Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Speed Kills

Our friend the Sunday Morning QB had some fun at our expense back in early December when we were predicting another OSU beatdown:

No, no, not again. The worst result of last year's mythical championship game was the growth and perpetuation of this absurd notion of superior "SEC speed," based not on the collective 40 times and shuttle drills of hundreds of players on a couple dozen teams that make up the SEC and Big Ten, but on a handful of plays in a single game that was decidedly outside the season-long patterns of both participants, and not demonstrably decided by "speed" (unless you're willing to suggest Tennessee and Arkansas were done in a week earlier by "speed," too, which was at least as plausible).

Anyway, then, the foolish geographical chest-thumping only lasted a few days before the onset of the offseason relegated it to the safe obscurity of message boards and occasional comment thread. This time, do not expect the partisan sons of the South to fall quiet at any point over the next month prior to the Buckeyes' "rematch" (ugh) with LSU; for a sampling of the inane vitriol to come, check this comment thread, or any SEC board, or let the usually sage Gator fans at Saurian Sagacity sum it up in a series of smug that doesn't even apply to their own team:

Ohio State? Tiger Bait.
Congrats to the Bayou Bengals on their bid to the BCS Championship game. Maybe next year we'll get to see OSU get trounced by a third SEC team but I'd prefer it to be the Gators again.

A Friendly Wager
Since Ohio State is to go from "Gator-Bait" to "Ti-Gah Bait" in only 1 year's time, here is a little friendly bet for our conference mates - can you beat the Buckeyes worse than we did?

The "line" is 27 points. We know LSU is going to win - but can the Tigers top a 27 point margin?

Taking all wagers.

Fun Fact: No SEC team has EVER lost a BCS Title game, the only conference undefeated in BCS title play.
While we respect SMQ and all the great stuff he writes...

We told you so!

SEC continues its undefeated streak in BCS sham-pionships (4-0 baby! How many until it's statistically significant?), and LSU does not beat the 27 point margin of victory by the Gators last year.

As I demonstrated in an earlier post. LSU lived up to its "season long pattern" in terms of both scoring offense and defense. Last year the Gators lived up to their "season long pattern" of scoring defense while outperforming their "season long pattern" on scoring offense.

On both occasions it was OSU that was outside its "season-long pattern" by laying an egg on college football's biggest stage.


DolFan 316 said...

God it feels so good to gloat!!! :-)

Anonymous said...

How can any of you gloat? You lost your bowl game to a Big Ten team. So when that happens you move to "conference" gloating? PS No DolFan can gloat these days, and that includes myself.

Henry Gomez said...

I can gloat because I enjoy Schadenfreude. This blog hates the BCS and the Bowls and Poll System. We enjoy pointing out its many flaws. Mismatches in what's supposed to be the "national championship" only leave people wondering if there was another team that really deserved to be on the field with OSU. Last year the pundits said that UF didn't deserve to be there, that the two best teams were in the Big 10. They were wrong. And this year because of the cakewalk schedule they had OSU waltzed into another ass-kicking.

Is that that hard to follow?

Yes UF lost its Bowl game, so what? Most of us knew that losing 9 of 11 starters from a championship defense was going to keep UF from achieving the sorts of goals they achieved last year. But this win by LSU validates again our consistent argument that not all conferences are equal.

Illinois that handed OSU its sole loss took an embarrassing beating of its own at the hands of USC.

I congratulate Michigan. They were the better team. That doesn't take away from the fact that the Big 10 overall was much weaker than the SEC.

JJ Gator said...

Henry, once again you hit the nail on the head and tell it like it is.

Indeed, so fucking what that we lost to Michigan. In spite of the loss and the mistakes we made that cost us that game, at least we didn't get blown out by them. The other three losses by Florida were by close margins and were also caused by costly mistakes, so that should tell you something about the toughness of this team in spite of our having lost all the defensive starters and others we did after the 2006 season.

Last night's win by LSU over Ohio State and our win over the Buckeyes last year is in part testament to the strength of the SEC. Had the Big Ten been a stronger conference, there's no way in HELL you'd have seen the Zooker go 9-3 in the regular season.

Speaking of Illinois, that beating at the hands of USC seemed to have silenced the Zook apologists in the media and elsewhere for the time being. Had they upset the Trojans and won we (1)never would have heard the end of it, and (2) the media castigation of Florida over the Zook firing would have continued.

The SEC will be an even tougher conference, if not more competitive, with Bobby Petrino coming to Arkansas. Our conference has some of the best coaches in college football as well as top-notch talent - as bogus as the polls are a number of SEC teams have maintained slots in the top 25 over the years, and our win-loss record at the bowls as of recent speaks for itself.

