Re: Last 5 years in the SEC
It's been sort of a bittersweet experience for me: many say that USC has experienced it's greatest success while the SEC-East has been unusually down. I would say that assessment is true to a point: while it's rare that there have been past seasons with all 3 of the Big Three being down simultaneously, there have been many years that 1 or even 2 of them were mediocre (7-9 win seasons), but they always managed to beat us, just the same.
I say, "who cares?" Those 3 teams never bothered over beating USC who usually was down for decades. USC has had many seasons that could - SHOULD - have been better than it's records, but weren't because IMO our teams and community didn't believe in itself. So WHY NOT take advantage of some down years of our top division rivals, if it means establishing a higher standard of competing and winning that can carry over throughout the program for decades afterwards? That's why a lot of those 7-9 win UGA, UF, and UT teams in the past kept beating USC: they did it before, so they believed they could do it again. Back then, USC didn't have that faith. It does now...
But the bitter-sweetness comes in the fact that we haven't taken the fullest advantage and captured a SEC title or two. I'd hate to see UF and UT figure things out and return to being major conference players, and USC still hasn't won the SEC, or at least gotten more opportunities to try for it in Atlanta. The iron is hot - we need to keep striking at it....