the Big Ten three straight.

The Gators will be favored to repeat next season, so there's a chance it could be four in a row for the SEC.

While the SEC proved to be extremely strong at the top this season, Alabama's weak showing in a 31-17 Allstate Sugar Bowl loss to Utah was undoubtedly a body blow to the conference's pride. After all, the Crimson Tide spent all of November as the No. 1-ranked team in the country.

Making up for that loss, though, was Ole Miss' 47-34 blistering of No. 7-ranked Texas Tech in the AT&T Cotton Bowl. The Rebels ended the season on a six-game winning streak and also hold the distinction of being the only team to beat Florida.

South Carolina's halfhearted effort against Iowa in the Outback Bowl was embarrassing, but the SEC still finished 6-2 in bowl games.

Kentucky, LSU, Ole Miss and Vanderbilt all won their games as underdogs, and the Wildcats and Commodores each rallied in the fourth quarter to do so. Georgia's defense had an awakening of sorts in the Capital One Bowl and held Michigan State's Javon Ringer to 47 yards on 20 carries in a 24-12 win.

There's no getting around the fact that brutal seasons by Auburn and Tennessee dragged the league down some in 2008. But when it counted, in the postseason, the SEC flexed its collective muscle in vintage fashion.