John Adams: Gap widening between SEC and everybody else

John Adams

Each year about this time we are reminded that the SEC is a family.

Coaches and administrators will assemble for more family business this Tuesday at a Destin, Fla., resort for the spring meetings, which will continue through Friday.

In the beach-resort setting, you can’t forget how fierce the football competition has become among family members, especially in football.

But no matter how brutal the competition becomes — or how many rivals’ trees perish in the process — the family continues to flourish.

The prosperity is no mystery. It’s as obvious as the Waterford crystal its coaches have held so preciously at the end of the last seven football seasons.

The national championships might be priceless. But SEC football has a huge price tag, which ESPN and CBS are more than happy to pay.

Coming soon: An SEC television network, thanks to ESPN.

It’s enough to make anyone outside the family gag. Just when you think the conference can’t become any more prominent, it wins another championship or brokers another multi-million-dollar deal.

Back-to-back BCS national titles were hard enough for the rest of college football to digest. But “back-to-back” has become no more than a footnote for a league that has won seven consecutive national titles, including several with relative ease.

Agitation is mounting elsewhere.

Last month, a Tulsa World reporter asked Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops about the gap between the SEC and everybody else.

“Well, it depends on what gap you’re talking about,” Stoops said. “What are the bottom six (teams in the SEC) doing?”

Forget the bottom six. How about the bottom four, which last season included Arkansas and Auburn?

Auburn won the national title in 2010. Arkansas finished fifth nationally in 2011.

Ole Miss was the worst team in the SEC in 2011. It won seven games last season. It also came within seconds of beating Texas A&M, which beat Oklahoma by 28 points in the Cotton Bowl.

Check the standings. Ole Miss was in the SEC’s bottom six last season.

Kansas coach Charlie Weis joined Stoops in questioning the overall strength of the SEC by targeting the “bottom six.”

Weis should know something about the SEC’s bottom six. That’s where Florida finished in 2011 when Weis was its offensive coordinator.

This is no time for taking shots at the SEC. Instead, Oklahoma should be applying for membership.

If you had been told in 2005 that the SEC was about to win seven consecutive national championships, Oklahoma would have been on your shortlist of programs capable of preventing such a run.

Ohio State would have been on the same list.

Both have the tradition, the resources and the coaching. And both have had their chances.

Since 2003, Oklahoma and Ohio State each has lost two national championship games to SEC teams.

If I had to pick anyone to derail the SEC’s championship express, it would be Ohio State under former Florida coach Urban Meyer.

But regardless of how formidable a program he builds there, he won’t have the advantage of honing his team against an SEC schedule.

Although he can sign great players, he can’t test them weekly in the SEC. And that makes a difference in the national championship game.

The best way to beat the SEC is to join it.

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

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Comments » 41

volforeverandever writes:

Can't argue with Adams on this one.

BIVOLAR_BEARE writes:

ESPN (who really hates the SEC) is strictly caving in to cash in on the SEC's success. The ironic part about the SEC network is the main loudmouths constantly berating the SEC will have to bow down and kiss their royal rump during telecasts...Too funny.

tovolny writes:

Got any news for us, bro?

laraccoon writes:

was probably the same 30 or 40 years ago , the big ten and other leagues didnt have to play teams from this region because sportswriters decided most of the titles, now it has to be proven on the field , and that hasnt bode well for the rest of the leagues .

Vols4Ever writes:

in response to BIVOLAR_BEARE:

ESPN (who really hates the SEC) is strictly caving in to cash in on the SEC's success. The ironic part about the SEC network is the main loudmouths constantly berating the SEC will have to bow down and kiss their royal rump during telecasts...Too funny.

If there is justice in the world, maybe this time if there is a wannabe potential Heisman candidate from the SEC vs another, who by all rights should win, ESPN/ABC will use all their multiple media platforms to promote the undeserving to boost their ratings. Chris Fowler will have to come up with another term of endearment when those who are robbed justifiably complain.

BIVOLAR_BEARE writes:

in response to Vols4Ever:

If there is justice in the world, maybe this time if there is a wannabe potential Heisman candidate from the SEC vs another, who by all rights should win, ESPN/ABC will use all their multiple media platforms to promote the undeserving to boost their ratings. Chris Fowler will have to come up with another term of endearment when those who are robbed justifiably complain.

