What’s going on around CFB….
Why does the SEC do it?
Why can’t it just shut up and play?
Answer: It can’t help itself.
The SEC still can’t get over Auburn going undefeated in 2004 and having to watch USC and Oklahoma play for the BCS title.
It still can’t stand the fact LSU had to share the national title with USC in 2003.
The SEC’s status as the nation’s preeminent college football conference — rarely argued by anyone — is only demeaned by the league’s seemingly insatiable need to tell everyone about it.
“They’re fanatics,” first-year Arizona State Coach Dennis Erickson said. “Sometimes you’re so isolated, with tunnel vision, you think that nothing else exists. There is no other football. Do they even play out west?”
Erickson to the SEC: Drop dead
No one can deny it’s the best conference going at the moment. No one can deny that the overall speed and talent level is tremendous. The weekly drama is unparalleled, thanks to so many good match-ups, and the overall competition is so tough that it’s just about impossible to get through unscathed. So after the way Florida blew up Ohio State to win the national title, will the conference start to get every benefit of the doubt? It should.
Yeah, because, ya know, there is sooooo much talk out there in the media about how the SEC sucks and is overrated. How the heck did Florida manage to win a title, anyway, playing in such a little-hyped league? My favorite bromide is about how impossible it is to get through the league unscathed. I mean, if that were the case, we would surely see fewer undefeated SEC teams over time than every other conference, right?
Wrong. Check it out:
Undefeated Teams Per Conference Since 1992
(the first year of the SEC title game)
As you can see, the Big 12 has had the most undefeated teams since 1992, but the Big Ten and SEC are not far behind. In fact, SEC teams go undefeated more often than Pac-10, ACC or Big East teams.
Undefeated, Untied Conference Champions since 1992
Big 12–4 (since its inception in 1996)
As you can see, the SEC is in the middle of the pack on this list, too. The Big East and ACC are skewed slightly by the dominance of FSU and Miami. Otherwise, it appears that going undefeated in the SEC is about as likely as in any other conference.
Vince Dooley, one of several coaches to lead his team to an unscathed season in the SEC
More from Fiutak:
Maybe it’s time to start weighing the strength of schedule more when it comes to the SEC, and to realize that a one-loss team here could be the equivalent of an unbeaten team from another conference. That might especially be the case this season.
Well, which conference? The Sun Belt? If only the SEC actually played schedules that were ranked the toughest in the nation, you might have something there, Pete.
As it stands, a quick glance at Phil Steele’s schedule rankings for 2007 reveals that the top eight schedules belong to Pac-10 teams. So maybe the Pac-10 should get the one-loss mulligan. The SEC? It manages to place one team (Tennessee at No. 18) in the top 20 in schedule strength.
And we all know that, when it comes to schedule rankings, Phil knows his stuff.
Generally speaking, players who’ve returned to school recently after a Heisman-finalist season have succeeded in returning to New York. Witness Jason White (2003 winner, 2004 finalist), Matt Leinart (2004 winner, 2005 finalist) and Reggie Bush (2004 finalist, 2005 winner). Injuries prevented Adrian Peterson from duplicating his runner-up finish as a freshman.
This note is the one problematic issue with crowning McFadden as the front runner for 2007 (and trust me, Darren, you don’t want that moniker). While he was last year’s Heisman runner up, he was a zillion votes behind Troy Smith. Someone had to finish second in that landslide and it was McFadden, who did not win a single region. Compared to other Heisman runner ups who returned to win (OJ Simpson in 1968, Herschel Walker in 1982), his point total was fairly weak. It remains to be seen if his name recognition is really any better than, say, Steve Slaton’s or Mike Hart’s at this point. One thing is for sure–it will improve as the season progresses.