The SEC might as well load up the time capsule right now. If it wants to educate a future generation on what the conference is about, there's no better school year than this one.
The league can reflect on its 2010-11 successes this week at its annual spring meetings, which will begin Tuesday in Destin, Fla. School administrators and coaches are apt to engage in problem solving as well.
Most of the elements - good, bad and fanatical - that have made this such a prominent conference were magnified in 2010-11. The conference had another national champion in football, Kentucky returned to the Final Four in basketball, and two-thirds of its baseball teams likely will qualify for the NCAA postseason tournament.
NCAA investigators, who have a longstanding familiarity with the conference, also have had a presence. Tennessee is still awaiting the outcome of investigations into its football and basketball programs; Auburn fended off accusations of NCAA rules violations from October through an unbeaten season that ended with a victory over Oregon in the BCS national championship game.
Add it all up and you couldn't ask for a more representative year.
- Football domination: Auburn didn't go wire-to-wire in winning the national championship in football. But the SEC did.
Defending national champion Alabama was the preseason No. 1. Auburn was the postseason No. 1. And a month after Auburn won the national title, Alabama's recruiting class was ranked No. 1.
That's just another reminder that the SEC owns college football. How else can you put it after Auburn's triumph gave the league five consecutive national titles?
It's almost as impressive that those championships have been won by four different schools - Auburn, Alabama, LSU and Florida (two).
- Basketball domination: This school year marked a return to normalcy in SEC basketball.
Kentucky won the SEC tournament, advanced to the Final Four and bid adieu to three players who found the NBA draft more appealing than continued education.
The attrition hardly will be noticed when the Wildcats' No. 1-ranked recruiting class arrives this fall.
- All-sports domination: You expect Florida to win the conference's all-sports trophy. You don't expect it to win eight conference titles, as it has in 2010-11.
That success is a tribute to the Gators' considerable resources. But it's also a reason why Jeremy Foley's name always comes up in a discussion of best athletic directors.
He expects his teams to compete for championships - in everything. And his personnel decisions reflect that.
- Agent domination: University of Tennessee alum Jimmy Sexton has become almost as much of a household name in the SEC as conference commissioner Mike Slive. In any given year, he represents at least a third of the SEC football coaches, none of whom have trouble paying their bills.
Sexton expanded his SEC power base in football this school year when Urban Meyer resigned and Florida hired Will Muschamp. So the super agent's client base now includes the conference's latest national championship coach (Auburn's Gene Chizik), its highest-paid coach (Alabama's Nick Saban), and one of its rookie coaches (Muschamp).
He also added a rookie quarterback and SEC legend, Tim Tebow.
- The player: A year after Tebow was being hailed as the conference's greatest player of all time, Auburn quarterback Cam Newton spent the season playing one-upmanship.
He won a national championship and a Heisman Trophy, then completed the trifecta by being the first player taken in the NFL draft. Not even a Manning or Herschel Walker pulled that off.
Newton accomplished that amidst continuous speculation about his eligibility, related to allegations that his father had shopped him to the highest bidder when Newton was recruited from junior college.
- The game: The Alabama-Auburn regular-season finale might have been as dramatic as any game in SEC history.
College football's most intense rivalry matched unbeaten Auburn against defending national champion and consensus preseason No. 1 pick Alabama, which spent the first half demonstrating that it was the most talented team in the country. Auburn then proved why it was a worthy national championship successor, rallying from a 24-0 deficit to beat Alabama on its home field.
Losses like that drive fans crazy.
- The fan: You already knew SEC fans occasionally pushed sanity's envelope. But no one has pushed harder than Harvey Updyke, the Alabama fan who poisoned the oak trees at storied Toomer's Corner in Auburn and boasted about it on national radio.
He has pleaded not guilty for reasons of mental disease or defect. You have to like his chances.