Yeah, Chris Fowler the worm that called UT fans a bunch of angry trailer denizens. That's exactly the kind of elitist minded snob I was referring to..

Vols4Ever writes:

in response to BIVOLAR_BEARE:

Yeah, Chris Fowler the worm that called UT fans a bunch of angry trailer denizens. That's exactly the kind of elitist minded snob I was referring to..

Unfortunately, the sword of irony sometimes is double edged. To view some games of interest, we'll have to watch and up their ratings. But it will be fun to watch them fall on that sword as they have to recognize and proclaim the unmatched level of SEC competition.

Southland writes:

If the beat writers knew what was goin on in the south back in the day Notre dumb would never have won a national championship they played no one and the writers knew about no one other than the big 10 and ND.

BIVOLAR_BEARE writes:

in response to Southland:

If the beat writers knew what was goin on in the south back in the day Notre dumb would never have won a national championship they played no one and the writers knew about no one other than the big 10 and ND.

Well, two of ND's titles were because of bowl victories over Bama. I do agree that the old UPI poll was definitely a biased poll geared toward the Big Ten and PAC 10. Even the SWC or Big 8 were getting votes ahead of SEC teams.

fearthehound writes:

Bravo, Adams!!!

calvolfromkingsport writes:

Ahhh, Dixie!

CroKev writes:

Actually, J.A. makes a good argument against Stoops when he points out how "the bottom six" have members who have done REALLY well lately. Furthermore, a lot of former doormat teams (e.g., USCe, Ole Miss, UK, and even Vandy) have made great strides of late so it's going to be harder and harder to talk about the haves and have-nots in the SEC anymore...

SevenT writes:

The real reason the $EC wins is because they will take the dumbest headbangers on the planet and enrol them in some make believe academic program and somehow pretend they are student atheletes.

The ACC, Big Ten and PAC 10 are far superior research and academic Universities so the idiots who end up playing football in the $EC would never make the grade in the ACC, Big Ten or PAC 10.

laraccoon writes:

look at dumb dumb above using multiple screen names ,only thing worse than an idiot is a grown idiot .

nocleats writes:

There were probably 5 SEC schools that would have beat ND last year, and another 3 that would have gone toe to toe and probably had a good chance to win in the end.
Also the "bottom half of the league" got their losses to the top of the league all ranked in the top 10. That argument is flawed as well.

dragon18 writes:

in response to SevenT:

The real reason the $EC wins is because they will take the dumbest headbangers on the planet and enrol them in some make believe academic program and somehow pretend they are student atheletes.

The ACC, Big Ten and PAC 10 are far superior research and academic Universities so the idiots who end up playing football in the $EC would never make the grade in the ACC, Big Ten or PAC 10.

LOL- Reaching again. I'm from ACC country and went to one of those ACC schools you are referring to and had friends at all of the others except MD. Whereas the statement that there are great academic institutions in the ACC (and other conferences you mentioned) is correct, the football players for those grand institutions were as uneducated as the players in the SEC. BTW- SEC Universities are actually very good colleges that are on the cutting edge of technology, research and learning.

CoverOrange writes:

Is this Adams answer to Climer's article on the same subject. Took him two weeks to do the research, but put together a pretty good argument, unlike Climer.

CoverOrange writes:

Some of those "dumb headbangers" go on to make millions in their sport of choice and many more take the education they wouldn't gotten otherwise and do quite nicely. Not everyone is a failure like some want them to be.

gohawks1 writes:

in response to SevenT:

The real reason the $EC wins is because they will take the dumbest headbangers on the planet and enrol them in some make believe academic program and somehow pretend they are student atheletes.

The ACC, Big Ten and PAC 10 are far superior research and academic Universities so the idiots who end up playing football in the $EC would never make the grade in the ACC, Big Ten or PAC 10.

