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
|| 10 (9 without A&M’s Tannehill)
| Big 12
|| 4 (5 with A&M’s Tannehill)
| Big Ten
| Big East
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
|| T. Richardson (RB)
|| M. Claiborne (CB)
|| M. Barron (S)
| Texas A&M
|| R. Tannehill (QB)
| S. Carolina
|| S. Gilmore (CB)
| Miss. State
|| F. Cox (DT)
|| M. Brockers (DT)
|| D. Kirkpatrick (CB)
| S. Carolina
|| M. Ingram (DE)
|| D. Hightower (LB)
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.