Adams: SEC vs. Big Ten during bowl season: no match

Some columns are above perpetuating stereotypes. This one isn't.

In fact, "perpetuating stereotypes" ranks only slightly behind "stating the obvious" on this column's list of "guidelines to write by."

Astute followers of this column probably already have guessed the stereotype du jour. If it's bowl season, then it's the SEC vs. the Big Ten. If it's the SEC vs. the Big Ten, then it's speed vs. toughness.

In last year's national championship game, you saw Florida's advantage in speed every time Ohio State target - I mean, quarterback - Troy Smith dropped back to pass. You saw Ohio State's toughness when All-American linebacker James Laurinaitis tried to tackle Florida quarterback Tim Tebow.

Laurinaitis looked so dazed when he finally gained his footing, he probably didn't realize the Gators had just scored another touchdown in one of college football's great national championship mismatches.

If you ever doubt the SEC is superior to the Big Ten in football, watch the Florida-Ohio State highlight video. Or read this column.

I won't deny my bias. But if a media giant like ESPN/ABC can promote Michigan defensive back Charles Woodson as the second coming of Jim Thorpe, what's wrong with a southern typist occasionally pointing out the Big Ten's shortcomings when matched against the SEC?

Don't get the wrong idea. The Big Ten doesn't always lose to the SEC. Only Ohio State does that.

Even if the SEC does lose to the Big Ten, it rarely loses its sense of superiority. For example, Tennessee didn't come away from last January's Outback Bowl loss to Penn State feeling as though it has been physically whipped. Instead, it had merely fumbled the game over to its inferior Big Ten opponent.

But this column isn't about a rare misstep by the SEC against the Big Ten. It's about perpetuating stereotypes, which means I won't be dwelling on the recent success of Wisconsin - UT's opponent in next week's Outback Bowl - against the SEC.

Instead, I've compiled a list of the Big Ten's five most humiliating bowl losses to the SEC in the new millennium:

Florida 41, Ohio State 14: The Buckeyes entered last season's national championship game as an unbeaten favorite. They ended the game with 82 yards of total offense.

Ohio State was so inept against Florida, archrival Michigan fans felt embarrassed by association.

Tennessee 45, Michigan 17: The 2002 Florida Citrus Bowl was a classic when it comes to perpetuating stereotypes. The Vols looked really fast (see tight end Jason Witten outrunning Michigan's secondary). The Wolverines looked really slow (see tight end Jason Witten outrunning Michigan's secondary).

Georgia 28, Purdue 25: How fitting that the first sporting event of the new millennium had an SEC team beating a Big Ten team in the 2000 Outback Bowl. Georgia spotted Purdue a 25-0 lead before rallying for an overtime victory, which capped the biggest comeback in school history.

South Carolina 24, Ohio State 7: The Gamecocks didn't just beat the Buckeyes in the 2001 Outback Bowl. They beat them with a native Ohioan, Ryan Brewer, who totaled 219 all-purpose yards against the mighty Buckeyes.

South Carolina 31, Ohio State 28: The Buckeyes had an entire year to figure out how to beat the Gamecocks. The best they could do was come close in the 2002 Outback Bowl, as the Gamecocks won their third bowl game - and second against Ohio State - in school history.

Sports editor John Adams may be reached at 865-342-6284 or

Get Copyright Permissions © 2007, Knoxville News Sentinel Co.
Want to use this article? Click here for options!

© 2007 All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

  • Discuss
  • Print

Comments » 70

VolHooch14 writes:

Kudos for yet another great column, but you are wasting your breath big guy. The 'powers that be' will do everything they can to make sure that these guys are in the C-ship mix every single year, irregardless of the pathetic schedule they play.
It was nauseating to watch OSU land themselves back into the BCSC (After LOSING to UNRANKED Illinois) while sitting idle for over a month back in November. The "Brent Musbergers / ESPN's" of the world are going to give them unearned props at every opportunity, & then turn around & make endless excuses for them when they don't come through. It was sooo satisfying to watch Florida hang 41 points in their behinds last year, & I hope that LSU will make it even worse.


pdhuff#552644 writes:

I hope Adam's admitted bias helps our Vols when Wisconsin's backs attack at left tackle. Methinks in that 2002 game the Vols had just a tad more defense. We'll see, its almost time for toe to meet artificial leather.

Be nervous before this one. May polish up the odd oggs. Go Vols.

arkyvol writes:

the only thing i can figure out from this column is that adams is trying his damndest to jinx the vols. this is the kind of column that should be written, if ever, after the game. i can see the big ten players rolling this one up and shoving it up the vol's you know what.

texan writes:

I think it's too late for you to try to impress the readers of this column.


