When all was said and done in the 2012 SEC Championship Game, Alabama Crimson Tide coach Nick Saban knew what it meant to have emerged from a conference that has produced an unprecedented string of BCS champions, of which he has been a major part.
After his team's 32-28 victory over the Georgia Bulldogs, Saban went right after the heart of the matter — what it takes to win the SEC given its depth and strength, knowing that the conference had an ability to test teams in ways that other conferences might not.
"This conference will test your mettle," Saban said in the post-game press conference. "There are a lot of good teams in this conference. We beat a really good team out there today.
And for his team, Saban had praise for a squad that he believed didn't play at its best, but showed that it would not be denied a chance at repeating as BCS national champions.
"We kind of had that I-would-not-be-denied attitude out there today," Saban said.