Albama Arkansas Auburn Florida Georgia Kentucky LSU Mississippi State Missouri Ole-Miss USC Tennessee Texas A&M Vanderbilt
Latest News

What Mizzou And A&M Are Learning Out About The SEC

Missouri and Texas A&M will be just fine — yes, in football — in the Southeastern Conference long-term.  Both programs entered the league on more solid ground than did Arkansas or South Carolina back in 1992.  We’ve written/said that many times here at MrSEC.com and on radio.  Just wanted to float it out there again before fans of both schools started firing off emails about this post.

While we see bright days for both programs ahead, MU and A&M supporters are still learning a couple of things about the new league they’ve joined.  All summer we heard that their teams weren’t coming from the high school ranks and that was true.  The Big XII has been the second-best conference of the BCS era.  Still, it hasn’t equaled the SEC in terms of success.  That’s because the SEC is defense-first, tougher and strong from one end to the other:

 

1.  Defense

On Saturday, Florida and LSU battered each other for 60 minutes.  The first half belonged to the Tigers, but as usual — and thanks in part to some more injuries at LSU — the second half belonged to Will Muschamp’s Gators.  As we tweeted Saturday — follow us here — America was probably yawning during the low-scoring affair, but the smashmouth brand of ball being displayed is exactly why Mike Slive’s conference continues to win BCS titles.

Good defense beats good offense.  (Ask a Georgia fan about that one today.)  And the SEC has good defenses.  Moan, groan and scream that it’s bad offense, not good defense, if you like… but that’s what fans from Ohio State to Oklahoma to Texas to Oregon have said the past few years, too:

 

2007 BCS title game:  Ohio State enters averaging 36.3 points per game.  Florida beats them 41-14.

2008 BCS title game:  Ohio State enters averaging 32.0 points per game.  LSU beats them 38-24.

2009 BCS title game:  Oklahoma enters averaging a ridiculous 54.0 points per game.  Florida beats them 24-14.

2010 BCS title game:  Texas enters averaging 40.6 points per game.  Alabama beats them 37-21.

2011 BCS title game:  Oregon enters averaging 49.3 points per game.  Auburn beats them 22-19.

 

Just from the fans and radio hosts and contacts this writer talked to from Missouri and Texas in the preseason, I really believe a lot of Aggie and Tiger fans thought, “Yeah, yeah, better defense… we know”  No.  It’s much better defense.

If one of them makes it, Oregon or West Virginia will learn that fact in January’s BCS Championship Game.  Missouri and Texas A&M fans are seeing it up close already.  And if they’re honest, I bet they’ll admit the top o’ the line defenses in the SEC are a little bit better than they even expected.

 

2.  Attrition

Whether it’s Kentucky playing 22 freshmen already, Missouri losing one O-lineman after another as well as its star quarterback, or LSU losing bodies like a bad funeral home… the SEC is a meat grinder league.

Mizzou has already banged heads with Georgia and South Carolina, lost to Vanderbilt — to learn that there are no gimmes in the SEC — and now hobbled and broken they’ll get the joy of hosting top-ranked bruiser, Alabama, this weekend in Columbia.  Texas A&M dropped it’s first SEC game to Florida, thumped downtrodden Arkansas, but then got its own lesson in the “no-layups league” with a 30-27 nailbiter over an Ole Miss team picked to finish dead last in the SEC West.

The Aggies will face Louisiana Tech on Saturday, but then starts a run of LSU, Auburn, Mississippi State and Alabama.  They should expect a few bumps, contusions, sprains and breaks during that run.  It comes with the SEC territory.

 

3.  Change Comes Quickly

Doing radio shows across America this summer, I grew very tired of the many variations of this one question that I kept hearing: “Will the SEC East ever be good again?”  Every time I heard that — from Missouri folks, Texas people, or persons from elsewhere I simply thought to myself: “Have you kept up with SEC history?”

Yes, the West Division was expected to be tougher than the East this year.  But as we’ve written and as we told those radio hosts, things are pretty darn cyclical in the Southeastern Conference.  Well, it seems the cycle’s already changed again.  Thanks to Bobby Petrino’s motorcycle, attrition in Baton Rouge, Steve Spurrier’s amazing work in Columbia, and a power run game at Florida, the SEC East is — for now — looking tougher than the big, bad SEC West.

Long-time SEC fans aren’t surprised.  The 1990s leaned heavily to the East with Florida and Tennessee practically owning the league.  The 2000s saw some shifts back and forth.  The last couple of years have been West-heavy, but that’s already changing again.

Entering the season, Missouri was expected to have the easier first season due to their division placement.  Now it looks like Texas A&M might have a slightly – slightly — easier schedule.  The lesson?  If you don’t like the balance of power in the SEC today… give it a year.  It’ll change.

 

This isn’t to suggest Missouri and Texas A&M fans didn’t respect their new league or that their teams won’t both reach bowl games this season.  But if they’re honest, I’m guessing they’ll tell you that some things are already a little tougher than expected.

