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Texas A&M, Missouri (And Fans And Media) Need To Learn That No One Stays On Top Of The SEC For Long

When the SEC split into divisions in 1992, one of the reasons Auburn was placed in the West rather than in the geographically-appropriate East was a desire to maintain competitive balance in the league.  So the conference split up the six schools that had traditionally had the best football fortunes — Alabama, Auburn and LSU went to the West… Florida, Georgia and Tennessee to the East.

But for anyone who’s been barking that Missouri and Texas A&M won’t be able to compete consistently in the SEC — and that includes everyone from SEC fans to national media types — it might be time to check out the recent fortunes of three of those “big six” schools listed above.

At 6-4 (Auburn), 5-5 (Florida), and 4-6 (Tennessee) this season, the Tigers, Gators and Vols have combined for a grand total of 15 losses.  The last time those three schools combined for 15 losses in a season?

Well, it hasn’t happened in the 2000s.  And it didn’t happen in the 1990s, either.

Nope, you’ve got to go all the way back to 1980 to find the last time those three traditional powers combined for 15 losses in season.  (Florida finished 7-4, while Auburn and Tennessee each finished 5-6.)  Don’t forget, there are still games to be played (and possibly lost) over the next two weekends, too.

The lesson?  For all the talk of Mizzou and A&M not being able to win “consistently” in the SEC, the fact is — no team wins consistently in the SEC.  Let’s look only at the 2000s:

* As good as Florida has been in the 2000s — winning two BCS titles — the Gators are currently in the middle of back-to-back five-loss seasons.  That makes five five-loss seasons since 2002.  That’s six seasons of four losses or more in the last 10 years.  That’s hardly the image the national media paints of the Gator program.  And their not alone in hype…

* Alabama is rolling at the moment, but the Tide lost 13 games combined in 2006 and 2007 (not counting NCAA penalties).  Since 2000, Bama has ended seasons with nine losses (2003), eight losses (2000), seven losses (2006), six losses twice (2004 and 2007) and five losses (2001).

* LSU has been by far the SEC’s most consistent winner in the 2000s.  The Tigers have already scored two national crowns and are well on their way to playing for another.  But fans weren’t so happy when the Tigers lost five games in 2008 and another four in 2009.  As recently as last season’s bungling win over Tennessee, there were many on The Bayou who wanted Les Miles evicted.  LSU also averaged four losses per year from 2000-2002.  Four losses are a disappointment only at a few select programs nationally.  As well as at darn never every school in the SEC.

* Want proof of the SEC’s over-the-top expectations?  Georgia‘s program had been the model of consistency under Mark Richt.  From his first season in 2001 through the 2008 season, the Bulldogs had had two four-loss seasons, three three-loss seasons, two two-loss seasons and one one-loss season.  Then came back to back 8-5 and 6-7 campaigns and Richt was forced into a corner.  Most believe he was coaching for his job just a couple of weeks ago against Florida.  Twelve losses in two seasons will do that to you in the Southeastern Conference.

* Auburn has had two undefeated seasons and a BCS championship since 2000.  But the Tigers have also had eight seasons of four or more losses and four seasons of five losses or more.  Tommy Tuberville lost just nine games between 2004 and 2007, but when he logged a seven-loss campaign in 2008, he was ousted.

* Along with Florida, Tennessee was consistently dominant in the 1990s.  In the 2000s that hasn’t been the case.  UT is in the middle of its seventh-straight season of four or more losses (a streak spanning three head coaches).  The Volunteers have now lost five or more games six times since 2002 and need to win out to avoid their third losing season since 2005.

Texas A&M and Missouri are walking into a juggernaut conference.  There’s no doubt that both will have their struggles.

But as you can see above, despite the idea that this schools and that consistently dominate in the SEC, the league is pretty tough on those schools already housed in it.

Mizzou and A&M will learn that.  But they’re not the only ones in need of the lesson.

It’s time for fans and media pundits to realize that in a mini-NFL like the SEC, well-funded, well-coached and well-stocked teams tend to whip up on one another.  No one stays on top for long.