Pretty sure SEC students know how to spell athletes...

rbwtn writes:

Totally with you on this one John especially about Oklahoma applying to the SEC for membership. One thing we must remember, when we don't win a national Championship we will never hear the end of it from the media and other Schools. They will forget how many times we won it and that string will probably never happen again. There is tremendous jealousy against the SEC and frankly I don't give a darn what others think. Soak it up! So Be IT!

cheetah-vol writes:

in response to BIVOLAR_BEARE:

Well, two of ND's titles were because of bowl victories over Bama. I do agree that the old UPI poll was definitely a biased poll geared toward the Big Ten and PAC 10. Even the SWC or Big 8 were getting votes ahead of SEC teams.

That's very true. Gotta wonder, though, that even if the media exposure was as broad in the 50's as it is today, including having espn, would Hornung, on a losing ND team, still have won the Heisman over Majors? Given the Woodson thingy, my hunch they would've promoted the heck out of it for Hornung. Regardless, the way things are now, the proof of superiority is being played on the field. And, the SEC is certainly doing that.

BIVOLAR_BEARE writes:

in response to cheetah-vol:

That's very true. Gotta wonder, though, that even if the media exposure was as broad in the 50's as it is today, including having espn, would Hornung, on a losing ND team, still have won the Heisman over Majors? Given the Woodson thingy, my hunch they would've promoted the heck out of it for Hornung. Regardless, the way things are now, the proof of superiority is being played on the field. And, the SEC is certainly doing that.

I have no doubt they would have pushed the Golden boy, much like the press did back then. Remember, if Geno Smith had any kind of a year after that 700 yard passing game against the Hellen Keller School of the blind, they would have proclaimed him Heisman winner, Doak Walker winner and any other award they could muster. I've got nothing against Geno Smith, but it was funny watching them flip flop after he had several sub par games..

SevenT writes:

in response to BIVOLAR_BEARE:

Yeah, Chris Fowler the worm that called UT fans a bunch of angry trailer denizens. That's exactly the kind of elitist minded snob I was referring to..

I can't stand Fowler....but you and I both know that Fowler was right about this, a significant percentage of UT fans are in fact, "white trailer park trash".

BIVOLAR_BEARE writes:

in response to SevenT:

I can't stand Fowler....but you and I both know that Fowler was right about this, a significant percentage of UT fans are in fact, "white trailer park trash".

Pot & kettle argument..Next! I think we should go lightly on the trailer park comments with so many lives affected by deadly storms in Texas, Oklahoma and Minnesota..Just a thought.

dragon18 writes:

in response to SevenT:

I can't stand Fowler....but you and I both know that Fowler was right about this, a significant percentage of UT fans are in fact, "white trailer park trash".

I mean this in all sincerity SevenT. I think you need to seek some professional help for that personality disorder of yours. You bounce from opportunity to opportunity to try and stir people up on this post. You really seem to be lacking in your social development and or you have some major ego and personality disconnects. Please take $75 or $100 bucks and find a good therapist to talk to for about an hour and see where it goes from there. Life is a great thing and sports is a tremendous and positive outlet both as a fan and a participant. Maybe with some help you can find your "happy place." I wish you the best.

10seVol85_Part_Deux writes:

Yes, the FOOTBALL competition is far more fierce in FOOTBALL than in any of the other sports. I suppose the FOOTBALL competition is pretty fierce in BASKETBALL too, but still nothing compared to the FOOTBALL competition in FOOTBALL.

AllforTenn writes:

When I see "SevenT" or "billythekid" I no longer waste my time reading the comment.

BIVOLAR_BEARE writes:

in response to 10seVol85_Part_Deux:

Yes, the FOOTBALL competition is far more fierce in FOOTBALL than in any of the other sports. I suppose the FOOTBALL competition is pretty fierce in BASKETBALL too, but still nothing compared to the FOOTBALL competition in FOOTBALL.

We don't have women's FB??

dragon18 writes:

in response to AllforTenn:

When I see "SevenT" or "billythekid" I no longer waste my time reading the comment.

Yep, but I feel sorry for SevenT in a way. Can you imagine what it must be like to be the guy who has nothing better to do than find opportunities on a sports comment section every hour every day to make readers angry. How f'ed up of an existence is that? He, even more than billythekid has an obvious personality defect. I mean billythekid is just a guy grasping at all the "could have beens" in his life and that is pretty clear. SevenT is a guy with real problems.