I cannot understand why UT fans would cheer for other SEC teams. It just shows their ignorance these days. Fulmer is already losing a lot of recruits to the Alabama's, Auburn's, Georgia's, LSU's, and Florida's. Why in the world would you cheer for these schools to win? By winning, they just give more reason for the top players to go there. A smart fan would hope they get embarrassed. A smart fan would also demand a change at the top also. But I guess that the words "smart UT Fan" is an oxymoron.

creepykev#228270 writes:

I guess we cheer because we are more familiar with SEC teams and coaches. What's wrong with that? Anyway I predict TN will sleep walk through their bowl game. Mr Hamilton five losses is not a good year.

osunut2#223683 writes:

What SEC fans forget is that South Carolina lead the 2002 Outback Bowl 28-0 with less than a minute left in the 3rd quarter. Ohio State scored 28 unanswered points, but threw an interception with 5 seconds left that was returned by South Carolina deep into OSU territory. The Gamecocks made the ensuing field goal to win.

writer#358485 writes:

Pleaseget.., etc., etc. That post makes about as much sense as federal income taxes. Let's see, you want everyone in the SEC to lose, including the Vols. Exactly what sport are you a fan of? And what team? Or conference? Do you ever like to see someone win? Please enlighten us.

LargeOrange writes:

PLEASEGETRIDOFTHENOTSOSMARTASHETHINKS - That is got to be one of the least "smart" posts I have seen some time. Do you really believe if the SEC stinks it up it will help UT get more recruits? This really shows your lack of reasoning and knowledge, which is also indicated by your stupid post name. The SEC is hands down, the premier conference in football, this is proven all year and confirmed each year in the bowl games. Rising waters raise all ships (ask someone to tell you what that means), for Tennessee to be division champs in the toughest conference in all of football, can only help in recruiting. UT has to recruit nation-wide and the chance to play against the best is what these kids want, as well as TV and NFL scout exposure, If LSU, FL, GA, AU get embarrassed on national TV, as you wish, some how you deduce that it will help TN in recruiting. You speak of your self and your ilk with your stupid oxymoron. It is only the minority that actually hate CPF so much, that they identify themselves by name, like you, that are an embarrassment to our team, it's fans and our conference.

TNPilgrim writes:

Hopefully the same TN team that played GA and AR will show up in Tampa - but I doubt it. With the two best coaches on the team leaving and six players flunking out it's easy to see how this bunch will have a hard time getting focused and motivated for an insignificant bowl game against a team that will be easy to underestimate. This sort of blowviating by John Adams doesn't help much - it's just tempting fate.

LargeOrange writes:

Posted by PLEASEGETRIDOF... "But I guess that the words "smart UT Fan" is an oxymoron." If you believe what you posted, then that makes you either "not smart" or "not a UT fan". Which one is it? I think probably both.

Ralph_Crampton writes:



Unbelievable. Simply Unbelievable. Let me get this right. You guys want the rest of the SEC to win their bowl games on national television so that their resumes are better? Tennessee is in a major funk right now on and off the field. The last thing that you should want is for the rest of the conference to look good. Are you UT fans or are you SEC fans? You cannot be both and if you are, you're an idiot. To say that you want the teams that we play every year to win is to say that you want them to get better. Something that Tennessee has not done since 98.

LargeOrange writes:

PLEASEGETRIDOF Which one is it? Are you "not smart" or "not a UT fan" or BOTH?

writer#358485 writes:

Pleaseget, etc., etc. I'm still trying to figure who or what you are a fan of? You want Tennessee to lose because you think that will help get rid of the coach. You want everyone else in the SEC to lose so the current coach can do better recruiting? I think hate as scrambled something there fella. You want everyone in the SEC to lose, including the Vols. Right? Makes a lot of sense...Not. Perhaps you might want to consider becoming a fan of circular firing squads.


Help me out LargeOrange. Who says that the SEC is "Hands Down" better than any other conference? Please show me a big out of conference win for the SEC. There is one ...LSU over Va.Tech.

Does South Florida, West Virginia, Wake Forrest, La.Monroe, CAL, Clemson, Florida St., or Missouri think that the SEC is "Hands Down" the best conference? Apparently not because they beat more than half the SEC.

Call me the minority if you want to but I expect more out of this program and it starts at the top.
And to finish your point, you should be the one embarrassed to accept mediocracy from a team with the highest recruiting budget in the SEC, the largest stadium, arguably the best facilities, the third highest paid coach, and the great fan base UT has.

