Editor's note: SEC media days begin July 14. Every year, a theme seems to emerge, whether it's a tiff between coaches or a cause taken up by commissioner Mike Slive. But with less than a week until it arrives, what are the top storylines entering the annual media event? Ryan Black gives his take, counting down from 10-1.
No. 5: The dominance of the Iron Bowl rivals
Alabama and Auburn. Auburn and Alabama. These two bitter in-state rivals have carved up national championship game appearances among themselves the past five years, winning four times.
It doesn't seem like that will change this year, either.
Sure, there's now a four-team playoff in place of the BCS, but one has to think the Tigers and Crimson Tide stand a fair chance of landing in the new postseason tournament and that's if both don't make it.
Those outside of the state's borders are probably tired of hearing about the two at this point. But there's only one thing other SEC schools can do to loosen the stranglehold the Iron Bowl rivals have over the rest of the league: take them down.
As the old saying goes, to be the champ, you've got to beat the champ. In the case of the SEC, the inside track to the league and national titles run through the state of Alabama until proven otherwise.