 


23 comments
MIZSEC
MIZSEC

Love how Iowa State beat Oklahoma State to move Alabama back into the #2 position. I've already made the switch to rooting for what is best for the SEC family.

MU24
MU24

If he's even still the starter then...Berkstresser is already in the wings and we have Maty Mauk coming in. In keeping with Mizzou's recent tradition, we'll be fairly stacked at QB. The question will be, who will emerge as a starter, and can we protect him?

TheAnomaly
TheAnomaly

It was great beating UT, there is a college football God after all. This next game against Tech will be very important from a bowl perspective. On being in the SEC next year, I see more rebuilding going on as we lose 25 seniors of which 16 are starters. The good news is we have some pretty good young guns coming up through the ranks. Looking for Franklin's senior season to be pretty special.

MU24
MU24

OH OH OH, and I almost forgot. Anyone else at the MU-Texas game hear the "SEC-SEC-SEC" chants toward the end of the game? I can certainly get used to doing that!!!

MIZSEC
MIZSEC

Love that. I'd have been hoarse yelling SEC if I had been there. I can already get a sense of the SEC family.

buddha22
buddha22

Yes we did and even as the Texas travelling Howdie Doodie band tried to drown it out with "The Eyes of Texas are upon you..." Well, they behled quite adefensive display! MIZ-SEC!

MU24
MU24

Just a mild correction to an above post: MU is not undefeated at home, we lost to a great OSU team. But one of the most important things to note is our kicker. Grant Ressel was an All-American last year and is the single-season NCAA record holder for kick accuracy. And now, he has the shanks. If we had him doing what he has done the past few years, we win the ASU/K-St/Baylor games for sure, and the OU game would have been a very different one, though one I still think we would have lost. Then you're looking at an 8-2 team that lost 2 first rounders and has a young O-Line. But alas, when we start to do the old what-if routine, we sound like kU fans. :) So that being said, I'm not excited by a 5-5 record at this point, but I'm excited about the potential that I see during what is supposed to be a rebuilding year.

Aggiefaithful
Aggiefaithful

Mizzou is going to be more competitive than my Ags for at least the first few years, imo; might even surprise some folks. That kid Franklin looks like an SEC type QB, and I think their defense will get even better next year; Josey will be back as well. A&M has ALOT of problems, with several key players leaving after this year; the wood shed is calling until we can find a coach worth a damn

MIZSEC
MIZSEC

You all will do just fine. As a Missouri Alumni and one that lobbied as hard as possible to get us in the SEC, I'm happy that were joining A&M. I have always had problems with the arrogance of Texas, but have always respected the Texas A&M program and people. We'll be competitive on the field, but expect a great camaraderie with A&M. Good luck to you and all the Aggies as you switch to the best conference in football. MIZSEC

Stan McCarty
Stan McCarty

Most important info to share with our new SEC family.... Guess where Sweet Tea was first invented and served? The Worlds Fair...in St Louis Mo. No, it's not part of the subject but I had to share... :)

Dan
Dan

The oldest known recipe for sweet ice tea was published in 1879 in a community cookbook called Housekeeping in Old Virginia by Marion Cabell Tyree, who was born in Texas. - Source Wikipedia

guest
guest

Wikipedia is not a source, and I quote ""The thing about information on the internet is you cannot confirm it's validity" – Abraham Lincoln

tradeassociation
tradeassociation

Another thing to point out for all the folks who were just fine with A&M but bashing Missouri's competitiveness: Missouri is 5-5 in a rebuilding year where they lost QB Blaine Gabbert to the Jacksonville Jaguars and also much of their OL. And that is a 5-5 that could easily be 8-2: they lost in overtime to Arizona State, by 7 to Kansas State and by 3 to Baylor, all on the road. (They're undefeated at home).

By contrast: A&M has the same record (5-5) despite having everybody back from a team that finished #19 last year and was preseason top 10. A&M's victories are over SMU, Idaho, Texas Tech, Iowa State and Baylor. While Missouri has a good, established coach in Gary Pinkel, A&M will likely be firing their 3rd coach in a little over a decade. (P.S. Kevin Sumlin, head coach of 10-0 and currently #11 Houston, is a former A&M assistant. Keep that in mind, especially when attempting to link him to the Ole Miss job ...)

