Oklahoma's Bob Stoops is a great coach and seemingly a good man, so we hate to have to vehemently disagree with him for a second time this offseason.
In a column by the Tulsa World, Stoops claims that the SEC isn't as dominant and everyone says it is. If you watch enough SEC games you realize that's an incorrect statement, but Stoops went on. His reasoning was that the very best teams are elite, but the entire conference is not.
"So they've had the best team in college football," Stoops said, according to the Tulsa World. "They haven't had the whole conference. Because, again, half of 'em haven't done much at all. I'm just asking you. You tell me."
That reasoning is pretty faulty.
Here's Stoops' long quote on why the SEC isn't really all that, from the Tulsa World:
"So you're listening to a lot of propaganda that gets fed out to you," he said. "You're more than smart enough to figure it out. Again, you can look at the top two, three, four, five, six teams, and you can look at the bottom six, seven, eight, whatever they are. How well are they all doing?
"What'd we (the Big 12) have, eight of 10 teams in bowl games this year? Again, you figure it all out."
This comes down to a pretty simple math problem. For all SEC games, there has to be a .500 record at the end. If Alabama, Texas A&M, Florida, South Carolina, LSU and Georgia are all among the top 10 or so strongest teams in the nation, as they were last year, and Vanderbilt, Mississippi State and Ole Miss get into bowl games, as they did, some teams are eating a lot of losses. No, coach, the entire conference can't be good at once. It's mathematically impossible.
There were five SEC teams that didn't go to a bowl game last year. They are ...
• Missouri, which went to seven straight bowl games its final seven years in the Big 12. Its first SEC season, it went 5-7 and missed out. That seems relevant to the conversation.
• Tennessee, which has been to 49 bowl games, missed qualifying for a bowl game just three times from 1981-2010 and won a national championship at the end of the 1998 season. Yes, Derek Dooley struggled in a tough conference and was fired, but is Tennessee really the doormat Stoops is talking about?
• Auburn, which won a national championship 28 months ago.
• Arkansas, which was ranked 12th at the end of the 2010 season, fifth at the end of the 2011 season and probably would have been at least top five in the 2012 preseason poll (the Razorbacks were 10th) had it not been for the Bobby Petrino fiasco. They struggled mightily last season, but there were decent reasons why. And again, with six of the best teams in the nation at top of the conference, someone has to lose.
• Kentucky, which is kind of a basketball school. The Wildcats don't care much about football. Stoops should recognize schools like this, considering he plays in the same conference as Kansas.
So that's your list of also-rans that Stoops thinks drags down the SEC. A couple relatively recent national champions, a perennial bowl team when it was in the Big 12, a team that is one season removed from being ranked fifth in the nation, and the 2012 national basketball champions.
Stoops apparently thinks other conference's doormats are far better than that. Did Indiana win a national title a few years ago? Has Duke played in 49 bowl games? Again, when you play in a conference which is so good at the top, the bottom has to lose some games. The SEC has to end up with a cumulative .500 record in conference games. Simple math. And we haven't even gotten into the national championships streak or the NFL draft record the SEC just set. Stoops at least owns up to the fact that's legitimate. He should know, considering Texas A&M blasted his team in the Cotton Bowl this past January. The rest of Stoops' argument is wrong, but at least he's correct on that elite teams part of it.
We're not picking on Stoops. He's a great coach with a great program. He has one of the few programs that could go to the SEC and compete every year. That's the best compliment we can give him.