Hopefully, the Boone Pickens Stadium scoreboard will proclaim good news Saturday evening. But if not, and Georgia is about to post victory over Oklahoma State, be ready for the chant. "SEC! SEC! SEC!” Southeastern Conference squads count down notable non-conference wins with a league-pride chorus. "SEC! SEC! SEC!” is their equivalent of Red Auerbach’s victory cigar. They do this for the simplest of reasons. Those fans are like Granny Clampett; they’re still fighting the Civil War. When Southern Cal dismantles Ohio State, you don’t hear "Pac-10! Pac-10!” coming from the Troy bleachers. When Michigan beat Notre Dame, the Wolverines don’t cry "Big Ten! Big Ten!,” they sing "Hail to the Victors.” When Texas counts down a bowl success, there is no "Big 12! Big 12! Big 12!” salute. But be it Georgia or LSU, Florida or Alabama, "SEC! SEC! SEC!” rings throughout the stadium after one of that league’s many powers claims victory. And over in the other sport that inflames passion, such pride is expressed by the other power league from Dixie, the Atlantic Coast Conference. "ACC! ACC! ACC!” is a Final Four fixture. Again, war between the states. "There’s something called Southern exceptionalism, where they feel different from other people,” said OU history professor William Savage, whose bachelor degree came from the University of South Carolina. "They assume a defensive posture. "The way it was when I was there, it’s almost like having to take sides every day.” The War of Southern Independence, as Southerners like to call it, ended 144 years ago. But its effects remain, in politics, in race relations, in self-examination. "There’s a deep-seated inferiority, left over from the 19th century,” Savage said. "It’s an aspect of wanting to win something, doesn’t really matter what it is.” This is no knock on the South. We all have our peculiarities. Oklahoma’s football ascension began with its own inferiority complex, a desire to leave the Grapes of Wrath image behind. And state or regional pride isn’t limited to the old South. In Texas, remember, the Alamo is foisted upon you whether you like it or not. Actually, the SEC chant has its charms. Florida hates Georgia, Georgia hates Auburn, Auburn hates Alabama, Alabama hates Tennessee and everybody hates LSU. But those feelings are put aside in the chant. You are defined by your opponents, a truth I’ve been trying to teach out here for decades. It’s great for OU when OSU wins. Great for Nebraska when Texas wins. Great for Texas when OU wins. Excellent competitors push you and drive you to excellence yourself. If you don’t believe in that, go join the Sun Belt. It’s kind of cool that SEC schools lay down hostilities in the name of kicking some Northern tail, or at least some non-conference foe. The SEC is America’s best football conference. It’s not as great as it thinks it is, but it’s the best. And its fans, who never saw the final of the 1865 Appomattox Bowl, don’t want you to forget it. Berry Tramel: (405) 760-8080; Berry Tramel can be heard Monday through Friday from 4:40-5:20 p.m. on The Sports Animal radio network, including AM-640 and FM-98.1.