 


17 comments
MIZ ZOU FAN
MIZ ZOU FAN

 To paraphrase Dennis Green, The SEC are who we thought they were. No one in my circle of friends thought this would be ease.  We all knew this was," big boy football" and we were at a disadvantage in talent depth to compete on a weekly bases. Mizzou has played in big games before but not week in and week out.  Although as fans we did not have a say in joining the SEC most of us looked forward to it and are glad to be a part of the conference.  As I told you last Summer we were not going to set the conference on fire.  We would have to take our lumps but hopefully in time we can get up to speed. 

AllTideUp
AllTideUp

I've been impressed with A&M's play so far.  Not so much their record as the fact that they are doing it with a first year coach.  It always takes time to install new systems and get used to a new way of doing business so they deserve kudos for that.

 

Right now, I see Kentucky as being Mizzou's only legitimate chance of a conference win this year.  I think the UT game will be competitive, but I give Tennessee the edge there.

redav
redav

No, the defenses are not better than I expected. They are good, but not God-like. (I don't include last year's 'Bama D in that statement.)

 

No, the SEC is *NOT* better top-to-bottom than the Big 12. It has far, far better top teams (which translates into success in the BCS), but their bottom dwellers are inferior to the Big 12's. The Big 12 has one pathetic team in Kansas. Even Iowa St has been decent in recent years. This year Kentucky, Auburn, and Arkansas are all genuinely bad teams. Ol' Miss is still not a good team, and Tennessee has been a joke for more than a few years.

 

Don't misinterpret this as saying it isn't a step up from the Big 12. Playing those ultra-top tier teams each year forces the weaker teams to get better. Vandy & Ol' Miss would be worse teams if they played in any other conference. Mississippi St would be more like Southern Miss without the SEC. Moving to the SEC dramatically helped Ark & SC, and I believe that both Mizzou and A&M will benefit, too.

BonzaiB
BonzaiB

i have not talked to a single Ag who thinks (or thought) the SEC defenses would not be tough (sure there are some out there). After shooting the bull with Ags during the A&M / UF game, they thought they had a chance to win, they all thought the schedule would be a grind and they all thought a break even season in the SEC would be a winner for their program. Finish 4-4 in the SEC and don't get blown out by LSU or Alabama seemed to be the expectation. Mizzou guys I've talked to are genuinely surprised they have had this much trouble, but they understood before the first kick off they had some real depth issues on the lines.

 

I am stunned that the Gators have done as well as they have. I thought a third place finish in the East was the best we could hope for, but going to take this as a very good year. I am surprised at the Georgia - USC score, surprised that in the West Arkansas fell apart, surprise Auburn is almost a basket case and yes surprised MSU is kicking butt as decisively as they have. So, I would not hang too much on the Mizzou guys for being surprised about their team's performance. Man, there are a bunch of us who have been in the SEC for a while who are surprised. 

 

Not a criticism of the tone of the post, just say I'm among the surprised this year. Right now, I'd be surprised if in two years A&M wasn't tearing into a lot of teams with true "SEC" like defenses because of their recruiting in the last year. Mizzou is going to take longer than I first thought...... unless they are one of the surprises in the next couple of years. 

SpencerMoore
SpencerMoore

Mizzou has had the same troubles all year.  injuries (starting QB and FIVE OL starters (and 2 OL backups) and a sluggish offense.  As mentioned by a previous poster, many of these injuries happened before the season (including QB Franklin's shoulder). Mizzou's issues have been evident versus both the SEC AND the non-conference teams (while MU won vs, ASU and at central Florida -- remarkably two of the SEC's three best non-conference wins -- and lost vs. Vandy and Georgia, frankly, the issues were similar in all games).  Even in the SE la blowout, the offensive was sputtering compared to previous years. Mizzou would be in the same situation vs. Big XII this, perhaps worse since the offense is so hampered with injuries and a WORTHLESS offensive coordinator.

SpencerMoore
SpencerMoore

Mizzou has had the same troubles all year.  injuries (starting QB and FIVE OL starters (and 2 OL backups) and a sluggish offense.  As mentioned by a previous poster, many of these injuries happened before the season (including QB Franklin's shoulder) It's been evident versus both the SEC AND the non-conference teams (while MU won vs, ASU and at central Florida (remarkably two of the SEC's three best non-conference wins) and lost vs. Vandy and Georgia, frankly, the issues were similar in all games).  Mizzou would be in the same situation vs. Big XII this, perhaps worse since the offense is so hampered with injuries and a worthless offensive coordinator.

dynamitefan2
dynamitefan2

Mizzou had trouble controlling the line of srimmage vs Vandy. Vandy was a much deeper team and it showed late. Vandy owned the 2nd half outside of one breakdown which went for most of MU yardage in the 2nd half. Mizzou fans: What is the shaking of the keys meaning??

HardToBeAMizzouFan
HardToBeAMizzouFan

Mizzou fan here. I will say that the SEC defenses have seemed even better than advertised. However, the biggest surprise to all of us Mizzou fans who figured that the Tigers would compete better than they have has been the offense. Mizzou's offense has been hesitant and has executed poorly (dropped passes, dropped pitches, slips, fumbles, etc), and this is not 100% due to the aggressive defenses they have faced. They haven't played well and the play calling has been questionable. With reference to the injuries: unfortunately, most of these occurred before the season even started, so it is hard to attribute that to the SEC. The way Mizzou has played, they would be struggling in the Big 12 just the same. The SEC gets all of the attention, and perhaps deservedly so, but it is interesting that there are only 2 Big 12 schools that didn't get votes in the latest poll (OSU and KU).

