It is only fitting that the Southeastern Conference kick off the 2018 college football season among the big boys with the first media day(s) in a few weeks.

Let’s get real,  the engine that drives college football is in the South. Alabama, Clemson and, last year, Georgia, crashed the party. Alabama and Clemson have staged a challenge match for the national championship the past few years. Throw in Auburn LSU and FSU and you have a Southern block party, with only Ohio State pushing its way to the top in recent years.

Before the howls come from the Midwest, where Michigan, Ohio State, Wisconsin, Penn State and Michigan State have made lots of noise the past few seasons, there can be no denying the cultural importance of college football in the south.

And there will be some guests from the Big 12 making appearances.

But other than that, there isn’t much.

The Pac-12?  Sorry. after Washington, it’s an empty sea.

Notre Dame?  Nope?

The East?  Outside of Penn State,  it would be easier to find a Trump supporter at MSNBC.

No other region of the country comes close in the level and interest in college football, although the ACC with Clemson, FSU and now maybe Miami is creating a few ripples.

But the SEC still rules. As my friend, Sugar Bowl CEO Paul Hoolahan once said when asked if he was worried about getting a good match up for his game, “Why should I worry I’ve got Secretariat (meaning the SEC champion, which has also included Alabama on many occasions).

That, was, of course, back in the wild days when bowls made match ups and bowl executives made back room deals.

With the CFB playoff system its much more defined.

The CFB championship game will be in Santa Clara, Calif. next January, but if there is any thing which seems certain as we get ready to rumble for the next six months, it is that the game will have a southern flavor.

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Alabama and Clemson are again flirting with dynasty status, but that, of course, is open to debate. What seems more certain is the dominance of Alabama, Clemson, Ohio State and Oklahoma, who have won 12 of the last 16 national championships…..How good will Clemson’s defensive front be this season? The Tigers are projected as having all four of their defensive lineman as first-round National Football League draft picks next spring…The SEC might be college football’s strongest league, but the pressure to succeed is also enormous, which is one of the reasons why the SEC will have an eye-opening six new coaches this fall….Conversely, there is the Pac-12, which is looking for its first CFB playoff WIN since 2014….Coaching salaries are spiking again. Jimbo Fisher signed a 75 million dollar ten-year deal with Texas A&M, Scott Frost is getting $25 million over seven years at Nebraska and Alabama is paying Nick Saban slightly more than 11 million dollars this season.  But the assistant’s scale is also increasing. Five Georgia assistant coaches make more than $825,000 and South Carolina is paying defensive coordinator Travarais Robinson $1.2 million. The rest of this article is available to subscribers only – to become a subscriber click here.