I think there is a marketing component to this. Stoops as a head coach in a league cannot say, no matter what the question from a reporter, that his team is not in the toughest conference out there. Coaches in the B1G, Pac 12, and some even in the ACC, will all twist the answer in a way to champion their conferences' accomplishments. If Stoops had said, "Hell yes, the SEC is the best conference," how could he then walk into Texas to compete for players against other outside of Texas recruiters? He has Arkansas, LSU, Alabama, Oklahoma State, Kansas, et al to compete with for the 4 and 5 star Texas recruit who is willing to go out of state. Anyone counted the number of Texas players on OU's roster? And now there is A&M in the SEC? Stoops fan base is not happy with him right now. Getting stomped in post season play by the SEC has to be spun as an annomaly. Stoops is on borrowed time if he does not pull something spectacular out of the hat. And with the recruiting year he just had, that is not likely. His one saving grace, Texas still has Mack Brown as their head coach, so he may be able to tear them up enough again to hold the dogs at bay.
Don’t tell Oklahoma’s Bob Stoops that the SEC is special. When discussing the gap between the Southeastern Conference and his own league, the Big XII, on Monday, the Sooners’ coach had this to say:
“Well, it depends on what gap you’re talking about. What are the bottom six doing?
… So they’ve had the best team in college football. They haven’t had the whole conference. Because, again, half of ‘em haven’t done much at all. I’m just asking you. You tell me...
So you’re listening to a lot of propaganda that gets fed out to you. You’re more than smart enough to figure it out. Again, you can look at the top two, three, four, five, six teams, and you can look at the bottom six, seven, eight, whatever they are. How well are they all doing?”
This is the new argument for folks outside the SEC. “Well, it’s really just a few schools that are good.” Unfortunately, that’s a hollow argument. Here’s why:
|Conference||Teams Winning BCS Titles|
|SEC||5 (Alabama, Auburn, Florida, LSU, Tennessee)|
|Big XII||2 (Oklahoma, Texas)|
|ACC||1 (Florida State)|
|Big East||1 (Miami, FL)|
|Big Ten||1 (Ohio State)|
|Pac-12||1 (Southern Cal – Vacated)|
Has everyone in the SEC won a championship during the BCS era? No, but five teams have… which is more than double the number of title-winning teams any other league has produced in recent years. That seems like a rather sizable gap.
Obviously, no league can have 14 schools all win in a given year. League-mates beat up on one another. But top to bottom — that’s top to bottom – the SEC dominates everyone else come bowl season, sending more teams to bowls and winning almost 60% of those games.
Traditionally speaking, the bottom programs of the SEC have been Kentucky, Mississippi State, Ole Miss, and Vanderbilt. Last season, Vandy beat the ACC’s North Carolina State in a bowl game. The Commodores have won two bowls and been to three since 2008.
Last season, Ole Miss beat the Big East’s Pittsburgh in a bowl game. The Rebels also won a pair of Cotton Bowls over Big XII teams Texas Tech and Oklahoma State in the 2008 and 2009 seasons.
Last season, Mississippi State fell to Northwestern (Big Ten) in its bowl, but the Bulldogs have won their other two bowls since 2009 beating Michigan (Big Ten) and Wake Forest (ACC).
Kentucky has fallen on hard times in recent years, but the Wildcats have been to five bowls since the 2006 season and won three of them (over Clemson, Florida State and East Carolina).
And speaking of the Wildcats, perhaps Mark Stoops can clue his brother in on the dangers of the SEC when he runs the league’s gauntlet for the first time this fall. Though Brother Bob should already know all about the SEC. He’s lost to both LSU and Florida in BCS Championship Games.