Humility has no place on the cover of a media guide. So no one should be surprised that the SEC chose a huge No. 5 for the centerpiece of its cover.
As you might have heard, the conference has won five consecutive national championships in football. And now that it has one for the thumb, a six-pack hardly seems farfetched.
Not only would that be historic. It would conserve creative energy in choosing a cover for the 2012 media guide. All you would have to do is replace the 5 with a 6.
That's almost as easy as SEC teams have made it look in some of the recent national championship games.
The question looming over college football: What can anybody do about it?
Answer: Forget about beating the SEC; just hope the conference beats itself.
SEC outsiders should be encouraged by the preseason publications. Read enough of them and you might assume the conference is too good for its own good.
Alabama is getting plenty of No. 1 attention, just as it did last year about this time. But LSU also appears quite capable of competing for a national title, and it's in the same division as Alabama.
So is Arkansas, which could be even better than last season when it went 10-3 while beating LSU and losing to Alabama by only four points.
SEC loyalists might reach a different conclusion after considering the conference's strength. Hint: Remember the Florida vs. South Carolina final in the College World Series?
The last thing the rest of college football wants to think about is an All-SEC national championship game in New Orleans next January. Those five consecutive titles have been hard enough to stomach without a win-win championship game for the conference that can't seem to lose.
Sure, it's unlikely. But it's not out of the question if the league plays up to its preseason billing and the non-conference schedule provides as many opportunities as the preseason rankings suggest.
Oregon, Florida State and Boise State are consensus top-10 picks, and they're in the top five in a number of preseason polls. All three play SEC teams.
Texas A&M, which is on the periphery of most top 10s, and West Virginia, which is the favorite to win the Big East, also have SEC teams on their schedules.
LSU likely will be favored in its games against Oregon and West Virginia. Arkansas' game in Arlington, Texas, against Texas A&M will be a toss-up. Georgia should be an underdog against Boise State in their season opener in the Georgia Dome as should Florida against Florida State in their regular-season finale in Gainesville.
But suppose the SEC wins four or five of those games. And suppose there's not an unbeaten team left standing from BCS conferences after the second week of December.
If two SEC teams are among those with only one loss, how could you exclude either one of them from the championship game?
The rest of college football just put its hands over its ears and started humming loudly.
Pulling for Oklahoma and Virginia Tech might be more productive. The Sooners have no shortage of talent, and the Hokies play a schedule that was designed with an unbeaten season in mind.
Now, all they have to do is go unbeaten while the SEC beats itself. As tough as that might sound, it's not as tough as beating the SEC in the national championship game.
You don't have to look past the cover of the conference's media guide to see that.