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Does the Big Ten have SEC-ness envy?


Relevant. (h/t Charles Barsotti)

While their basketball programs had a better showing last year, with Michigan getting to the title game and plenty of other teams doing well in the tournament, there’s no question that the tradition-rich and stoic Big Ten has had to look up at the SEC in football over the last seven years.  Programs like Ohio State, Michigan, and even now Nebraska, are used to winning championships.  At least, they were used to it.  Now, though, the SEC has a vice grip on the trophy, and doesn’t look like it ever plans to let it go.  Last week’s NFL draft only highlighted the problem, like Carmex on a cold sore; the SEC had 12 first-round picks, to the B1G’s one.  One guy who’s tired of being second-best?  Urban Meyer.

Meyer, now at Ohio State after Tim Tebow was denied his request for perpetual eligibility, noticed the difference in recruiting, and isn’t happy about it.  But more than just recruiting, SEC blog Saturday Down South discusses, quite accurately, the importance of perception in college football.  In an era where pre-season polls can determine who plays in the championship game, prestige is important.  And when it comes to recruiting, kids want to play with and against the best.  Joker never embraced that, but Stoops has pretty clearly played it up during his short time here.  The prestige of the SEC covereth a multitude of sins; member teams get better recruits, and better rankings, as part of the momentum-heavy snowball effect.

So what’s the Big Ten’s response?  Conference pride.  If there’s one thing the SEC has had for a while that seems to be unique to the conference (apart from a universal loathing for a member team ::coughTennesseecough::), it’s a sense of unity between member teams.  Every time I can remember that the BCS championship game has been over, whichever SEC team won has stood behind the broadcast desk chanting “S-E-C.”  Even Kentucky fans often think “If we’re gonna get beat, might as well get beat by the best.”  At least I think (thought) that.  But we’ve always rooted for each other, even if from a distance (notwithstanding individual rivalries).

Now, other conferences are starting to do the same.  Only instead of chanting their own conference, they’re basically all chanting “Beat the SEC.”  It’s a big target, but one that’s worth its weight.  Urban Meyer is gunning for the SEC, and he’s trying to get the rest of the Big Ten to follow suit.  It’s only a matter of time before other conferences join in, too.  The question is, “Will it matter?”  Or is it already too late to catch up?  Will the SEC produce half of the first round picks, and 100% of the championships for the next five years?  I hope so, if only to make Urban Meyer sad.

Article written by Corey Nichols

23 Comments for Does the Big Ten have SEC-ness envy?

  1. Scooby
    9:23 am April 29, 2013 Permalink

    I think a rivalry is about to be born between Saban and Meyer that is going to be great. OSU should waltz to the title and await the SEC Champ.

  2. rixter
    9:41 am April 29, 2013 Permalink

    Just hear that Ridge Wilson signed with the Kansas City Chiefs. Good luck to that young man

  3. Will
    9:43 am April 29, 2013 Permalink

    Great post, Corey.

  4. Jackson County
    9:48 am April 29, 2013 Permalink

    Who cares what Urban Meyer thinks?

  5. HackRichards
    9:54 am April 29, 2013 Permalink

    Meyer is just PISSED because of the OHIO PIPELINE Stoops has flowing drying up his talent.

  6. Dr. Funke
    10:12 am April 29, 2013 Permalink

    2 – He led his team in tackles from the DE spot! … thats insane

  7. Mc
    10:16 am April 29, 2013 Permalink

    Meyer just realizes that outside of the SEC, the other conferences, including the Big 10 are top-heavy when it comes to recruiting. So the Big 10, for example gets solid recruiting from Ohio State and Michigan, and then the talent drops off substantially. Ohio State may very well make it to the championship next season. However, they’re going to do so by playing an awful schedule. Their margin for error is less. One loss and they’re toast. Last year they looked very similar to Notre Dame. If they can’t get the solid competition week in and week out the best talent will continue to pour into the SEC, and a team like Ohio State will get spanked by them in the championship since they won’t face similar competition. Recruits watch football too. They can see the difference in talent and the correlation to the NFL draft. So yes there is a perception element. However, in reality they don’t have as good of players. That simple.

