A new sports year is upon us.
My calendar does not go by the year (2019). It goes by the school year (2019-2020).
And who knows what to expect this school year.
I do know one thing for certain — the Southeastern Conference will once again be the league other leagues are jealous of and envy.
Alabama, Auburn, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, LSU, Mississippi, Mississippi State, Tennessee and Vanderbilt have been in the SEC since its formation in 1933.
The American adaptation of the English game rugby, called "football," drifted down from the East and Midwest.
Southerners were quickly attracted to this sport formalized in 1869.
The first football game in the Southeast was played April 9, 1880, on the ground now called Old Stoll Field at the University of Kentucky. Kentucky A&M (now UK) organized a team and in November 1881, played Transylvania College in a three-game series. By 1895, 11 current SEC members were playing football.
The league has expanded twice, adding Arkansas and South Carolina in 1991, then Missouri and Texas A&M in 2012.
Last year the SEC revolutionized the football fan experience in the Fall of 2018 with the implementation of a visible television timeout countdown clock on the field at all SEC football venues.
The infield display allowed fans, game officials and both teams to view the remaining time during each television commercial stoppage from anywhere in the stadium.
OK, it was not a big year for innovation.
Counting last year, SEC football has led the nation in football attendance for 21 consecutive seasons and has a nearly 10,000 per gem and 1.1 million overall edge over its next closest conference.
The SEC Championship Game between Alabama and Georgia saw its second-highest attendance in history last year and the most since 1993. Alabama defatted Georgia 35-28 before 77,141.
SEC baseball has led the nation in attendance 24 years in a row. Total attendance in 2019 surpassed 2.2 million and no other conference reached the one million mark.
SEC women’s basketball has led the nation in attendance four years in a row.
Football has been the most dominant when it comes to the national champion.
There have been 24 national champions from the SEC.
Alabama won the title in 2009, 2011, 2012, 2015 and 2017.
Auburn and Cam Newton took top honors in 2010, while Florida and Tim Tebow were tops in 2008.
LSU won national championships in 1958, 2003 and 2007.
LSU’s gymnastics team finished second last year.
Florida won it all in 2013, 2014 and 2015.
Alabama was back-to-back gymnastic champions in 2011 and 2012.
Arkansas won the men’s cross country title seven times for 1991 to 2000.
Florida has won the men’s indoor track title the past two yeast.
Arkanas’ women won the outdoor title last year and in 2016.
LSU’s women’s track team won it all in 2008 and 2012.
Florida’s outdoor women’s team won it all in 2016 and 2017, while Georgia won it all in 2018.
Vanderbilt won its second baseball championship in five years last year. Florida won it in 2017, South Carolina in 2010 and 2011.
LSU had six national titles from 1993-2009.
The list is sure to grow in 2019-2020.
It’s the Southeastern Conference where it truly does mean more.