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August 17, 2013

Can someone, anyone, please curtail SEC dominance?

ATLANTA — Can somebody — anybody! — please stand up to that bully down South.

The college football season hasn’t even started yet, but we already feel like we know the outcome.

The SEC is up here.

Everyone else is down here.

Frankly, it’s getting a little boring.

Sport requires drama, suspense, some degree of uncertainty to truly capture our attention.

In this sport, though, we’ve got the closest thing to a sure bet. Come January, we all know there’s likely to be another Southeastern Conference team standing in the middle of that confetti at the Rose Bowl, collecting the league’s eighth straight national title.

Once again, the SEC has an embarrassment of riches: the best offensive player (Texas A&M quarterback and Heisman Trophy winner Johnny Manziel), the best defensive player (South Carolina end Jadeveon Clowney), the best coach (Alabama’s Nick Saban), and — oh, yeah — the best team (Saban’s mighty Crimson Tide, winner of three crowns in the last four years and heavily favored to claim another).

Yawn.

For the good of college football, somebody needs to end this reign of terror.

Sure, dynasties are a whole lot of fun for those on the right side of history, but they’re not the best way to keep the rest of us engaged. It is surely no coincidence that average attendance this past season was down 1.3 percent from 2005, the last time a team not from the SEC finished No. 1, and a more troubling 3.3 percent from its record high in 2008.

In fact, last year’s turnout of 45,440 per game was the lowest for the NCAA’s top division since 2001. Even the folks in SEC country seem to have become a bit bored with all this winning, judging by a slight drop in average attendance each of the last two seasons and a more glaring number of no-shows at some big-time stadiums.

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