Also, why do you think that Tennessee is not getting the recruits this year? Because they stink. You should hope that the rest of the SEC teams also lose to avoid more losses similar to CAL, FL., and Bama because they will come with 2 and 3 star recruits.

LargeOrange writes:

PLEASEGETRID, I'll try and help you out, try this link to post your mindless dribble, you will probably find more posts like yours there. Enjoy!

99gator writes:

please get rid of....

1. i always cheer for league teams in bowls. it makes the league look better. and if anything, unlike some other things mentioned...this does help recruiting. there have been kids who have chosen an sec school because of the clout the league has.

2. bowls affect recruiting very little. i have not seen too many kids decide to attend a school because of the bowl win or loss. the exception might be a program like boise state last season.

3. you all need to stop with this stadium, facilities, money, fan base garbage. welcome to the sec. half the league has everything tenn has. they also have better recruiting bases. i think alabama, auburn, florida, georgia, lsu could give a hoot about tenn's facilities, money, fan base, and stadium. those schools ain't hurtin. arkansas, south carolina, and kentucky aren't exactly begging for loose change.

4. tenn is probably having an off year recruiting due to staff changes and more importantly the lack of potential playing time for incoming freshman.

writer#358485 writes:

Now that makes some sense, 99gator. Good luck to the Gators in their bowl. We will appreciate the same wishes against Wisconsin, and for better luck against you next year.

govols16tn writes:

Wisconsin 17 -Arkansas 14 2007 Capital one bowl-- Wisconsin24-Auburn10 2006 Capital one bowl---Need anyone say more

LargeOrange writes:

I agree with everything 99gator said. In addition, PLEASEGETRID... you really need to keep up to date on your rhetoric, CPF is not the 3rd highest paid SEC Coach, he is currently 5th behind, Saban, Meyer, Tuberville, and Miles(total under new contract). By your standards that would be "mediocracy" in regards to pay for our coach (5th place in the SEC). He beat Richt, Spurrier, Nutt, Brooks, Croom and Johnson on the field and in pay this year.

Hamburglar165 writes:

Adams - regarding your Georgia/Purdue game, the new millennium started in 2001, not 2000.

BigOrangeJeff writes:

I'd put the 1996 Citrus Bowl on the list. Ohio State was supposed to be unstoppable that year. Their offense featured Heisman Trophy winner Eddie George, and All-Americans QB Bobby Hoying, WR Terry Glenn, OT Orlando Pace, TE Ricky Dudley, and FB Matt Calhoun. According to the Big Ten PR Department ... I mean, ESPN and ABC, we didn't deserve to be on the same field as the Buckeyes.

Best play of the game was the fourth-and-goal stop at the six-inch line, when Bill Duff submarined to stop George for a two yard loss.

One of the all-time great Vol bowl games.


etvolfan writes:

I'm glad that PLEASEGETRIDOFTHENOTSOSLIMONE set me straight. I will pull for Wisconsin in the Outback Bowl now. I'm just a brainless UT fan I appreciate someone to take time out of there busy schedule to set me straight.

jevolball7 writes:

Large Orange,I would suggest when posting back to"Pleasegetridofthenotsosmartashethinksheis" You might want to reconsider the use of "oxy" and "moron" together.Perhaps "morononoxys" might be more appropo. Just a thought.

utvols1 writes:

BOJ-I was at that game, as I recall it rained a ton and we changed cleats. Afterwards the best a embarrased OSU could do was claim we "cheated" by using illegal cleats. What a joke. I agree too that the play of the game was the goal line stop. It was a great day to be a Vol.
We could use a game like that against Wis..

pdhuff#552644 writes:

bigorangejeff - 1996 was a great effort. Seem to remember their QB pitching behind George on a late 4th down try also. Sad we have to go back to the 90s for memories.

99gator - great undercurrent in your 4th point. "Lack of potential playing time for incoming freshmen". Unless truly forced, Phil's caste system is ironclad. Remember Jamal Lewis rode the pines.

govols16tn- sadly, this game has been forgotten except for a few misguided souls on Good post.

Merry Christmas.

jopad#212858 writes:

PLEASEGET RIDOF-----Try an anology to help understand why UT fans want SEC teams to win-----As Southerners we can argue and disagree with Yankees or Western folks all we want but, let some one from another country start critizing them and we all join togather because in the end we are "family". Go SEC and Go Vols!!

pdhuff#552644 writes:

tngeoff - Merry Christmas - the Lord truly smiles.

