Speaking at a Houston football club yesterday, new Texas A&M coach Kevin Sumlin was asked what has made the Southeastern Conference so strong on the gridiron. His answer:
“There’s a couple, three reasons. The size and speed combination in the SEC is unlike any other league. I’ve coached in the Pac-12, Big Ten, Big 12. The Big Ten has large human beings. But the speed factor – you play Wisconsin, you’d better strap it up because they’re going to beat on you. The speed factor is not there. You get out west, it’s a fast game, it’s a different game. The Big 12 is kind of a blend of that.
The SEC, for whatever reason, there’s some really, really big guys in this league that can run, and they don’t have to go very far to get them. When you’re talking about Mississippi, Louisiana, Alabama, Florida, Georgia, there’s just some big guys that are extremely athletic. You take that and you combine it with – I was looking the other day at the average stadium size. What’d we average, 85 (thousand)? We’re below the average attendance at an SEC football game.
You go to a game at Alabama, there’s as many people outside as there are inside. And they stand there. There are people that come to games and they know they don’t have a ticket. They’re just there to be a part of it, to shake your bus and flip you off and throw beer on you on your way into the field.
We’ve played teams in the Pac-12 and the stadium’s half empty… you go to Mississippi State on a Saturday afternoon, even if they have four wins, and you see how many (empty) seats are in that stadium.”
PR guru Charles Bloom and his co-horts in the SEC office might want to think about putting that quote on the back cover of the 2012 SEC media guide.