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Thursday, May 31, 2007

Oy. SMQ highlights a veritable barrage of Michigan-bashing coming out of the mouths of SEC coaches. Some of it is implied and has been addressed here. But cholesterol-addled Phil Fulmer throws a new, stupid log on the fire:

"The regular-season conference schedules we play in the SEC are very difficult. Maybe some of the other conferences have teams like Michigan that play just two or three tough conference games a year. Maybe a plus-one playoff concept would make sense."
If there's one thing I'm sick of in college football, it's conference this and conference that. I do not care and stick to the same script I have since forever: they're all basically the same save for the smallish Big East (and the suddenly powerless ACC, but let's withhold judgment on that for at least another year or two). But SMQ calls...
I'll let Brian vent and rebut that old news, but he'll have to come up with something new for Phil Fulmer's more direct shot
...and I respond.

For all the derision heaped upon the infamous Jim Delaney open letter, it did contain a salient piece of information: over the last decade, the Big Ten and SEC have played each other twenty-six times in bowl games and have split them exactly down the middle. Since regular season games between the two conferences are without exception either imbalanced beatdowns a la Michigan-Vanderbilt or irrelevant a la Indiana-Kentucky, -- which you may or may not know is an annual occurrence -- the bowl record is the only real data point we have on the relative strengths of the conferences. It says the two are equal; if you are inclined to view games in Florida or Nashville or wherever else as virtual road games for the Big Ten then you would have to give the Big Ten a slight advantage despite the outcome of one singularly embarrassing national championship game.

As for Fulmer's assertion, sorry, no sale. Both Mississippi teams, Vanderbilt, and Kentucky are perennial wrecks. South Carolina and Arkansas have never really done anything; over the past decade or so are they really more accomplished than Purdue or, hell, even Minnesota? Alabama is now Michigan State with a really buff history. (Hey... they've even got the same coach.) I don't mean this as disrespect to the SEC. It is obviously a fine football conference with many teams featuring sharp, pointy teeth. But to declare one conference or the other clearly superior is ridiculous. The bottom of the SEC is just as repugnant as the bottom of other conferences, and the nougaty middle is no less soft. When the two conferences meet the results on the field -- again, the only actual data point we have -- are dead even. This discussion should end.

(I deserve a cookie for getting through that without even one ill-considered stereotypical remark about the south. Peanut butter, please.)

More! Rebuttal! Sort! Of! Not sure what prompted Cornhusker blog Corn Nation to dredge up the old '97 M-NU controversy, but dredge they did:
As season’s end approached Nebraska beat Texas A&M 54-15 in the Big 12 Title game and in the last game of Osborne’s career destroyed number three-ranked Tennessee, 42-17, in the Orange Bowl.

Michigan ended their season hanging on to beat a Washington State squad in the Rose Bowl, 21-16. Washington State got the ball back at their own seven yard line with 29 seconds left. They drove to the nine yard line with two seconds left when officials ruled that time had run off the clock, thus ending the game. Had Michigan beaten the Cougars more soundly things might have been different. ...

Perhaps the writers had revenge in mind Nebraska - payback for the ‘94 season title when they were voted number one in both polls while Penn State had also gone undefeated - something that Penn State fans haven’t forgotten after all these years.

The ‘97 National Title to Osborne as a gift from his fellow coaches? No. He got it the old-fashioned way. He earned it.

Any Michigan fan immediately perked up at the erroneous Rose Bowl ending described -- WSU was on the 28 or something and was only there because of history's most egregious uncalled offensive pass interference penalty -- but... yeah, sorry, I'm with them. Nebraska deserved a share of the '97 title even considering the infamous kicked ball against Missouri. Given the system in place at that point, that was the only just outcome. Did the coaches know the outcome they were enacting when they voted for Osborne? No. Did the writers when they voted for Michigan? No. Voting is still stupid and dangerous. But by a happy accident of history, both teams can claim national titles in '97 that they deserve. Corn Nation is also with me on this:
The two teams were very close in terms of their schedules and their records. Homerism aside - both deserved the title and since they couldn't settle it on the field a split was the right thing to do.
What I would like to see from Nebraska fans is an admission that Penn State deserved a share of the '94 title, which they did.

Note that there will be no budging on the Heisman issue -- it as Woodson's, by God, and if you think otherwise you're moonshine addled and possibly (feh!) confederate! -- in this space as long as its proprietor breathes free, abolitionist Yankee air.

Mallett. I saw Mallett video on Youtube and panted in expectation. It's not much, but here's 40 uninteresting seconds:


Rules and such. I think I already blew the cookie, so I may as well go for it... two proposals are getting kicked around by coaches. One, an early signing period, is a good idea that will allow kids who want to sign early to get their recruitment done and will prevent vultures from swooping in and playing pied decommit piper. The other, a fifth year of eligibility for football, is a silly idea that will only increase the sketchy practices of coaches who wish for noncontributing members of the team to leave and free up scholarship slots for their 35-member freshman classes. Naturally, the SEC is against the former and bang on board with the latter.

