The dominance of the South-Eastern Conference was in question after their 7-year streak of consecutive national championships came to an end in 2013 by Florida State. In the first year of the college playoffs, the SEC was not represented in the National Championship as Ohio State and Oregon faced off. This brought up talk about dominance was beginning to fade.
Three years into the new playoff system and Alabama has competed in two of the three playoff championship games, winning one. Alabama leads the nation while the rest of the SEC, even the stronger West division, fall behind the giant that is Nick Saban and the Crimson Tide.
When Saban came to Alabama in 2007, the SEC was as dominant as ever. The SEC had six teams in the top 25 and had won two National Championships, starting their 7-year streak of wins. The coaches at the time were Urban Meyer at Florida, Steve Spurrier at South Carolina, Mark Richt at Georgia and Les Miles at LSU. With the addition of Saban to Alabama and Bobby Petrino to Arkansas, the SEC was stacked with some of the greatest minds in college football. As Saban and the Tide began to climb to the top, he competed with these coaches and soon began to dominate these teams along with anyone they played. This caused teams like LSU, Florida, Auburn and Georgia reach a higher level of play and become some of the best teams in the nation.
During the seven-year win streak, Alabama accounted for three of those championships. Also in this span of time, 22 coaches had departed from the SEC. In 2010 Urban Meyer left Florida. In 2011 Bobby Petrino was fired. In 2014 Will Muschamp was fired. Steve Spurrier retired in the middle of the 2015 season. After a 9-3 season Mark Richt was dismissed in 2015. In the middle of the season in 2016 Les Miles was fired. Other teams in the SEC could not compete on a recruiting level with Alabama. This led to the firing of certain coaches in hopes of change. Urban Meyer went onto Ohio State to become a dominant name in college football. Bobby Petrino went onto Louiville who, currently, has one of the fastest offenses in the nation. Mark Richt moved to Miami and is ranks high in most college football polls. Other teams benefitted from the SEC’s revolving door of head coaches, like 4th ranked Penn State, who acquired Head Coach James Franklin from Vanderbilt. These SEC schools intended to compete with the likes of Nick Saban but ultimately took steps backwards by firing many great coaches in college football. In 2017, many of these SEC teams struggle by, while Alabama plays as dominant as ever. To say that Nick Saban is the reason that the SEC became so dominant would be somewhat true, but as the years went on it became less of the SEC era and more of the Saban era.