I think you're both "sort of" right, but I lean a little more in your direction.I think that I know where you are going, but disagree. I think that the rest of the college football world is running scared. The SEC has dominated the sport in terms of championships for over a decade, and now the SEC is looking to dominate the sport financially. Pretty soon the SEC will have more power than the rest of the sport combined.
Now, I don't fault the SEC for this. There is a power vacuum and the SEC has decided to fill it. Good for them. But it was going to provoke a response, and people get petty when they are afraid.
It's like when a crop grows - how much was the soil and how much was the rain contributing?