"Ogg Hall" "k Kreme Capers"- a Steinbeck could not have dreamed these up. I believe "from a galaxy far away" the gods look down from their own Olympus and mused, the faithful have had enuf troubles. Lets fling a few "light-hearted" happenings into their midst.

And so came odd oggs, OGG Hall and the piece-de-la-resistance (sic) of Whitelightning's ride!
Tales of Sleepy Hollow revisited with glazed covering the road. Valhalla glimpsed.

Our recovering Fulmerite circle received our lite merriment early. God Bless and lets beat the Badgers.

Trye enuf, daily shows their disdain (lack of respect) for the Vols.

Bigger_Al writes:

PLEASEGETRIDOFMARKMANGINO - Not sure why a Kansas fan is posting here, but welcome! Merry Christmas, and good luck in the Large Orange Bowl!

TommyJack writes:

PD: You are a muse sir. Disguised as an over-hall wearin goober. Surely more of a gentleman farmer. I'm betting Mrs. PD bakes you fresh, lard laced glazed. Keep up the righteous fight. Beat the not so slow Badgers. Merry Christmas.


Posted by 99gator on December 23, 2007 at 11:41 p.m. (Suggest removal)

please get rid of....

1. i always cheer for league teams in bowls. it makes the league look better. and if anything, unlike some other things mentioned...this does help recruiting. there have been kids who have chosen an sec school because of the clout the league has.---------Agree with what you are saying here but it is still the individual school that the kid is choosing and not the conference. And your coach is the best in the SEC so he has no problem recruiting.

2. bowls affect recruiting very little. i have not seen too many kids decide to attend a school because of the bowl win or loss. the exception might be a program like boise state last season.---------Typical SEC fan. Which one is it? You just said it makes a differnce and now it doesn't? When they win, it's a big deal. When they lose, "Who cares, it's hard to get up for a bad bowl game". EVERY GAME COUNTS!

3. you all need to stop with this stadium, facilities, money, fan base garbage. welcome to the sec. half the league has everything tenn has. they also have better recruiting bases. i think alabama, auburn, florida, georgia, lsu could give a hoot about tenn's facilities, money, fan base, and stadium.---------No, they care that each one of their schools have finished in the top 10 the past 7 years. Something Tennessee has not done.

4. tenn is probably having an off year recruiting due to staff changes and more importantly the lack of potential playing time for incoming freshman.----------This lack of recruiting good talent started before the year even started. Good try though.

It's also amazing to me how the Holiday's change the sheeps heart. Check the posts the past few weeks compared to now. Everyone was down on the coach and program then but now they have a soft heart. THINGS HAVE NOT CHANGED FOLKS! Tennessee football is in major trouble and it is time to rebuild from the top down. Period.

99gator writes:

please get rid of

every game does matter. but, i think that a bowl game typically does not affect recruiting. most schools already have commitments for half of their recruiting classes by now.

the argument i made was not a referendum on fulmer, but rather an explanation as to why i personally cheer for teams within the league during the bowl season.

getting rid of fulmer or not, and why is a completely different discussion and argument. at least to me it is.

AlpharettaVol writes:

PLEASEGITRIDOF . . . Your diatribes are getting tiresome and just cluttering up this site. Since this is Christmas Eve, why don't you turn on the TV and watch your alter-ego, Ebeneezer Scrooge. A little dose of Tiny Tim might do you some good. Merry Christmas.

TommyJack writes:

99gator: I pull for all SEC teams in bowls. Even FL now that SS is long gone. Could never get myself to pull for that fool, tho.

pdhuff#552644 writes:

TJ, tks for the kind words. Sitting here over looking a 24 degree morning. Sweats on, God bless 'em, comfortable. Mama PD is a retired (33 yrs) Elem School teacher and administrater. Cooks like Martha White.

Bibs are real, most comfortable things a man ever wore over an orange Izod Tee. That confuses some. Dogs are real, boy are they real. 162 acres of bottom land and big hills are real.

Things that were real, once, include Tenn Defense, national respect, optimism that we would compete everytime out, losing a few. That's all evaporated now. Gone blowing in the wind as Dylan said.

Now, we're spin doctors being like twin-size bed quilts trying to cover king-sized problems. The results are that things KEEP showing up. Saying "stay the course" doesn't put you on the upward course. Sometimes you need to take another "course". Before I get up in bro dskaggs league, Merry Christmas to the govolsxtra family, feuding and all!

bd330794#206783 writes:

You left a big one off your list, in 2001 LSU beat big ten champ Illinois by 40 in the sugar bowl. That was the year the Big Ten officially died as a conference.....

