By Bob Hiller –
The Southeastern Conference (SEC) is the best football conference in the NCAA. Don’t believe me? Just ask their fans. They will regale you with stats and stories to prove to you that no team in the NCAA can keep up with them. Before I get too sarcastic, there is something to their argument. After all, the SEC produces more NFL talent than any other conference. They won seven, that’s right, seven straight championships from 2006-2013. The eyeball test alone will tell that the games between top level SEC teams are the best in college sports. The rivalries and storylines are fantastic. Each coach has a little bit of celebrity swag to his character. There really is a lot to be said for SEC football. They are the most dominant conference in college football.
Just not this year. At least, not when it counts.
For a conference that loves to boast of its superior talent and exceptional competition level, the 2014 bowl season was not great for them. Seven SEC teams were ranked in the Top 25 this year and only two of them won their respective bowl game. Granted, of the twelve total teams they sent to bowl games, seven of them won, it is far from the dominance that one comes to expect from the SEC. That is all looks pretty good when you look at the percentages; there is just one glaring problem: one of those losses was by Alabama (the SEC’s belle of the ball) in a semi-final matchup against Ohio State, leaving Alabama and the SEC out of the national championship.
That’s right, the most dominant conference in college football will not be able to dominate in the championship game. They won’t be there because their best team lost to an Ohio State team who, according to the opinion of many, shouldn’t have even been playing in that game. Two other colleges (Baylor and TCU) deserved to play in the first NCAA playoff, but for one reason or another, Ohio State was given the chance. They proved their worth by defeating the NCAA’s Goliath and earning their place to be trounced by Oregon come Monday.
The best team in the best conference in all of college football has fallen…and I loved every second of it. Though I still think the SEC really is the best conference, their hubris becomes obnoxious after a while. They tend to schedule games against significantly inferior schools in an effort to bolster their records and positions in the rankings. Then they boast of their dominance for the mighty tend to have an incredible amount of arrogance. They don’t ever think they can lose. So, when an inferior team actually gets the best of the dominant team, it feels like things are made right. Justice is served.
There is something delightful about watching the mighty fall in sports, there is something eschatological about it as well. The SEC really is the best conference; but when it counts, on the Day of Judgment if you will, their collective dominance leads to nothing but shame. All the work to win a championship and prove their worth looks like a waste of time. For many, the Last Day will be like that.
We live in a world where mighty nations exert their dominance by crushing the weak. The rich gain wealth off of the poor. Some even in the church capitalize on breaking bruised reeds and snuffing out smoldering wicks. The weak, the broken, and the sinful are ostracized, manipulated, or left in the fringes. Nations, companies, and churches buy into the idea that they are to win at all costs, dominate their culture, make a name for themselves. Anything or anyone who would bring them down simply gets cut from the team. Though they abuse their power government, business, and religion prove to be the most dominant forces in the world.
Just not when it counts.
Because, “the One enthroned in heaven laughs; the Lord scoffs at them.” (Psalm 2:4) Like the SEC, their dominance will come to an end. On the Day of Judgment, God will look on the power hungry, idolatrous kingdoms and institutions of this world and dash them to pieces like pottery (Psalm 2:9). All those who have mistreated Christ’s bride by using her as a means of selfish gain will see their works of dross caught up in the flames of the Bridegroom’s wrath. The mighty will fall. All the work and time and energy they spent proving their worth and making a name for themselves will look like a grand waste of time. Justice will be served.
See, on that day, the One who came as the weakest of all mankind, who submitted himself to unrighteous authorities, who was willingly brought down by the weak and marginalized of this world, to the point that He died for them, He will come with power and glory to judge the living and the dead. And those who have suffered under the abusive power found in these dominant forces will see their Savior coming to set them free once and for all. And they will be made to bask in the glory of Christ’s victory over the grave! The weak will be made strong and the last shall be first.
This is the promise for you who have labored long under this world’s sinful forces. Even now, you have the word of Christ declaring you, though you are weak in the eyes of the world, to be a child of the almighty God. St. Paul goes so far as to say that you are already reigning with Christ in the heavenly realms. That is, the victory is yours in Christ Jesus. Far from exerting His dominance over you in your weakness, He has made your weakness His own and given you a seat alongside Him in glory.
Like the dominance of the SEC, the powers of this world will see their glory come to an end. Though in the meantime they will continue to boast in their glory and achievements, God will only continue to laugh. When it counts, He will dash all their worldly efforts to pieces. The mighty will fall. But, not so for you. Blessed are you who are weak, lowly, and found to be taking refuge in Him. For you mercy will be served, and you will rule with Christ for all eternity.