So now we know what "SEC" really stands for.
Smothering Enthusiasm Constantly.
This after the league fined Mississippi State, Mississippi, Auburn and Missouri for violating either the league's "field access" policy, or, in Mississippi State's case, the league's artificial noisemaker policy.
Because, you know, it's football, people. God knows we wouldn't want to have any excess noise.
In Mississippi State's case it was for the use of cowbells, a Starkville tradition that the SEC has actually approved, it being a tradition and all. What got the SEC's back up, however, was the fact that Mississippi State fans were apparently ringing the cowbells at times that had not been approved.
Unless they're ringing then during the National Anthem, what does that mean?
Memo to the stuffed shirts who run the SEC: It's a football game, you dopes. It's not opera. Sure, the cowbells are annoying, but so what? Again, it's a football game.
Same goes for the rushing-the-field fines laid down. I'm as on board as anyone with the notion that the whole rushing-the-field thing (or court, in basketball) has gotten out of hand. But one of the transgressors, Auburn, is being fined $5,000 because its fans rushed the field after that astounding finish in the Iron Bowl. Good lord, if you're not gonna rush the field after that, when are you?
It was an absolutely appropriate response, given the circumstances -- Auburn beating arch-rival Alabama on a play you won't see twice in 50 years, and locking up a berth in the BCS title game. Yet the killjoys at the SEC would have preferred a moment or two of reverent silence, I suppose, at the blessings bestowed upon the masses by Saint Football.
This is exactly the sort of attitude on display every week in the NFL, and it springs from the same motivation: That the game is not just a game anymore but Entertainment and a Business Model, and so an element of corporate decorum must all times be observed.
The lack of that the mindset has always made the college game more appealing than the pro version, with its anal retentive wardrobe regulations and assorted other anti-fun edicts. But the college game is now as corporate and professional an enterprise as the pro game, much to its detriment.
If you doubted that before, doubt it no longer. The SEC just confirmed it loud and clear.
But not, of course, too loud and clear.