By Shane from Centerpoint
SEC Commissioner Mike Slive should send a special thank-you note to Urban Meyer and Houston Nutt. He could add Mark Richt to the list as well. Those three head coaches helped salvage the nation’s perception that the SEC is America’s toughest football conference. He could also acknowledge Gene Chizik and Bob Petrino, who were at least able to deliver a “W”, even if their teams struggled to defeat a couple of bottom-feeders. But Lane Kiffin, Steve Spurrier, Les Miles, and Rich Brooks all let him down, while leaving a negative impression that displayed more pretender than contender.
Give the Florida Gators credit. They didn’t tank after losing the SEC title game like Alabama did last year. Super Timmy and his “Fighting Tebows” blasted Cincinnati like they had them at home and were paying them money. Actually, Tebow’s precision performance was the best of his career and left America with no doubt that he is the best college player to ever step on the gridiron.
The Ole Miss defense dominated one of the Big 12’s most productive offenses, holding Oklahoma State to just seven points. Little Dexter McCluster out–ran the entire Cowboy defense all day. He is concrete proof that “speed kills”. Jevan Sneed is a “turnover waiting to happen”. He proved that an SEC team could dominate a Big 12 opponent even with a mistake-prone quarterback.
Georgia finished the regular season strong by beating the ACC champ, Georgia Tech. Then they gave a strong bowl performance by whipping yet another Big 12 team, the Texas A&M Aggies. Georgia stood tall for the SEC.
Auburn’s contest with Northwestern was one of the strangest football games I’ve ever seen. Auburn eventually won the game, but did they display the characteristics of a tough SEC squad? No! The game looked like a West Coast special, with two PAC 10 teams playing. It just seemed like Auburn won using smoke, mirrors, and trickery instead of SEC might. And, in the end, Northwestern missed three straight field goals to hand the victory to Auburn.
The same goes for the Arkansas Razorbacks. What in the world were they doing locked in a shoot-out with a conference USA team? Is this the same team that took Florida to the wire? I guess Bob Petrino forgot to add defensive game–planning to his bowl–practice schedule.
Nonetheless, the last two teams did join the other three in the victory column – where it counts.
The other four SEC bowl participants embarrassed the entire conference by getting whipped worse physically than on the scoreboard.
Tennessee allowed the ACC’s third-best team to slap them around. Virginia Tech had its way with the Vols, thoroughly dominating Lane Kiffin’s boys in every phase of the game. Kiffin took his team and the SEC’s image a few steps backwards by appearing so weak.
LSU was outmatched in the mud. It was apparent from the beginning that Penn State wanted to win more than the Tigers did. LSU did not fight like an SEC team should. As usual, Les Miles appeared clueless. Truthfully, the conference should expect more from LSU. I hope the Tiger fans do.
South Carolina is perhaps the most disappointing loser of all. Watching Steve Spurrier get shellacked by a Big East basketball school was painful, to say the least. The saddest part about the game was the fact that the Gamecocks weren’t even competitive.
As far as Kentucky is concerned, why do we really care? Do they really care? The football program already plays second fiddle to the basketball team at Kentucky, so what does a little bowl loss mean? Kentucky should join the Big East where they belong.
Kentucky’s coach Rich Brooks is holding a news conference today to perhaps announce his retirement. Perhaps Steve Spurrier should do likewise.
In summary, when the nation’s bowl committees give the SEC enough respect to place their teams in ten bowls, the league’s teams should be very good. So far, only three fit the description. Two others did hold on to survive, and saved face by winning their games.
Nevertheless, the other four losses cancel four of the wins, leaving the SEC one game above .500.
Alabama’s national championship victory will only raise the record to 6-wins and 4-losses. Simply put, sixty-percent does not meet SEC standards, nor does it help their status in next year’s pre-season polls.
Shane writes a weekly column for the Call News and the Capstone Report.