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 firstname.lastname@example.org.