10seVol85_Part_Deux writes:

in response to BIVOLAR_BEARE:

Well, two of ND's titles were because of bowl victories over Bama. I do agree that the old UPI poll was definitely a biased poll geared toward the Big Ten and PAC 10. Even the SWC or Big 8 were getting votes ahead of SEC teams.

Actually, and I didn't look up their national title history specifically, ND beat Bama in bowl games in 1973 and 1975 (1973 and 1974 seasons), finishing unbeaten and #1 in the AP (#4 in the coaches') poll for 1973 and #6 in the AP (#4 in the coaches') poll for 1974.

SevenT writes:

in response to dragon18:

I mean this in all sincerity SevenT. I think you need to seek some professional help for that personality disorder of yours. You bounce from opportunity to opportunity to try and stir people up on this post. You really seem to be lacking in your social development and or you have some major ego and personality disconnects. Please take $75 or $100 bucks and find a good therapist to talk to for about an hour and see where it goes from there. Life is a great thing and sports is a tremendous and positive outlet both as a fan and a participant. Maybe with some help you can find your "happy place." I wish you the best.

Dragon

Just imagine how my wife and children feel?

MikeNPS writes:

The article would be more accurate if it stated that the gap is widening between certain SEC schools and everyone else, including other SEC schools.

RealisticVol writes:

in response to SevenT:

The real reason the $EC wins is because they will take the dumbest headbangers on the planet and enrol them in some make believe academic program and somehow pretend they are student atheletes.

The ACC, Big Ten and PAC 10 are far superior research and academic Universities so the idiots who end up playing football in the $EC would never make the grade in the ACC, Big Ten or PAC 10.

Hmmmm, you need to return those grapes to the store, dude.

dragon18 writes:

in response to SevenT:

Dragon

Just imagine how my wife and children feel?

Haha! I take it all back. That's a great reply!

Original_Witch_Doctor writes:

Witch Doctor says it doesn't matter. If ESPN wants to jump on the SEC Band Wagon and bring cash, let them. If Oklahoma can't beat SEC, it just needs to take beating like a man and shut up. SEC just bigger and badder then all others, like the Witch Doctor.
Bones never lie.

Supersayin1 writes:

Anyone else notice how when he SEC's BCS Titles We are never mentioned? They only talk abut the 7 but never the 8 BCS titles,being that we won the 1st of the BCS era! It's okay we will win another soon!

Witch_Doctors writes:

in response to Original_Witch_Doctor:

Witch Doctor says it doesn't matter. If ESPN wants to jump on the SEC Band Wagon and bring cash, let them. If Oklahoma can't beat SEC, it just needs to take beating like a man and shut up. SEC just bigger and badder then all others, like the Witch Doctor.
Bones never lie.

Witch Doctor say HA! easy to spot fake! Witch Doctor say EVERYONE on this board know Witch Doctor (uh...me, uh..real) as humble and shy!
Witch Doctor say take your plastic Bones and get on up otta here!
Bones never lie.

utvolfan1955 writes:

in response to SevenT:

I can't stand Fowler....but you and I both know that Fowler was right about this, a significant percentage of UT fans are in fact, "white trailer park trash".

I didn't think you were a UT fan

johnlg00 writes:

in response to utvolfan1955:

I didn't think you were a UT fan

This is sarcasm, right? Seventeeth has been a fixture of a troll on here for WAY too long. He has repeatedly demonstrated a willingness to twist or even make up anything that he thinks will make UT look bad. That is his avowed mission in life, pathetic as it is.

kjasonrains#1417907 writes:

I think the "bottom 6" schools in the SEC have the talent equal to the top schools in most confernces. Since most of us are knowledgable of Tennessee's roster, imagine the UT offense playing 9 Pac 12 conference games last year. No, Oregon and Stanford would have killed us, and USC before the injuries probably too, but putting up 50+ a game in 6 or more confernce games would surely give you a higher winning percentage than what we had in the SEC last year whether the D fared better or not, right?

vollaw writes:

in response to gohawks1:

Pretty sure SEC students know how to spell athletes...

and "enroll"

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