Monday, December 24, 2012

"The SEC is Overrated"

The Southeastern Conference is widely considered THE premier collegiate football conference in the country.  The last seven seasons have seen the SEC rise to a level of conference domination unseen for ages. It isn't just one great team, it's great teams across the conference.
The SEC a breeding ground for the NFL....and it always seems to come up once a year - "Could 'Bama beat (insert terrible NFL team)?"

Well, the answer to that is no - but all of the ballyhoo for the SEC creates anger and angst for non-SEC fan bases.  Losing is bad enough - nobody likes to have to also have "S-E-C!  S-E-C!  S-E-C!" rain down on them.

In retaliation, other fan bases throw stones at the SEC and claim, "It's overrated."  I've heard it for the past several years so I thought this would be a good time to take a look at that claim.  A&M is in it's first year in the SEC and we're matched up with Oklahoma in the Cotton Bowl - what better time, right?

Obviously, I hear this claim of unwarrented adulation primarily from Big 12 fans - for many reasons.  I live and work with mostly Big 12 supporters, A&M has a strong history with them, and they have a legitimate claim for the title of second best conference.  I'm going to pick on them a bit and use them as the comparison.

The Cotton Bowl

Let's start of by looking at the Cotton Bowl itself.  The Cotton Bowl has been a match up between the Big 12 and the SEC since 1999.  The SEC has won 9 of the 14 games and since 2004 the SEC is 8-1.

Bowl Games

Bowl games are a good way to see how a conference does.  The SEC's dominance over the last 7 seasons has been incredible - here are the comparisons for the last 6 bowl seasons against non-conference opponents (with this season's games still to be played)....
  • The SEC is 36-17 (.679)
  • The Big 12 is 26-21 (.553)
Again, the Big 12 is just being used as a comparison.


"Oh, the SEC is overrated because they just beat up on each other and inflate each others rankings."

Ok, so let's just look at out of conference records.  Over the last 7 seasons.....
  • SEC is 329-69 (.827)
  • Big 12 is 263-85 (.756)
That may not look like a big %-age difference but for the Big 12 to catch the SEC in %-age they would have to win 144 consecutive games

Again, the Big 12 is just being used as a comparison - I'm not trying to embarrass them.

"Oh, but the SEC doesn't play anybody out of conference - they just pad their records with powder puffs."

Ok, let's look at out of conference record vs. ranked opponents.  Over the last 7 seasons....
  • SEC is 46-26 (.639)
  • Big 12 is 19-36 (.345)
  • SEC has played 17 more OoC games against ranked teams, and has lost 10 fewer
  • For the Big 12 to get to .639 they would have to win 45 consecutive games against ranked opponents
"Oh, but the SEC is top heavy."

Those are the entire conference numbers.  That accounts for the pummeling that Vandy, Ole Miss, & Kentucky traditionally take.

Just for fun, here are the records against Top 10 OoC opponents:
  • SEC is 18-12 (.600)
  • Big 12 is 5-13 (.278) 
Ok, I was trying to embarrass the Big 12 there.


Like Billy Madison said, "You and me.  Mano y mono."

Over the last 7 seasons the SEC is 15-8 against the Big 12.  Three of the eight Big 12 wins have been against Ole Miss.  Quit picking on Ole Miss.

The SEC has also won two National Championships in head-to-head games with the Big 12 during that stretch - in 2007 when Florida beat OU and in 2009 when Alabama beat texas.

What Everyone Agrees On

The Big 10 is terrible.  The Big 10 is 17-31 against the SEC & Big 12 combined over the last 7 seasons.

The Takeaway

The SEC is THE best conference in the country.  Regardless of how tired everyone is of hearing it, it doesn't change the fact that it is still true.

I didn't even have to play the trump card of 6 consecutive National Champions.....going on 7.

S-E-C!  S-E-C!  S-E-C!

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Johnny Heisman

"This is a moment that I have dreamed about since I’ve been a kid. Running around the back yard pretending I was Doug Flutie, throwing Hail Mary’s to my dad. Now, I am so blessed to be on the stage with such a group of great guys and to be invited into this fraternity, what a pleasure it really is. I’d like to start by thanking the Heisman Trust and everybody who made this weekend possible. What a great experience it was to meet the people that I have, Manti and Collin, not only great football players, but great guys off the field as well. It has been a pleasure to get to know you guys better and I wish ya’ll the best of luck.

It’s such an honor to represent Texas A&M and my teammates here tonight. I wish they could be on this stage with me. Texas A&M, choosing that school is one of the best decisions I’ve ever made in my entire life and I am so proud to be a part of that.

