John Adams: Experience is a tough teacher in the SEC

John Adams

Texas A&M and Missouri took part in their first SEC teleconference Tuesday. Too bad the format of the post-spring football media session wasn't more accommodating to the new guys.

They should have been allowed to ask questions as well as answer them.

Texas A&M and Missouri might know the SEC by reputation. But they won't know what they're getting into until they're into it.

My advice: Don't get comfortable. SEC football prides itself in tradition, not longevity.

Look what just happened at Arkansas. The Razorbacks began the spring with Bobby Petrino as their coach. Then, someone named Taver Johnson was supposed to represent them on the teleconference. His appearance was canceled following the previous day's hiring of John L. Smith, to whom Arkansas feels so good about that it's contractually obligated to him for a whole 10 months.

You want job security in SEC football? Win national championships and stay off motorcycles.

If Missouri coach Gary Pinkel and Texas A&M Kevin Sumlin really want to appreciate how shaky SEC ground can be, they only have to do a background check for the last few years.

Seven of the 13 coaches on Tuesday's teleconference weren't SEC head coaches in December of 2009. Those seven coaches wouldn't have felt any more secure if they had listened to LSU coach Les Miles, who was asked if his team was still suffering a hangover from last season.

Miles pointed out that his team was 13-1, was ranked No. 1 in the country for 11 weeks and beat national champion Alabama on its home field. All of that was forgotten by most LSU fans after the second meeting with Alabama, which — even Miles would have to admit — didn't go as planned. The moral to the story: An SEC team playing for a national title doesn't have to

win the game to keep its fans happy, but it's advised to gain at least 100 yards in the process.

Pinkel and Sumlin know all about gaining yards. Missouri averaged 476 yards per game to rank 12th nationally last season. Sumlin's Houston team was No. 1, averaging 599 yards per game — or about as many yards as LSU would gain in six national championship games against Alabama.

Longtime SEC fans must laugh at those averages, which, in Houston's case, were accumulated in Conference USA — college football's equivalent of the Arena League. And the Big 12 is the BCS equivalent of Conference USA.

Half of the Big 12 teams ranked from 95th to 120th in total defense in 2011. Contrast that with the SEC, where four teams ranked in the top five nationally in total defense.

There's another side to that, though. While Pinkel's and Sumlin's up-tempo, spread offenses won't produce the same outrageous totals of past seasons, they will challenge SEC defenses. South Carolina coach Steve Spurrier has firsthand experience with that.

"We had Missouri in Shreveport (at the 2005 Independence Bowl)," he said. "We had a big lead but they came back and beat us. I think we got two good teams (in expansion)."

Pinkel's other recent memories of the SEC won't make him uncomfortable. The Tigers have won their last four games against SEC teams, and they didn't score fewer than 34 points in any of them.

Winning a random game against an SEC team is one thing. Winning your way through an SEC season is quite another.

South Carolina, which joined the conference in 1992, can vouch for that. The Gamecocks didn't have a winning record in conference play until their ninth season.

By then, they were on their third SEC head coach.

John Adams is a senior columnist. He may be reached at 865-342-6284 or adamsj@knoxnews.com. Follow him at http://twitter.com/johnadamskns.

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Comments » 10

rtrchatt writes:

Speaking of teachers, how about that classroom
performance of the 2011 ut fb program. A 1.9 GPA for the scholly players. WOW. Sounds like more classes being skipped than attended.

Just for a litle comparison consider this, Bama had 38 fb players make that All SEC Academic Honor Roll Fall 2011. Jones, Hightower, Richardson to name just a few on that list. I promise you there is a parallel between taking care of your business in the classroom and winning on the field. 22 college graduates dressed out for the CT in 2009 against Texas in the BCSNCG. The starting QB had his Masters degree completed. Enjoy watching the NFL Draft Thurs or should we say the Alabama selection show. RT

CroKev writes:

The UT / Mizzou game could break all kinds of scoring records then unless Sanseri is the real deal. Should be a fun game with UT's great receivers going again Dorial-Beckham (nation's top recruit) of Mizzou.

CroKev writes:

in response to rtrchatt:

Speaking of teachers, how about that classroom
performance of the 2011 ut fb program. A 1.9 GPA for the scholly players. WOW. Sounds like more classes being skipped than attended.

Just for a litle comparison consider this, Bama had 38 fb players make that All SEC Academic Honor Roll Fall 2011. Jones, Hightower, Richardson to name just a few on that list. I promise you there is a parallel between taking care of your business in the classroom and winning on the field. 22 college graduates dressed out for the CT in 2009 against Texas in the BCSNCG. The starting QB had his Masters degree completed. Enjoy watching the NFL Draft Thurs or should we say the Alabama selection show. RT

Have you considered where Bama ranks in the world university rankings against UT? I thought not.
http://www.timeshighereducation.co.uk...

born2ride writes:

Does Dooley have job security in SEC football?

VolinCalif writes:

in response to Sammy_Burklows_Revenge:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Should_Be_Retured
Naa. just junk it.

tovolny writes:

No posters so far have posted comments relating to what John Adams said. No wonder...
I don't have a clue what he said either. Something about LSU wins. And, complaining about LSU not running the ball very well against Bama. Looks to me like he should have posted his garbage on an LSU site. Just his way of showing us how bad we are and how great LSU has been lately. DON"T YOU LOVE HIM, FOLKS?

NashvillePreds writes:

As sad as it is, Mizzou has to at least feel comfortable about their chances of winning in Ktown this year.

troubleinc writes:

in response to Sammy_Burklows_Revenge:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Dooleave this, bamboo that, oh you're so funny. Your shtick is getting old dude. Get a life and find a new board please. I said GOOD DAY sir.

NashvillePreds writes:

in response to rtrchatt:

Speaking of teachers, how about that classroom
performance of the 2011 ut fb program. A 1.9 GPA for the scholly players. WOW. Sounds like more classes being skipped than attended.

Just for a litle comparison consider this, Bama had 38 fb players make that All SEC Academic Honor Roll Fall 2011. Jones, Hightower, Richardson to name just a few on that list. I promise you there is a parallel between taking care of your business in the classroom and winning on the field. 22 college graduates dressed out for the CT in 2009 against Texas in the BCSNCG. The starting QB had his Masters degree completed. Enjoy watching the NFL Draft Thurs or should we say the Alabama selection show. RT

That is an amazing performance. Considering the state of Alabubba can't maintain a proper power grid.
On top of that Bham just declared the largest municipal bankruptcy in the history of the United States of America.
But hey, at least the football team is decent.

Alabubba is to football as Jamaica is to track.
That's all there is in their impoverished lands.

Brylaw4 writes:

in response to NashvillePreds:

As sad as it is, Mizzou has to at least feel comfortable about their chances of winning in Ktown this year.

I can confirm your suspicions. I'm a Mizzou grad and fan who attended the UK/UT game this year with my UK wife and inlaws. I went to the concession stand and saw a guy wearing A&M colors and I commented to him that based on what I saw, I sure wasn't afraid of playing either team I was watching - both of them from the mighty SEC. Don't get me wrong, I'm thrilled to be joining a stable and egalitarian conference for the first time since Texas and its instate posse wrecked the league, but starting your comment with "As sad as it is. . ." is another example of the insulated view of national sports that the SEC is known for outside the South. Guess what? Mizzou has won more games in the last six years than all but seven teams. We've been ranked number one and only missed the BCS championship game because we got beat by Oklahoma in the B12 game. We have a winning record against the SEC. The B12 may be an insane asylum, but they know what a football looks like and comparing them to CUSA is just ignorant.

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