ATLANTA -- While we count down the days until college football has a real playoff in 2014, leave it to the SEC to once again stage its own play-in game this season.
Consider it an appetizer for what the whole scene will look like two years from now, when four teams play it off on the field for that coveted crystal trophy.
The SEC championship game has long been a precursor for the BCS National Championship Game, which carries great irony. When former SEC commissioner Roy Kramer, the father of the BCS, came up with the idea of a league championship game more than two decades ago, coaches in the SEC liked the idea about as much as they liked the idea of boosters and media members sitting in on their coaching meetings.
The general consensus among SEC coaches at the time was that a league championship game would kill their chances of competing for a national championship.
In unison, coaches all asked the same question: We're going to beat up on each other all season, try to make it through the league unscathed, then have to win another game against a league foe to win the SEC championship?
Yep, that was the plan, and it has worked out just swimmingly for the SEC, which is poised to play for its seventh consecutive national championship.