To Mom, Dad, Meri and the entire family watching, you mean the world to me and I just want to thank you for the encouragement, the love and the patience over the years. To grandpa, to all of the times we used to play in the hallway and throw the ball until we couldn’t anymore, I love you with all my heart and you inspired me to play football. To Grandma, I’m so sorry for the things we broke in the house.

To my coaches back in Kerrville Tivy, Mark Smith, Julius Scott and everybody there, you taught us all what it meant to really fight and work for something that you wanted more than anything in the world. You taught us about passion and about heart and what it truly meant to say, “Tivy fight never dies.”

To Coach Sherman, Coach Rossley, Coach Sumlin, Coach Kingsbury, and everybody that’s been a part of me playing football for my entire life you’ve been truly a blessing. You’ve taught me not only what it means to be a football player but to be a man as well and for that I thank you so much.

I wish my whole team could be up here with me tonight, especially my great offensive line and the whole offense. Luke Joeckel, Jarvis Harrison, Cedric Ogbuehi, Jake Matthews and Patrick Lewis, I’m as safe standing right here as I am in the pocket with you guys. You’ve done a great job of keeping me off my back and I can’t thank you enough for everything. To all my teammates back home, I love you with all my heart.

I’d especially at this time like to honor somebody who is near and dear to everybody at Texas A&M, Joey Villavisencio. Around this time last year, a center on our team, passed away in a tragic car accident. It was something that as a whole team we really had to fight through and press on through the bowl game. And, to Mr. and Mrs. Villaviscencio, if I had a son I would want him to be exactly like him. I know Joey is in a better place.

Most of all, I want to thank God for allowing me to be here. All that he has blessed me with in my entire life I’m so thankful for. For the love and the grace you’ve shown me I’ll be forever grateful. In the values that I’ve learned from my parents and that have been carried over by Texas A&M. Leadership, respect and putting others first, it’s what the 12th Man is all about.

I believe the 12th Man is one of the greatest traditions in all of college football, forty thousand students standing not as fans but as members of our team. To the 12th Man, Texas A&M, Kerrville Texas and Aggies everywhere, this Heisman trophy is for you.


Johnny Manziel etched his name into college football history becoming the 78th winner of the Heisman Trophy.

I'll be honest, I was already a little emotional, but when he mentioned Joey V. in his speech it really touched me.

He had 72.8% of the possible points (2029 points from 923 voters with 3 points each), which makes it the 10th biggest victory in Heisman history.

Congratulations to Johnny - you have made Aggies across the nation proud of you.

Now let's BTHO OU!  WHOOP!

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Post Season Awards Update

I wanted to give an update of the awards that have been handed out thus far....
I really looked hard to find a picture of Luke with his Outland Trophy because I know I've been pretty Johnny heavy in terms of pictures this season....but I couldn't find one.
  • Davey O'Brien Award - Top QB - Johnny Manziel
  • Outland Trophy - Top Interior Lineman - Luke Joeckel  
  • Walter Camp All-Americans
    • 1st Team - QB Johnny Manziel
    • 1st Team - OL Luke Joeckel
    • 1st Team - DL Damontre Moore
    • 2nd Team - OL Jake Matthews
  •  CBS Sports All-Americans
    • 1st Team - QB Johnny Manziel
    • 1st Team - OT Luke Joeckel
    • 2nd Team - DE Damontre Moore
  • SEC Individual Awards (voted by coaches)
    • SEC Offensive Player of the Year: Johnny Manziel
    • SEC Freshman of the Year: Johnny Manziel
    • SEC Jacobs Blocking Trophy: Luke Joeckel
    • SEC Coach of the Year: Kevin Sumlin
  • All-SEC Team (voted by coaches)
    • 1st Team - QB Johnny Manziel
    • 1st Team - OL Luke Joeckel
    • 1st Team - OL Jake Matthews
    • 1st Team - DL Damontre Moore
    • 2nd Team - WR Ryan Swope
  • All-SEC Freshman Team (voted by coaches)
    • QB Johnny Manziel
    • WR Mike Evans
    • AP Trey Williams
One thing that I thought was really interesting was that the SEC doesn't have an Honorable Mention team.  In the Big 12 there were at least 4-5 players from each team in the league that were named to the Honorable Mention squad.

Damontre wasn't able to bring home the Hendricks Award on Wednesday night - it ended up going to South Carolina stud, Jadeveon Clowney.  I can't argue that one.