Urban Meyer's burgeoning reputation as sort of a huge dickhead won't be helped by this quote:
"I'm a big fan of it," Meyer said. "We've increased the season by one game with limited scholarships. In the SEC, you get guys beat up. I'd love to see that proposal go through. Every year we do that it gets blown up.

"It just makes too much sense. Sometimes some things come across and I say, 'Yes, absolutely.' And it doesn't happen. I'd like to know who makes those decisions. It's unbelievable."
Note the de rigeur "in the SEC we have it tough" and the disingenuous assertion that one extra game against Western Carolina or Appalachian State that's over by the second quarter imposes an unbearable strain upon already stretched-to-the-max student athletes. He's kind of a tool, isn't he?


Foxran said...

Let me say this on behalf of UT fans: Fulmer might have cracked on Michigan (although it really hasn't been reported down here - your post is the first I've heard of it) but in reality no one here thinks of Michigan in bad terms. If memory serves I believe the SEC had a good bit of success against UM in bowl games lately, but that's just off the top of my head. In reality, we owe our success to beating the sleaze-sauce out of Tosu in every sport imaginable. I'm pretty sure we kicked the crap out of them in "crew" this year. God knows as a Vol fan I don't want any more of Penn State any time soon. As for Tosu, they're the ones giving the Big Ten a bad rap down south.

- ShoalCreekVol

Foxran said...

Decided to pass this along from the Knoxville media, based on my earlier comment:

SEC owes Ohio State for success

May 27, 2007

The SEC is making more money than ever. It's winning more national championships than ever.

Amidst such success, it's appropriate the league honor those who have helped it achieve fame and fortune.

That's why, on the eve of this year's SEC spring meetings, I'm proposing the conference present a "lifetime achievement award" to a school from another conference that has made a significant contribution to the success of the SEC. And there's no debating who the first winner should be.

It's "The Ohio State University."

That's the same Ohio State University that gained all of 82 yards in a 41-14 loss to Florida in the BCS national championship game in January. That's also the same Ohio State University that lost to Florida in the Final Four national championship game.

Don't think Florida wasn't grateful to Ohio State. A former Gator by the name of Steve Spurrier said, "It's looks like we've officially made Ohio State Runner-up U."

But Ohio State's contributions to the SEC extend beyond one school or one year.

In the 1978 Sugar Bowl, Bear Bryant's Alabama team beat Woody Hayes' Ohio State team 35-6. That was the first of eight consecutive Ohio State bowl losses to SEC teams.

In January of 2002, South Carolina won bowl games in consecutive years for the first time in school history. Guess whom it beat both times.

Answer: The Ohio State University.

Aside from the national championship game victory in 1999, Tennessee's biggest bowl win of the Phillip Fulmer era was against favored Ohio State in the 1996 Citrus Bowl. Auburn's most one-sided bowl victory of the last 30 years was against Ohio State.

Even Georgia's Ray Goff won a bowl game against Ohio State.

OMG, speaking of cracking on somebody...that Ray Goff comment was a cheap shot!

Anonymous said...

"In reality, we owe our success to beating the sleaze-sauce out of Tosu in every sport imaginable."

I've been sitting here thinking for the past 10 minutes, trying to determine a sport that the Vols beat OSU in this year, or any recent year, for that matter. I remember the Citrus/Monsoon Bowl back in 1995, and the Lady Vols and Lady Bucks played an NCAA tourney game back in the late 90s, but other than that, I cannot recollect a time when Tennessee has ever beaten Ohio State. The 2 teams just don't play very much.

I watched Ohio State dominate UT at this year's crew championships here in Oak Ridge, however, the Bucks still finished 3rd (behind Brown and Virginia).

I grew up in Knoxville, got my undergrad ME degree at OSU, and got my masters in nuclear engineering at UT, and I must say, there is one team that I actually hate more than that state from up north, and that is Tennessee. It's not really the team itself, it's the fans. I don't know if I've ever met a more obnoxious group of fans, collectively, ever. Yes, every school has fans that give the school a bad name. What makes living in Tennessee so frustrating is that if you aren't a Vol fan, you have to get out, no questions asked. At least in Michigan you have Spartan fans and Wolverine fans, and maybe an occasional Buckeye or Badger, somehow living in harmony. But in Tennessee, it's nothing but Orange. That being said, anytime the Wolverines and Vols hook up, I'm always behind Michigan 100%.

Foxran said...

Tom, re-read the article with the following points in mind:
1) The article wasn't just about Tennessee , it was about the SEC's successes against Tosu;
2) The article wasn't talking about just this year, but the SEC's successes against Tosu for many years;
3) The article makes it's own points by listing the wins that it is talking about.

Sounds like your beef with Tenn is that there is only one major college team there. I'll remind you of another SEC member "Vanderbilt" and also little brother Memphis.

One other thing, OMG tell me you weren't serious about actually attending a crew tournament (match? game?) involving UT and Tosu. You must be kidding. For the record when I wrote that line it was for humor only, I swear I have not nor will I ever know anything about college crew. There freakin' row boats, for God's sake...