Mike Strange: SEC hype deserved? Yes

Mike Strange

When it comes to college football, nobody can touch the SEC. Stand aside, lower your head and blah, blah blah ...

"I can't speak for the Pac-10 boys or the ACC,'' Jim Chaney said Wednesday, "but I'm sure they all get tired of hearing about the SEC.''

I'm sure they do, too. So do the Texas boys and the Florida State boys and the Ohio State boys. So do the Boise boys.

Chaney's been around, out west, Big Ten, the NFL. He's in year three of his current gig as Tennessee's offensive coordinator. So he knows what mayhem awaits Saturday when the Vols arrive at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium to play Florida.

No offense Montana or Cincinnati, but it's what UT coach Derek Dooley calls big-boy football. As far as college football goes, it's the greatest show on earth.

Excuse me while I plagiarize the talk Commissioner Mike Slive gives every July to kick off the Media Days event which, by the way, attracts hundreds of media types from across the nation.

You can probably recite it yourself but here goes:

The SEC has won the past five national championships and is 7-0 in BCS Championship games, beginning with UT's win over Florida State in 1998.

It's not just about national championships. During the five-year title run the SEC is 8-2 in BCS bowls. No other league has more than four wins.

Take a bow fans, er, fanatics. The SEC leads the nation annually in attendance. Last year the average was 76,719 per game. League games played to 98.51 percent of capacity.

The teams are the best because the players are the best.

Three of the past four Heisman winners are from the SEC. Last year, besides the Heisman, an SEC player won the Jim Thorpe (defensive back), Ray Guy (punter), Davey O'Brien (quarterback), Mackey (tight end) and Lombardi (down lineman) awards.

Five of the top NFL draft picks were from the SEC. Of the 32 first-round selections, 10 were from the SEC. Incredible. Got to be a record.

No, actually, in 2007 there were 11 first-round picks from the SEC.

"Obviously,'' said Alex Bullard, "you've got to look at the facts.''

Bullard, an offensive lineman, began his career at Notre Dame and transferred to UT this year.

"There are good players and good programs all over the country,'' said Bullard, "but the SEC has been dominant. We all know that.''

Another UT lineman, Zach Fulton, is from Illinois, the heart of Big Ten country. When Tennessee took an interest in Fulton, he took an interest in playing in the nation's most demanding conference.

"I could definitely see it was the best,'' Fulton said. "And it's definitely lived up to it.''

So Saturday it's back to big-boy football. Everything will cranked up a notch from the week before.

"It's going to be different, across the board,'' said defensive coordinator Justin Wilcox. "The o-line, tight end, fullbacks, tailbacks, wideouts, they're all bigger and faster.''

Different across the board. In so many ways.

"Just the atmospheres you play in,'' said Chaney. "Football is so doggone important down here and the kids feel it, the pressure to win and have success.''

And if you want to argue that point in Ann Arbor or Austin or Eugene, well, obviously, you've got to look at the facts.

Mike Strange may be reached at strangem@knoxnews.com. Follow him at http://twitter.com/strangemike44 and http://blogs.knoxnews.com/strange.

© 2011 govolsxtra.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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Comments » 20

tulelakevol writes:

Good column.

murrayvol writes:

And no measure of conference realignment will change this truth.

wigmeister writes:

in response to smoky_moUnTain_sasqUaTch:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

So true!

TNVOLFN writes:

Jim Chaney is the man. He is a real straight forward speaker and a brilliant offensive coordinator on top of that.

Go Vols!

give_him_6 writes:

Nice story!!

BigVolFaninSC writes:

That's right! During the bowl games I always pull for the SEC team against the other conferences, especially the ACC! It used to be the Big Ten, but they've dropped so far it's not competitive anymore! And the better the SEC does, the better players we will get in recruiting because they want to play against the best competition!

Time to step it up Commode-doors!

born2ride writes:

The SEC is the top conference even with Vandy and the Black Rebel Bears.

SeminaryVol writes:

Look I am Tennessee born and raised and a huge Vols fan, but I just don't get the SEC obsession and am tired of the over the top obnoxiousness. Personally, I want to see Georgia and Florida lose every game they play.