I doubt the bickering back-and-forth between the Big Ten and SEC will ever die down anytime soon.

Hey, we're not being "smug" - facts don't lie.

DolFan 316 said...

Preach AWN brutha!!! Florida's loss to Michigan was FAR closer than the Illinois and Suckeyes' capitulations. As LSU's Harry Coleman said, an SEC team fights back even in defeat.

BTW anon, I'm also gloating over the Fins hiring Parcells and firing Cam. This year is ALREADY better than last, and the draft hasn't even happened yet!

SMQ said...

Don't worry: I'll write the same thing next year. It ain't "speed."

Henry Gomez said...

Whatever it is, OSU can't seem to get over on it.

SMQ said...

Whatever it is, it has gotten the SEC 3-3 record againt the Big Ten in bowl games over the last two years and 14-14 over the last nine.

Also, these statements:

"Yes UF lost its Bowl game, so what? Most of us knew that losing 9 of 11 starters from a championship defense was going to keep UF from achieving the sorts of goals they achieved last year."

Ohio State was in the exact same situation with the departure of every starting skill player on last year's offense. Yet Florida gets a pass for this as an excuse for its defeat and Ohio State does not? Double standard.

"Illinois that handed OSU its sole loss took an embarrassing beating of its own at the hands of USC."

Arkansas that handed LSU one its TWO losses took an embarrassing beating of its own at the hands of Missouri. Double standard.

We can do this all night.

SMQ said...

Let me add this - it's not an argument that the SEC is a better conference, which I think can't possible be shown in any empirical way but is within the bounds of expected partisan gloating. I have a real problem with the adjective much, though. It is not much better.

If you wrote posts about Arkansas and Florida getting embarassed in their bowl games and the complete inability of any SEC to win on the West Coast (0-4 in road games at USC, Cal and UCLA this decade, none of them close games), it would be a more respectable position, I would defend the SEC, the same way I defended the SEC against the Wizard of Odds ridiculous analysis of miles traveled to play road games. It's just that you just cherry-pick the other way. "Never as good as you think, never as bad," etc. The truth is always closer to the middle.

Henry Gomez said...


I don't put a lot of stock in bowl games where the teams pitted against each other are not necessarily paired according to the way they finished in their conference. Michigan was the 2nd best team in the Big 10. Florida was the 3rd, possibly the fourth best team in the SEC.

Yes OSU lost a comparable amount of talent, but certainly they still enjoy more upperclassmen on scholarship than Florida (UF had only 21).

But beyond that, I can argue that even given that handicap, Florida would not have lost 3 games playing OSU's schedule.

It may not be speed (but you may want to ask OSU's offensive line) but there's a fact you're conveniently overlooking which is that for at least two years the best team in the SEC was markedly better than the best team in the Big 10 and OSU is still o-fer against the SEC in Bowl games in nine tries.

I don't make myself out to be a tout but I called another romp at OSU's expense and I was right.

Henry Gomez said...

Oh and SEC was the top BCS conference in Bowl games (7-2) while the B10 went 3-5, only the pathetic ACC did worse.

SMQ said...

Again: hyperbole. On the I-A level, Conference USA is pathetic. The ACC is probably not as tough as the SEC overall, but it is a tough enough conference to be in the same class. When I write about the differences, I write about the differences in perceptions more than on-field differences (the ACC certainly is in a down cycles until some team steps forward to fill the power voide left by FSU's demise, which might be Virginia Tech).

I agree about the limited scope of bowl games, but that's the standard you were using to lift the SEC and diss the Big Ten. Historically, these are comparable conferences and whatever power shifts occur between them are very slight, elusive, almost certainly fleeting and impossible to measure (especially some intangible factor like "speed"), to the extent that I don't think they're even worth pointing out. The win was a win for LSU, but the top team doesn't define a conference (what do you think West Virginia's wins over Oklahoma says about the Big East?) any more than the bottom team. I think that goes for all the major conferences to varying degrees. But only slightly varying.

DolFan 316 said...

Actually maybe West Virginia's win *does* say something about the Big East. Since SMQ is so quick to point out the SEC VS Big Ten bowl game record over the last two years, maybe he should do the same for the Big East's bowl record. Hint: it's not too shabby. Also, I'd like to see what the SEC's record VS the ACC has been over the same period. If SMQ doesn't mind that is :-)

BTW what does C-USA have to do with anything? (Scratches head.)