  8. SEC pride
    10:19 am April 29, 2013 Permalink

    …is stupid. Taking pride in other programs winning championships because our team is terrible is pathetic. We act like those trophies are somehow a part of us even though we get smashed by the teams that win them every year. I have faith in Stoops and I think he will get us going in the right direction, but don’t be that guy who swells with conference pride when Bama wins their 4th title in 5 years. Screw Alabama

  9. Bob Sugar
    10:27 am April 29, 2013 Permalink

    8. Bullseye.. Nothing more needs said

  10. BigBlue
    10:31 am April 29, 2013 Permalink

    Of course, actually ROOTING for Alabama, LSU, Florida to win as if you were an ACTUAL FAN is stupid…I have seen a few Kentucky fans start doing this over the years and I think that is a little pathetic. That said, when an SEC team plays a non SEC team in a bowl I do favor the SEC team. A lot of it has to do with Southern pride and cultural identification.

  11. $EC DoorMat
    10:33 am April 29, 2013 Permalink

    How pathetic is it that we as a fan base swing on the sacks of the other $EC Football schools????

  12. Homerism?
    10:40 am April 29, 2013 Permalink

    “If there‚Äôs one thing the SEC has had for a while that seems to be unique to the conference (apart from a universal loathing for a member team ::coughTennesseecough::)”

    I would say there is much more universal loathing for UK than Tennessee because your fan base is 1000x more obnoxious.

  13. Mc
    10:52 am April 29, 2013 Permalink

    While I agree #8, I also disagree somewhat. Stoops is using the SEC dominance as a recruiting tool to make our program better. It’s part of the equation: Stoops, a proven energetic coach with success + the SEC reputation/prestige because teams like Alabama, LSU, Florida, Auburn, etc. have won championships or BCS games=Better Talent at UK. If UK was in the Big East or elsewhere, Stoops isn’t our coach.
    So I do favor the SEC in out-of-conference games. I don’t cheer for them, I just prefer that they win because the talent follows the winning.

  14. M
    10:58 am April 29, 2013 Permalink

    2) things:
    1) You’re on a UK website, what do you expect?
    2) Every fan base has obnoxious fans. UK included. I think the difference is that UK has a lot more fans so it seems worse, but in terms of % of overall fan base it’s no different than other schools.

  15. Hmm
    11:06 am April 29, 2013 Permalink

    Yeah 10) is right for the most part. There’s actually a pretty good Chuck Klosterman article on the conflation of SEC and Southern Pride. Neither is particularly palatable for those who don’t feel it. It was probably linked here a year or so ago. Also, to address #8: you realize that it’s not only Kentuckians who root for SEC teams over other conferences, right? The historically successful programs are also on board.

  16. SEC pride
    11:10 am April 29, 2013 Permalink

    #13 I understand your point completely. I’m talking about the people that join in the SEC chants and make themselves look like fools arguing about how Kentucky is in the best conference when the team has been terrible. I’ve heard too many idiots respond to “Kentucky sucks” with some comment about SEC superiority. These are the people that make the rest of the country hate Kentucky. I do agree that conference success helps recruiting for any team that is a member, but puffing your chest out because Alabama won the national championship is ridiculous. Be happy for recruiting but don’t cheer like an idiot.

  17. Hmm
    11:15 am April 29, 2013 Permalink

    16. That’s not why the rest of the country dislikes us. IF (pretty big “if”) the rest of the country thinks about us at all, any dislike probably stems from (a) our politics and (b) our entitled basketball fandom. Both are awesome in a ridiculous way.

  18. SEC pride
    11:21 am April 29, 2013 Permalink

    #17 You’re right, I probably reached a little bit on that statement there haha. I just get fired up about people taking pride in national championship trophies that we had nothing to do with. I want to be able to compete with most of these teams. I’m not satisfied with only being able to call ourselves a part of an elite conference.

  19. Explanation needed
    11:21 am April 29, 2013 Permalink

    Can someone explain how we can be excited about the Ohio pipeline and at the same time talk about how the Big Ten sucks because they don’t have good players?

  20. UKFanInWV
    11:43 am April 29, 2013 Permalink

    19 – Good point. However, I think the “sucky” players that reside in OH are a welcome addition to UK. The worse players on Ohio State are likely on par with the best players we’ve had (before Stoops). But, their best players are not on par with the elite SEC schools. So I’m excited to get any improvement in talent we can get.

    GO KAYTS!!

  21. lol @19
    12:36 pm April 29, 2013 Permalink

    You make an interesting argument. But, logic and factual reasoning are not strong suits here.

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    2:45 pm April 29, 2013 Permalink

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