I have no doubt the SEC is the toughest conference from top to bottom and definitely has the best game day atmospheres. I just don't see why we have to utterly disrespect every other team that shows any inkling of contending on the national stage. With five straight national titles can't we acknowledge that just maybe there are pretty decent teams in Norman, Madison, Eugene, and yes, Boise without feeling threatened? I mean come on, Go Vols, and who cares about the rest.

If you want to talk facts, as of last season's end the Pac 10 was 12-10 vs. the SEC since 2000 with USC, Oregon, and UCLA a combined 11-1 against the SEC. In addition our Vols went 1-4 as you might recall. This is hardly a dominant performance against those pansy, west coasters. I'm not saying the Pac 12 or any other conference is better than the SEC, I'm just saying lets stop all this unnecessary and unproductive arrogance and cheer for the Vols. GBO and beat Florida!

mikec1000000 writes:

in response to SeminaryVol:

Look I am Tennessee born and raised and a huge Vols fan, but I just don't get the SEC obsession and am tired of the over the top obnoxiousness. Personally, I want to see Georgia and Florida lose every game they play.

I have no doubt the SEC is the toughest conference from top to bottom and definitely has the best game day atmospheres. I just don't see why we have to utterly disrespect every other team that shows any inkling of contending on the national stage. With five straight national titles can't we acknowledge that just maybe there are pretty decent teams in Norman, Madison, Eugene, and yes, Boise without feeling threatened? I mean come on, Go Vols, and who cares about the rest.

If you want to talk facts, as of last season's end the Pac 10 was 12-10 vs. the SEC since 2000 with USC, Oregon, and UCLA a combined 11-1 against the SEC. In addition our Vols went 1-4 as you might recall. This is hardly a dominant performance against those pansy, west coasters. I'm not saying the Pac 12 or any other conference is better than the SEC, I'm just saying lets stop all this unnecessary and unproductive arrogance and cheer for the Vols. GBO and beat Florida!

I dont believe this article is disrespecting individual institutions such as OU, Wisconsin, Oregon, etc. There are many great teams across the country. Collectively, however, the SEC, year in and year out, proves itself to be the superior conference. Take any team out of the SEC and place them in any other conference and I feel certain they would be competetive, if not contending. Place a Baylor, Northwestern, Arizona, or Wake Forest in the SEC and they will be bottom feeders. I too love to see Florida lose to anyone in the SEC, but, if they come up against someone like Ohio St, Penn St, USC, you're darn skippy that I will want the SEC team to win. Football would be a bit more boring if everyone were independent.

rtrchatt writes:

SECW is heads/tails ahead of SECE for the 3rd yr in a row.

VolBy3 writes:

in response to rtrchatt:

SECW is heads/tails ahead of SECE for the 3rd yr in a row.

Excellent observation bright-eyes. That is why the SEC is so exciting as a whole. Things change. Just like right now, UT is on its way back up and UF is sinking lower. The East will also overtake the West in time, but overall, the SEC rules!

All4VOLS!!

SeminaryVol writes:

in response to mikec1000000:

I dont believe this article is disrespecting individual institutions such as OU, Wisconsin, Oregon, etc. There are many great teams across the country. Collectively, however, the SEC, year in and year out, proves itself to be the superior conference. Take any team out of the SEC and place them in any other conference and I feel certain they would be competetive, if not contending. Place a Baylor, Northwestern, Arizona, or Wake Forest in the SEC and they will be bottom feeders. I too love to see Florida lose to anyone in the SEC, but, if they come up against someone like Ohio St, Penn St, USC, you're darn skippy that I will want the SEC team to win. Football would be a bit more boring if everyone were independent.

Well said. I'm not saying I always cheer against the SEC. It's just that I am tired of hearing people I know act like it disrespects the SEC to say there actually is pretty good football being played elsewhere too.

Although I will point out those teams you mentioned are traditionally bottom feeders in their own conferences as well.

Noogaorange writes:

in response to Mama_Calls_Me_Precious:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

You are a complete idiot.......Screw you

pete3397 writes:

Right now I can think of at least 3 Pac-12 teams that could easily be SEC contenders, especially against the East: Stanford, USC (yuk), and Oregon, even after losing to LSU. Maybe even Arizona State (if they played in the east).