Both Mizzou and A&M can compete in the SEC. But both have a lot of work to do.

mitchs3
mitchs3

Agree with your points, but to correct one item, they did lose at home to OK State. All 4 of the their other losses were on the road to ranked teams - ASU, KSU, OU and BU.

buddha22
buddha22

MU has done that with the #1 strength of schedule and has beaten 2 ranked at the time teams (Texas/Texas A&M, Home/Road) and those losses were in order by 7 in OT (after All American kicker missed GW FG in reg), 7, 10 and 3. Watching the game close to the Texas visitors section at Faurot Field on Saturday it was extremely gratifying hearing Horns fans first grousing about their offense then admitting they haven't faced a front seven like that this year...all that just points out our team is young and has had it's missteps, but does seem to have grit and is learning to win.

skillet
skillet

I would agree.

Missoui has been pretty competitive in most games in what has clearly been a rebuilding year.

A&M has seriously underachieved.

Thern Newbell
Thern Newbell

Never paid much attention to Mizzou or T A&M until this year, but in looking at what is in the east and what Mizzou has done this year, I believe they have a shot at competing next year for the east division. They haven't been stellar this year but neither has the east. Florida and Tennessee should be better next year, and Georgia about the same. If USC maintains and is the same as this year, that wouldn't be too much to overcome. UK will probably still be stuck in neutral, but now Vandy looks to be rising although I can't imagine Franklin will be there for long term.

MizzouPaul
MizzouPaul

I hope people will feel like Mizzou does bring a lot to the table when all of this starts next year. I am a Mizzou fan in Nashville and know that although Missouri has not been the greatest team over the decades we have been horribly underrated by the media over the years. The big 12 was under such a strangle hold from Texas and Oklahoma that it gave no real shot for another team to compete. Hints why 3 out of the 6 Big 12 North Teams ;left and well the three that remain could not leave the conference if it wanted to. Missouri had to pull of its good seasons over the years with only 3 star recruits. I think being in the SEC will help Missouri overall and their recruiting just because they are in the SEC which will give them a one up in recruiting in Missouri and Illinois. Either way I hope SEC fans will welcome this change and realize Mizzou has a ton of tradition and a great fan base. I am proud to be a fan of MIZZOU and now proud to call myself an SEC fan.

UofA72
UofA72

You would have enjoyed hearing the loud roar at the Arkansas/Tennessee game when the announcement was made that Missouri had beaten Texas Saturday.

Based on prior comments over the last several weeks about the Big12 teams hating each other, here is something that you never saw in the Big12. Arkansas fans inviting visiting Tennessee fans into their tailgate parties. The Tennesse fans even came back to the same tailgate after the game.

And to head off all you smart mouths out there like me, not seeing it in the Big12 isn't because Arkansas and Tennessee aren't in the Big12.

Alan Powell
Alan Powell

Back in the Southwest Conference days we literally bumped int a bunch of Aggies getting off their bus as exited ours from the University of Houston Alumni trip. They invited us to the Dixie Chicken(college bar) to drink beer and play pool before the game. We did.

UofA72
UofA72

Good indication of A&M fitting well in the SEC.

Compare that to Texas fans throwing beer bottles at visitors in the stadium parking lot and to them throwing ice at people wearing opposing team gear in an Austin restaurant.

skillet
skillet

I think some of that Big 12 schools hating each other is seriously overplayed. There were rivalries, but most of them seemed pretty friendly. There was a lot of mutual respect in a lot of the old Big 8 rivalries. (OU and Nebraska fans got along exceptionally well.)

I think a lot of the Big 12 teams hated Texas or more specifically their role in pushing conference politics. And the whole realignment thing brought about a lot of hurt feelings from all sides.

DV80
DV80

Howdy John,

Thanks for the encouragement.

Gig"Em!

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