Statesman1
Statesman1

John, Mizzou  has seen the two best teams in the SEC East with BAMA on the way.  A&M has played Florida which some believe is the 3rd best team in the East, Arkansas, & Ol Miss.  Two different experiences.  A&M put 58 on Arky, & 30 on Ol Miss, so the defenses have not been an issue for them. 

 

As a Mizzou fan what I have observed as the difference between the Big12 & the SEC is that the SEC is a much more physical  & athletic conference on the line.  Your big guys need to have the ability to pass and run block.  Mizzou can't use injuries as an excuse for the 0-3 start.  The truth is that the team has not executed well on the basic fundamentals this year.  Hopefully they will be corrected, or we will continue to get pounded.  

bfswede
bfswede

This Mizzou fan agrees.  While I expected the defenses to be better, they are even better than advertised.  And the attrition factor is making the importance of quality depth very apparent given all the injuries Mizzou has experienced on the offensive line.  If I'm attempting to pull a silver lining from the season so far, it's that Mizzou's defense is playing a lot better than most fans expected.  Though its given up some points, the defense has often been hit with horrible field position (due to turnovers in Georgia game & ridiculously bad special teams play in USC game) and being on the field A LOT due to how poorly the offense has performed.  Which winds back to the depth issue.  Hopefully the Mizzou coaches are hitting the recruiting trail hard for the trenches guys ... which will likely include trying to fill Sheldon Richardson's shoes since it's starting to look like he may not be coming back next year.

alamoaggie08
alamoaggie08

As far as attrition goes, just remember that it was now deservedly-ranked #4 Florida that was rolling on the ground with "cramps" against A&M on a mild (for early September) and not-very-humid day in College Station, not the other way around.  We'll know A&M's true attrition level after playing 12 games in less than 12 weeks (final game is on Thanksgiving).  The article is very true makes plenty of sense, but it lacks giving credit where it's due.

SWCBonfire
SWCBonfire

Most A&M fans were thinking that just making a bowl game with the schedule we had, new coaches/systems, redshirt QB, etc. would be the most realistic goal for this year, but so far the team has vastly exceeded expectations.  The 7-5 we were hoping for for our inaugural campaign may still be what we end up with, but the games at Auburn, against Mizzou and even LSU at home look a lot more "winnable" than they did at the beginning of the season with MSU looking less winnable at this point.

 

Even without drinking the maroon koolaide, I think it's safe to say we're ahead of where we thought we would be this year.  Last year's team wouldn't have overcome 6 turnovers to win that game in comeback fashion.  We've lived and died with Johnny Football, and with him we've got a puncher's chance against anyone this year. Who knows, we may slip and fall against La Tech... or we might beat LSU.  We're happy with the direction of this program - up.

John at MrSEC
John at MrSEC moderator

 @alamoaggie08 

 

Not sure how we failed to credit anyone.  Just stating that there are three things anyone stepping into the league will learn over the long haul -- 1. Defenses really are better in the SEC than in other conferences, 2. Attrition will really take a toll over the course of an 8-game SEC slate, and 3. The East-West dynamic changes all the time.

 

Didn't mean for any Aggie or Tiger fans to feel slighted in any way.  They're simply the two new groups to the party.

 

Thanks for reading the site,

John 

SteveDouglass
SteveDouglass

 @SWCBonfire

 I think we Ags at this point are just having fun with it. The changes, stepping up to the challenges, new coach, new offense, QB, excitement of a young team, the prospect of our recruiting for next year. As I watch the faces of our guys out there, the looks on the faces of the 12th Man, just everyone seems to be enjoying what is happening. We are far ahead of where I thought we would be. Our past experiences with LSU have taught us respect our adversary. The legends of the SEC are awe inspiring and I don't think that Ags have given that a lack of attention. And I am not saying that defensively to the author. I just say it as a statement that the old time fans of the SEC may have had the idea that A&M might come to the table with a lot of swagger, but we do come to the conference with our hats in our hand....and brass knuckles as well.

DuddleysFixture95
DuddleysFixture95

Let's BTHO La Tech first.  Don't like this game...Shreveport may as well be Lubbock - they are pumped

alamoaggie08
alamoaggie08

 @SWCBonfire

 100% agree.  I know our hardest games are still ahead of us and we haven't truly gained the respect of the SEC yet, but no one knew what to expect from A&M with a new coach, QB and schemes.  I think it's safe to say A&M has already exceded expectations, even if that just includes looking better than expected, plus the future looks even brighter with freshmen like Johnny and Mike Evans just beginning to scratch the surface.

Trackbacks

  1. Valuable Resources…

    [...]check here, some totally unrelated websites to ours, however, they are most trustworthy sources that we use[...]…



Follow Us On:
Mobile MrSEC