What the SEC has relative to the other big conferences is consistency. The Pac-12 is often a see-saw of up-and-down programs. People forget that USC was down for quite a while and Stanford and Oregon are relatively recent national phenomena. Five or six years ago, Washington State was on fire and even handily beat Texas in the Holiday Bowl. but, year in, year out, there are always SEC teams in contention, in BCS bowls, in the bigger non-BCS bowls, and constantly in the national conversation. No other conference has that sort of competitive consistency.

TheOrangePants writes:

in response to murrayvol:

And no measure of conference realignment will change this truth.

If anything, the realignment may even make us more dominant and overwhelming. I'm not really for the realignment, but it's going to happen.

Volunatic writes:

in response to Mama_Calls_Me_Precious:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

I will admit that I root for all SEC teams except uf and bama in football non-conf games, and except for Kentucky in basketball non-conf games.

TeeBall writes:

in response to SeminaryVol:

Look I am Tennessee born and raised and a huge Vols fan, but I just don't get the SEC obsession and am tired of the over the top obnoxiousness. Personally, I want to see Georgia and Florida lose every game they play.

I have no doubt the SEC is the toughest conference from top to bottom and definitely has the best game day atmospheres. I just don't see why we have to utterly disrespect every other team that shows any inkling of contending on the national stage. With five straight national titles can't we acknowledge that just maybe there are pretty decent teams in Norman, Madison, Eugene, and yes, Boise without feeling threatened? I mean come on, Go Vols, and who cares about the rest.

If you want to talk facts, as of last season's end the Pac 10 was 12-10 vs. the SEC since 2000 with USC, Oregon, and UCLA a combined 11-1 against the SEC. In addition our Vols went 1-4 as you might recall. This is hardly a dominant performance against those pansy, west coasters. I'm not saying the Pac 12 or any other conference is better than the SEC, I'm just saying lets stop all this unnecessary and unproductive arrogance and cheer for the Vols. GBO and beat Florida!

I think you might be a bit shortsighted. The reason the true SEC fan pulls for other SEC teams when they play teams from outside our conference is that it emphasizes and confirms the dominance of the SEC versus the rest of the nation.

Why is this important? Consider Boise State, TCU and other good teams that play in weak conferences. Because they play weak schedules (primarily due to their weak conference affiliations) they have a difficult time getting national respect and getting into the NC game or any major bowl game whereas any team from the SEC with one or even two losses will get consideration for these same bowl games.

Do you think the SEC would be in this position of superiorty if they lost the majority of the games they played against teams from other conferences? Of course not.

This grasshopper is why the knowledgeable SEC fan pulls for other SEC teams to do well.

Go Vols !!!

ChrisUTvol writes:

in response to Mama_Calls_Me_Precious:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Precious Knucklehead.

SeminaryVol writes:

in response to TeeBall:

I think you might be a bit shortsighted. The reason the true SEC fan pulls for other SEC teams when they play teams from outside our conference is that it emphasizes and confirms the dominance of the SEC versus the rest of the nation.

Why is this important? Consider Boise State, TCU and other good teams that play in weak conferences. Because they play weak schedules (primarily due to their weak conference affiliations) they have a difficult time getting national respect and getting into the NC game or any major bowl game whereas any team from the SEC with one or even two losses will get consideration for these same bowl games.

Do you think the SEC would be in this position of superiorty if they lost the majority of the games they played against teams from other conferences? Of course not.

This grasshopper is why the knowledgeable SEC fan pulls for other SEC teams to do well.

Go Vols !!!

I hear you. Maybe saying I want Georgia and Florida to lose every game is overstating my case a bit. I am just reacting against a sentiment I hear a lot among friends and family. They act like its a stain on Southern honor or something if an SEC team suffers a non-conference defeat. All I'm saying is SEC fans can have confidence enough in their dominance to recognize the fact that other teams around the country are pretty good, and maybe even relish the occasional humbling of a rival (aka Boise over Georgia). With 5 consecutive BCS titles, I don't think one early season game over a Georgia team that went 6-7 last year is going to negatively impact the league.

Go Vols. Beat Florida!

Colliervol writes:

in response to Mama_Calls_Me_Precious:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

I have underwear older than Florida's football tradition.

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