It's a chant that's often heard during the final minutes of an SEC school's victory over an opponent from another conference.

It's a chant that shows the passion — and to an extent the arrogance — some fans of the 12 SEC schools have.

"SEC! SEC! SEC!"

Now, that same pride needs to rise to the occasion once again, much like SEC teams' play in the national championship game.

The events that took place throughout the South this week are devastating.

The full extent of damages from these tornados, winds, hail and heavy rains won't be known for quite some time.

But when they are, they won't be very good.

Watching the tornado slowly make its way to Tuscaloosa, Ala., is one of the many images I will take away from Wednesday.

The city, home of the University of Alabama, took a direct hit from a tornado spawned by one of yesterday's storms' many supercells.

Luckily, the tornado didn't actually hit the school's campus, but watching the video of it passing just south of the Crimson Tide's Bryant-Denny Stadium was surreal, seemingly straight out of a natural-disaster movie.

The pictures and videos that soon followed on Twitter and various news outlets were heartbreaking.

But it didn't just happen to Tuscaloosa, or even just the state of Alabama.

It happened all over the southeast.

Buildings, whole street blocks and small towns were leveled.

Hundreds of people were killed. Many more were injured.

And the lives of a region changed.

This is a time for Southerners to rally around each other — putting school alliances aside. And it's already started.

GVX247.com senior writer and former Daily Beacon Sports Editor Wes Rucker tweeted late Thursday night: "God bless those who are helping neighbors in the South tonight. Southerners are proud and stubborn and tough, and we'll get through this."

True words. Very well spoken (or tweeted).

While not everyone in the South claims football as a religion, the unique way the SEC brings fans together through sports is a bond that can be utilized now.

Whether it's donating time or money, or even just giving a friend a ride because their car was damaged, we all can help in some way.

It's the "Southern" thing to do.

And if we do, we can make an impact far greater than the one mother nature gave us this week.

Last column of the year

As you've hopefully already read in today's Beacon, this year's staff wrote farewell columns.

I was supposed to write a column wrapping up my first year at the Beacon. (I'm not graduating till next year, I redshirted early during my college career).

I felt led to write about a much more important topic.

But this year of covering and pretending to know more than I do about Tennessee athletics, as well as various other sports topics, has been a fun experience.

Headlining and night editing were awful but were made worthwhile by the people I got the opportunity to work with the past two semesters, many of whom are moving on from the student paper.

Kudos to all you guys and gals. You all have provided many hilarious, horrible and hideous memories.

--Matt Dixon is a senior in journalism and electronic media. He can be reached at mdixon3@utk.edu. He can be followed on Twitter at @MattDixon3.