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“How Do We Know The SEC Is So Good?” Check The NFL Draft Board

Each year there are some fans around the country — many living in Big Ten or Big 12 country — who suggest the SEC is overrated.  In their view, just because a league won a national crown last year… that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s the best league this year.

Shoot, just because a conference has won six titles back to back to back to back to back to back… that doesn’t mean it’ll be the best conference the next year, either.  At least that’s their story as it’s not their favorite team’s conference that’s won six BCS championships in a row.

Well, for the Doubting Thomases out there from Ann Arbor to Dallas we humbly submit the first round of  last night’s NFL draft as further proof that the Southeastern Conference — love it or hate it — does indeed play the best college football in the nation each season.  The SEC has the best players.

As we showed you yesterday, the SEC has had more players drafted into the NFL each and every spring from 2007 through 2011.  And it’s won shiny, crystal footballs at the end of those seasons to boot, besting teams from the Big Ten and Big 12 twice each for good measure.  So you have two pretty significant sets of evidence there.  On-field results.  Talent out the proverbial wazoo.

That proved to be the case yet again last evening.  Ten players from Mike Slive’s league were picked among the 32 selected in last night’s first round.  Basically one-third of 32 best players in America toiled at what were SEC stadiums last year or will be SEC stadiums this year (counting ex-Texas A&M quarterback Ryan Tannehill).

Even more impressive was the fact that nine of the first 18 names called were those of men from the SEC.  Nine of the top eighteen.  Think about that for a second, SEC-haters.  Hell, think about that for a second, SEC-lovers.

Wonder why teams in the Southeastern Conference beat each other up and still get love from computers and poll voters?  There’s Clue #1 for ya.  Playing in the SEC is the closest one can get to playing in the NFL — insert snarky pay-for-play comment here — without yet being in the NFL.

Here’s the breakdown of last night’s first round by power conference:

 

   BCS Conference    First-Round Picks
   SEC    10 (9 without A&M’s Tannehill)
   Big 12    4 (5 with A&M’s Tannehill)
   Big Ten    4
   Pac-12    4
   ACC    3
   Big East    2

 

Even without Tannehill counted as an SEC player — and we did that to show that the SEC is going to be even tougher to win in coming years with Missouri and A&M added to the mix — the conference still nearly doubled its nearest rival league in terms of top o’ the line pro talent.

The best players in the country play in the SEC.  There should be no argument, then, that the best football is played in the SEC as a result.  Sure, one season the best team in the country might come from another league.  That’s why traditional powers like Texas, Florida State, Ohio State, Oklahoma and relative newcomer Oregon have been thrown up against the SEC over the last 14 BCS seasons.  None has ever won that last game against an SEC team, though.  In fact, if you want to see the SEC lose a title game, the best way to insure that is to put it up against another SEC team.  That’s what happened last year as LSU became the first-ever league team to lose a BCS Championship Game… falling to league rival Alabama.

Not surprisingly, those two teams dominated last night’s first round as well.

Alabama had four players selected.  LSU had two.  That’s six first-round picks straight from last year’s BCS title game (not to mention all the future first-rounders who remain at those schools for the moment).

South Carolina had two players selected as well.  Mississippi State had a first-rounder, marking the first time since 1982 and 1983 that State has had first-round picks in back to back years.  Then toss in SEC newcomer A&M to reach 10 picks overall for football’s King of Conferences.

This type of post is not meant to be viewed as gloating.  If the SEC had had three players selected you can be sure we’d be discussing what’s gone wrong with the league’s talent pool.  No, instead this little blurb is put forth to further undermine the sourpuss argument spoken by those who’ve grown tired of hearing “SEC this” and “SEC that” each fall.

From the BCS computers to the people voting in the national polls to the scouts, GMs and coaches of the National Football League… everyone’s clearly aware that the best players and the best football are played Down South.

It’s a fact.  Accept it.  Oh, and there’s little sign of that fact changing anytime soon, either.

 

   SEC School    First-Round Pick   Position Drafted    NFL Team
   Alabama    T. Richardson (RB)    3    Browns
   LSU    M. Claiborne (CB)    6    Cowboys
   Alabama    M. Barron (S)    7    Buccaneers
   Texas A&M    R. Tannehill (QB)    8    Dolphins
   S. Carolina    S. Gilmore (CB)    10    Bills
   Miss. State    F. Cox (DT)    12    Eagles
   LSU    M. Brockers (DT)    14    Rams
   Alabama    D. Kirkpatrick (CB)    17    Bengals
   S. Carolina    M. Ingram (DE)    18    Chargers
   Alabama    D. Hightower (LB)    25    Patriots

 

Congrats to those SEC players drafted last night.  And good luck to all those who still hope to hear their names called today and tomorrow.

 


15 comments
BryLaw
BryLaw

quad77,

 

Thanks for proving my point. 

