In Football, the South Rises Again

Nothing tops college football in the South
By Katherine Thompson,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 5, 2008 7:03 PM CST
On Saturday, the two winningest active coaches in the SEC, Steve Spurrier of South Carolina and Phillip Fulmer of Tennessee, will be playing for fourth place in their division.   (AP Photo/Wade Payne, File)
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(Newser) – With Alabama and Florida getting set to play for what is likely to be a national championship berth tomorrow, the Wall Street Journal looks into what has been giving the juggernaut Southeastern Conference its recent momentum. It's not just great coaching—although that helps—but a combination of culture, politics, and growing wealth in the region.

In the South, where football is king, two-thirds of governors and senators are SEC alumni. This gives the teams some high-powered advocates, helping secure lofty coaching salaries and keeping local media scrutiny in check. And despite the low average incomes of the SEC states, their schools have some of the best fundraising in the nation.