1955_Vol writes:

Pleasegetridof....I have read with interest your posts on this thread the responses from LargeOrange. I am curious....he makes a good point against your post and you have written a good Clintonsque-style response in avoiding his question. Based on your logic, which are you??? Not smart or not a UT fan? Just curious.

ElizabethtonvolnNC writes:

Baloney! The SEC has NOT been dominant over the BIG 10. In the last 10 years we are split .500 (10-10).

I get tired hearing of the SEC domination, and bowl season rolls around and the SEC loses. One game doesn't make us dominant.

Win some games! I hate the BIG 10 as much as anybody but the SEC does too much chest thumping for no reason. look at the results. AGAIN win some games.

johnlg00 writes:

I'm with the "Go SEC" crowd here. The stupidest bumper sticker I ever saw growing up was "My favorite teams are UT and whoever is playing Alabama."--and I hate Alabama! I wanted every UT opponent to be undefeated when we played them, and to remain undefeated after we played, to the extent possible. My reasoning was simply that we looked better beating quality opponents than beating a bunch of losers. For what it's worth, we also look better LOSING to quality opponents. I couldn't count how many recruits from outside the region who said they came here because they wanted to play for and against the best. A strong SEC HELPS our recruiting. We haven't been holding up our end in the bowls lately, but that isn't the fault of the rest of the SEC. I agree that we need to get better, not by dragging the rest of the conference down, but by building ourselves up.

TommyJack writes:

ElizVOLnc: In this case, I agree with you. Talk is cheap...Beware the badgers...GO VOLS.


1955_Vol ;

I am a smart UT football fan in remission. You don't go to a restraunt if they serve bad food do you? Why should I root for a program that puts out a bad product and underachieves? I am an avid Bruce Pearl fan with the basketball team. That man brings excitement day in and day out unlike his football counter part. Happy Holidays to all!

Southland writes:

when Arkansas had changed to the SEC and won the national championship in basketball the fans were chanting SEC SEC it made me proud and anyone that does not understand conference pride is missing the boat. In the post season it is us against them. Its like family we beat the snot out of each other but we don't want an outsider messing with our family

pdhuff#552644 writes:

Eliztonvol - that is underhanded to include any of Phil's bowl stats in a post, sir. And that "WIN SOME GAMES", hoo boy, that's a reach. You must dwell on the fact we got there, got off the bus and said "Goll-ly, shazam, look at all this" and then get our a## waxed. That, sir, is the course we are staying, like it or not. Good post. Go Vols.

vol52 writes:

I pull for all SEC team in bowl games. I have lived in several other states (pac-10 country) and they all look down on the SEC. If Tennessee has a problem then WE as Fan's of the Vols need to work to correct those short comings. I do not want a misery loves company attitude. Lets make the VOLS better and quit farting around like we have this decade.

hoskinsfive#468391 writes:

The only good thing to ever come out of the NARTH is Santa Claus.

murrayvol writes:

It's the most wonderful time of the year. Reading about the SEC gazelles chasing down and/or running away from the club footed BigTenians.

Thanks John! And now fellow SEC members, get out there and make it so. Go Volunteers!

Merry Christmas to all and to all a good game plan.

bd330794#206783 writes:

you just proved adams point with those five examples. All of those games are fine examples of superior SEC teams not showing up and still only loosing by a couple points. When the big tens best shows up against the SEC's best we get what we had last year in the NCG. DOMINATION!

philfan writes:

The SEC really is the best in the nation, as measured by its success in the out of conference games. Year after year, the winning percentage of its victories over non conference opponents is better than any other conference's winning percentage. That includes the regular season games and the bowl games. The Big Ten, PAC-10, and Big 12 are usually second or third. I always pull for all the SEC teams in bowl games.I agree with johnlg00. When the SEC overall bowl record shines, so does Tennessee. God, I hope we beat Wisconsin, or I will look pretty foolish (I mean FOOL-ish).

LongtimeVol writes:

TommyJack - for my money you are most consistently entertaining poster on this site, but brother you missed this one by a mile. Your note to pdhuff included:

"I'm betting Mrs. PD bakes you fresh, lard laced glazed."

Just a slip I sure since you must know you have to deep fry those puppies for maximum lethal effect! Baking donuts may be okay elsewhere but in the south it is for sissies!

Want to participate in the conversation? Become a subscriber today. Subscribers can read and comment on any story, anytime. Non-subscribers will only be able to view comments on select stories.