SEC fans have no respect for football anywhere or under any circumstances unless it comes from their conference. Heard the expression “SEC speed?” It seems to me that stupid has become contagious lately; all of a sudden the old mentality that SEC is at least two steps faster than everyone has reemerged. Now don’t get me wrong, I believe that most stereotypes do have some basis in fact, but this one finds its basis in history. This idea of “SEC Speed” dates back to when the Big Ten and the Big Eight were characterized by huge, slow running backs reminiscent of German panzers, while quick, fast players characterized the SEC. All that changed about twenty years ago, but now, out of the blue the “SEC Speed” myth has returned.
How bad is it? I was driving home from work the other day and listening to the local, Columbus-area sports talk radio, 1460 The Fan. During an interview with Bruce Hooley on the “Big Show” a Gainesville journalist was asked how Florida’s defense would fair against a balanced offense like Ohio State’s and whether or not they had seen a comparable one. This guy said, paraphrased, that they had in fact seen comparable balanced offenses from Alabama and LSU, and that he expected that the Gators would match up well with the Buckeyes on that side of the ball as a result of his observations.
I was absolutely flabbergasted. Did he really just compare Ohio State’s offense to Alabama’s? LSU is a plausible comparison I guess, but I would argue that the LSU offense is nowhere near as versatile as Ohio State’s. Furthermore, LSU’s leading rusher, Jacob Hester, had a mere 415 yards rushing this year, but O.K. whatever.
The comparison to Alabama was absolutely astonishing. Did he really just compare the offense that rang up over 500 yards of offense on everyone’s all-world Michigan defense to a 6-7 Alabama team? Seriously?
Why should this surprise me? We hear this same kind of arrogance out of the south every year, but this year it tends to be spreading into the national media. Lee Corso and Kirk Herbstreit could not say enough about Florida’s speed on ESPN last night, but what about Ohio State? Aren’t they fast? Oh, that’s right, these guys are talking about team speed. I guess Florida’s offensive tackles must run pretty awesome forties, because I know that Florida does not have decisive advantage on the outside, hell Steve Smith and Deion Sanders would not have decisive advantages on the outside.
The media seems to forget that this Buckeye team is defined by its team speed. Anyone recall seeing Vernon Gholston beat All-World tackle Jake Long around the outside with … speed? Anyone recall seeing Ted Ginn and Anthony Gonzalez beat Thorpe winner Aaron Ross on the outside with … speed? Anyone recall seeing Brian Robiskie and Ted Ginn beat the future lottery pick Leon Hall with … speed? Antonio Pittman and Chris Wells looked pretty fast, breaking away from and scoring against Michigan.
Oh that’s right, they must be talking about the secondary that is slow because they were burnt by all those receivers giving up that one 100 yard game (to a running back, Garrett Wolfe). That’s right, the Buckeyes were not tested by an SEC team. They only saw six or seven future first and second round picks this year and none them, Manningham, Arrington, or Sweed have “SEC Speed.”
Hmmm, maybe the Buckeyes should start recruiting the south so they can get some more of that “SEC Speed.” How good/fast is Ohio State? Remember, Maurice Wells was a HEAVILY recruited back out of Florida a couple of years ago, and he is currently one step from being on the scout team for the Buckeyes. Wells was a runner up for Mr. Football Florida as a Junior and won it as a senior.
So much for “SEC Speed.”