I wanted to put this up last week before the whole Reggie Bush mess broke. These are just some thoughts that I have in regards to the SEC's recent games against the Pac 10.
I was listening to everyone's favorite talk show host Colin Cowherd the other day and he was ranting about how the toughest CFB conference was the SEC. It has been discussed time and again about the tradition, the fan support and the general acceptance that SEC football reigns supreme. For the most part I would agree that over time the SEC has produced some great inter-conference rivalries that have in turn produced some great games.
In this interesting article from The Daily Reveille about the weakness of the Pac 10. It's the same old song and dance about how weak the Pac 10 is and how strong the SEC is. Again that's fine we have not, as a conference, availed ourselves very well of late.
As I have noted in other posts, outside of USC the Pac 10 has not faired well in its games vs. the SEC. But the argument that the SEC is this unstoppable juggernaut to me rings a little bit hollow when you schedule sub-par teams like Louisiana-Lafayette, Buffalo and Tulane. It is what it is; the whole culture of college athletics is different on the west coast than it is in other parts of the country. The familial and community bonds that we see in regards to college sports in the SEC are a different type of animal than that of the Pac 10.
Variety plays a huge factor. College football is just not as important to the average fan on the west coast than it is in other parts of the country. With a bevy of pro teams in the LA area the local sports fan has more to pick from, hence CFB must share the fan base. Kyle has made some excellent comments in this area. He also points out there is just more to do on a Saturday in the fall than there is in Starkville. USC has been leading the news for some time now but there were some down years and it was just ho-hum without anything to really cheer about.
Another example is the recent moving of the band and reduction in the availability of seats to undergraduates. SEC schools regularly fill their massive stadiums to capacity year in and year out because of the passion SEC fans feel about their respective programs.
If you are big time football prospect you have a number of questions to ask yourself upon choosing a school. Program exposure, playing time and level of competition are all factors that recruits must consider in their quest for the right fit. The Pac 10 has its stars but recently SC has taken most of the spotlight.
There is no question that the SEC has some proud tradition when it comes to college football. The only problem is that their success has been down of late. With respect to the UGA faithful, when Georgia can't get up for a game in their house against the winner of another perceived weaker conference this supposed stronger conference theory to me goes out the window. If the SEC is so great than they should be running up BCS Titles.
If the Pac 10 is such a weak conference then why doesn't the SEC flock to schedule games against the Pac 10 more often? If we're cupcakes than you would think they would be beating down the door to schedule a few extra easy wins to pad their schedule. Tennessee, and only Tennessee, has had the stones to take a chance and continually schedules tough OOC opponents.
Obviously this is a discussion about football, but the Pac 10 has a proud tradition of athletic achievement. Outside of USC's football prowess there is USC's 12 national titles in baseball. How about UCLA, who are about to win 100 NC's in all sports lead by their 12 titles in basketball? Stanford is no slouch either. My point is that all conferences have their ups and downs. The past few weekends have been a downer for the Pac 10 in regards to our games vs. the SEC. It happens and we'll get through it. But as I said before, if we're so soft than why not schedule us more often.
This is not meant to be a shot at the SEC. They have a proud tradition no question and I have enjoyed watching their conference games. But I would like to see them go out their way to schedule games with the top tier schools in the conference on a more regular basis. When that happens then we can have a more thorough discussion on who's the better conference.