 

I know full well there is a disdain for any critique from "others" and that the SEC "stays together."  I also know that the SEC play good football overall and that many SEC players go on to play in the NFL.   But there's a difference between cashing a check because Alabama won the BCS and actually claiming that the "conference" won the championship.

 

BTW, the NFL does have a team in Atlanta.  They're not bad. 

MoKelly
MoKelly

Hey -- you added Missouri and A&M to the SEC flag pinwheel. Good job!

quad77
quad77

hey brylaw 

Of course we stay together and root for each other and could care less what others think.

The majority of NFL'ers come from our backyards. Many of us never had a pro team to root for growing up so we love our schools if you dont like it dont read our posts. 

Also Ole MIss will get a rub of Bama's NC because we share the BCS earnings among our schools, unlike the Big 12.

 

BryLaw
BryLaw

I say this as a Mizzou fan who is happy to be joining the league for its stability but, at the risk of being branded a "sourpuss" for pointing this out: 

 

First, declaring conference victory in the draft after the first round is a bit like declaring a win halfway through the first quarter.  There are a half dozen rounds left and alot of those players will be solid pros, even stars.  So this might have been a post better left to Monday. 

 

Second -- and again, I say this as a proud new member -- the SEC gets to claim the last six championships when they go back and scratch LSU's or Alabama's name off of the trophy, replace it with "Southeastern Conference" and relocate it to Birmingham.  Teams win championships, not conferences.  Or do you believe that the folks in Lexington and Oxford get to claim some "rub off" partial credit?  When Oklahoma wins the Fiesta Bowl, does Iowa State get to crow about it?  The fact is that whether you talk about the SEC, the Big 12 or the Big Ten, each has its dominant powers, its middle tier teams, and its "catfish" -- the bottom feeders.  And the relative stength of teams in those tiers against similar teams in other conferences ebbs and flows over a period of years.  Always has, always will. 

 

What I will readily concede -- and this is part of the allure AND the frustration surrounding the SEC -- is that the fan bases of the SEC are disproportionately enthusiastic (read "insane") about football above all else (excluding Kentucky).  I think that enthusiasm often gets confused with on-field conference-wide superiority.  SEC fan bases love thier traditions and riovalries so much that they come to consider the very brand of football played conference-wide is superior to the game as it is known elsewhere.  I saw the same mentality about basketball when I lived in the Commnwealth for seven years.  But I'm here to tell you, I was at the UK/UT football game this year and I saw Ole Miss on TV.  And Vanderbilt.  And Mississippi Sttae.  You won't see anything I witnessed on any highlight reel promo generated in the conference offices, and only one player in any of those games got his face on TV last night. 

GeoffDawg
GeoffDawg

Georgia's Cordy Glenn was widely expected to be a first round selection as well but somehow dropped. He'll likely hear his name very early in round 2. You could also argue that Janoris Jenkins would've been there for Florida had he not been dismissed from the team.

MoKelly
MoKelly

I understand what you are saying. Conferences are made-up of individual teams. However, I believe the strength of the overall Conference has a big influence on the strength of the individual school. The Conference reputation is a big help in recruiting the best players. It is a big help in the rankings. It is a big help in getting better throught the year such that you can beat whoever is the opponent in the Championship game.

 

Teams win championships. But, Conferences help the teams to both get to the Championship Game and win the Championship Game.

 

Had Alabama been in the Big East last year, do you really think they would have been ranked #2 and had a shot at LSU again in the Championship Game? Also, Iowa State may not get credit when Oklahoma wins the Fiesta Bowl, but they sure get lots of credit for Alabama winning last year!

GeoffDawg
GeoffDawg

@MoKelly That's absolutely accurate. SEC teams will always be given the benefit of the doubt in the rankings because the perception is that an SEC schedule week in and week out is a significant upgrade in difficulty over any other conference. Teams win championships but there is a certain amount of conference pride in that you know that you compete against the best all season long.

BryLaw
BryLaw

And I probably should have capitalized "Tide" in this case. 

BryLaw
BryLaw

 @MoKelly 

 

If a rising tide lifts all boats, then why does UK and Iowa State sink to the bottom year after year?

MoKelly
MoKelly

That is why Missouri belongs in the SEC. :)

BryLaw
BryLaw

Not against Missouri.

MoKelly
MoKelly

Look at Bowl game results. That is an independent measure. The SEC's record vs. anyone is spectacular.

BryLaw
BryLaw

It may well be the "perception" that an SEC schedule is competition at its "best all season long," but that simply is not true by any measure.  Again, I was at the UK/UT game.  And the minute you start a counterargument with "Yeah, but (insert crappy team from the SEC here) is an exception," you've made my point.

BryLaw
BryLaw

Did you just say that Kentucky is better than most teams in the country?  Did you watch them play this year? 

Is Kansas?

MoKelly
MoKelly

Sink to the bottom of what? Their Conference standings? They are still better than most teams in the Country. Iowa State beat Oklahoma State last year and ruined OSU's chance at a National Championship. Not too shabby in my opinion.



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