After capturing the last seven national championships, there should be no doubt that the SEC is the toughest conference in college football.
Unfortunately, there are still a few people out there that still haven’t received this message.
Now, Oklahoma Sooners head coach Bob Stoops is following suit. According to him, the SEC might have the best teams in the land. But the league, as a whole, really isn’t that much better than everyone else. In fact, he made the following statement to the Tulsa World:
“So you’re listening to a lot of propaganda that gets fed out to you. You’re more than smart enough to figure it out. Again, you can look at the top two, three, four, five, six teams, and you can look at the bottom six, seven, eight, whatever they are. How well are they all doing?”
Is he serious?
That’s tough to say. After all, Stoops made these comments in front of a Sooner Caravan appearance in Tulsa. It’s certainly possible that he was simply tailoring his message towards a very partisan audience and didn’t mean for these remarks to become national news.
However, I don’t think that’s the case. Rightly or wrongly, Stoops is the type of guy that means what he says, and says what he means. While he might have moderated his stance a little in mixed company, it’s evident that he firmly believes that the Big 12 is every bit as good from top-to-bottom — if not better — than the SEC.
Unfortunately, the numbers don’t back him up.
Stoops was absolutely wrong to say that the bottom half of the SEC hasn’t done anything of note. Sure, the Kentucky Wildcats and Auburn Tigers had bad seasons last year, but that doesn’t mean that the bottom of the league is as awful as the hapless Kansas Jayhawks. In fact, Auburn, Arkansas and Ole Miss — the only three teams that finished in the bottom of the conference last year that have played against the Big 12 since 2006 — have combined to pick up impressive victories over the likes of Nebraska (9-5 2006 Big 12 North Champ), Kansas State (10-3), Oklahoma State (9-4) and Texas Tech (11-2).
In other words, the teams that finished at the bottom of the SEC last season didn’t beat the bottom-feeders — it actually beat the teams that finished near the top of the league.
Call me crazy, but I don’t see Iowa State or Kansas beating the upper-echelon of the SEC anytime soon.
Let’s be honest: the SEC has won the last seven national championships because it’s the toughest conference in the land. Just ask the Missouri Tigers, who posted a 31-20 record in Big 12 play between 2006-2011. Despite winning or sharing three North Division titles and finishing second two other times during that span, the Tigers limped to a 2-6 conference record against the physical defenses of the SEC.
The preceding paragraph ought to speak louder than anything else. While the Big 12 conference might win some individual matchups here and there, Missouri’s struggles prove that the Big 12 teams would have a very difficult time adjusting to the weekly grind of playing against a brutal SEC schedule.
That, my friends, is how come the SEC always has “good fortune” when it comes time to select the best two teams for the BCS Title Game. At the end of the day, everyone who votes in the BCS polls knows that the SEC is the deepest conference in the land, and moves those teams to the top of the list.
The 2013-14 season shouldn’t be any different.