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Only parity SEC sees is parity behind Alabama

From ESPN - July 17, 2017

HOOVER, Ala. -- For as mundane and, frankly, flat as this year's edition of SEC media days were, Alabama head coach Nick Saban served up a comment that when looked at in the right context should serve as an elephant-sized gut punch to the league.

In a moment in which some thought the 65-year-old Saban had either lost his marbles or was hinting at a future in bad stand-up comedy, Saban offered this compliment to the rest of the SEC.

"I have a tremendous amount of respect for a lot of teams in our league," Saban said. "I am trying to think of somebody in our league that I do not have a tremendous amount of respect for. ... I think there's a lot of parity in our league. I think it's very challenging from a consistency standpoint in our league.

"So I have tremendous amount of respect, and I do not see us being any different than anybody else when it comes to the challenges of preparation and getting ready to play really good teams that we have a tremendous amount of respect for."

It was a nice try at lifting up a group that's eons away from him and his program -- he even threw in how young his team is! -- but it carried little weight in a big room of media minds. Saban might be trying to insinuate that teams are a lot closer to the top -- where his team sits comfortably -- but that is not remotely true.

There is parity, yes, but only behind Saban and his Crimson Tide. No, teams in the league do not prepare, develop or build the same way Alabama does. That's why the league is a one-team league and the gap is so big right now that it almost seems foolish to even think about picking someone besides Alabama to win the conference as long as Saban is coaching in Tuscaloosa.

"The consistency of that program over the years did not come overnight," said Texas A&M coach Kevin Sumlin, who is 1-4 against Saban's Tide during his time with the Aggies. "I think people understand that. But you ca not argue that that is the mark, and that's where everybody wants to be.

"You can win a lot of games in the West, and that one can take its toll on you. I think it took its toll on us the last couple of years, matter of fact."

Alabama takes its toll on everyone. In the last three seasons, the Tide have owned the league, winning 25 of 27 games against SEC opponents. The only SEC West opponent to beat Alabama since Auburn's magical kick-six win in 2013 is Ole Miss (twice) and the SEC East is 0-9.

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