Johnny, however, lost out on both the Walter Camp Award and the Maxwell Award to Manti T'eo (who also won the Lombardi, Bednarik, Nagurski, Butkus, and Walter Camp Awards).  I think I've made my case as to how I feel about that.

Even STILL, all indications point to Johnny bringing home the Heisman on Saturday night.  The three major polling/predicting indicators all point to him.
  • The Scripps Heisman Poll - has correctly named 21 of the last 25 winners
  • - has correctly named the last 10 winners (in 10 years of existence)
  • - has correctly named the last 4 winners (correctly ranked 5 of the top 6 in '08, all of the top 4 in '09 and '10, and the all of the top 7 in '11)
Also worth noting that since 2000 only two players have won both the Heisman and the Maxwell Award in a single season and only one player has won all three (Heisman, Maxwell, and Walter Camp) .

Oh yeah, and Vegas has him at 1/15....and T'eo is at 4/1.  Those are pretty staggering - and Vegas doesn't lose.

We'll all be watching tonight!  WHOOP!

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

A Look at the Hendricks Award

I've spent a lot of time over the last few weeks laying out the case for Johnny's Heisman campaign but I thought I'd take a moment from the Johnny Football mania to look at our great defensive standout, Damontre Moore.
DaMonsta is a finalist for the Hendricks Award which is awarded to the top defensive end in college football.  It is named after Ted Hendricks, a former All-American who played his collegiate days at Miami from '66-'68.

The other finalists are Jadeveon Clowney (South Carolina), Sam Montgomery (LSU), Cornelius Carradine (FSU), Bjoern Werner (FSU), and Morgan Breslin (USC).  This is a very, very tough group of defenders.

Here are the stats:
                   Tackles                Pass Def.
               G Solo Ast Tot  TFL Sack PBU PD QBH FF FR
   M.Breslin  12  37   16  53  8.0 12.0  4   4  0   0  1
 C.Carradine  12  47   33  80 13.0 11.0  0   0  9   1  1
   J.Clowney  11  37   13  50 21.5 13.0  1      5   2  0
S.Montgomery  12  15   17  32 12.0  7.0  2   2  3   1  1
     D.Moore  12  54   26  80 20.0 12.5  2   2  8   1  0
    B.Werner  13  28   12  40 18.0 13.0  7   7  5   1  1 

Damontre also has two blocked kicks.

It should be a very close race but I really think that Damontre has just as good of a chance as any of those others.

What an amazing season Damontre has had, and holy cow has he be overshadowed by Johnny.  Think about what Von Miller did.  The guy is a legend in Aggieland.  I seriously campaigned to name our one year old Von (before we found out it was going to be a girl).  Now check this out....

                   Tackles                Pass Def.
                G Solo Ast Tot   TFL Sack PBU PD QBH FF FR
  '12 D.Moore  12  54   26  80  20.0 12.5  2   2  8   1  0
 '10 V.Miller  13  38   30  68  17.5 10.5  6   7  6   3  2

Didn't expect that did you?

Damontre Moore is the most underrated player on this years team....and he's an All-American.  Crazy, crazy.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Ags Go Cotton Pickin'

So it was announced this evening that A&M will be heading back up to Dallas to play in the 77th annual Cotton Bowl.

Our opponent will be Oklahoma, who were completely screwed out of a BCS bowl when Northern Illinois somehow leapt up from #21 to #15 in the BCS rankings after a win over #17 Kent State?

(and at the same time, texas only drops from #16 to #23 after losing both of the last two weekends?)

Of couse, they were only going to a BCS game because the BCS only takes two teams from each conference.  OU is ranked #11 but they would have leaped over 4 SEC schools ranked higher because Alabama and Florida got the two BCS bids.

This, to me, is a disappointing match up.  Like I said before, I love bowl games because you get an opportunity to play opponents that you normally don't get to.  This will be the 19th time we've faced OU in the last 20 years.

On the field, this should be an excellent game against two fairly evenly matched teams.  I'm just not excited.

That doesn't mean I'm not going to spend the next 30+ days trying to figure out which child I will sell to get tickets.

The game is already sold out and tickets are starting at $189 on Stubhub.

Orange Bowl tickets featuring NIU, however, are available for $16.

Over this next week we'll start seeing all of the individual player awards being handed out.  The big night is obviously next Saturday night in NYC with the Heisman but on Thursday night ESPN will be broadcasting The 2012 Home Depot College Football Awards (at 6:30pm).  There are 10 major individual awards that will announced that night.

Luke Joeckel is a finalist for the Outland Trophy for top interior lineman and Johnny is a finalist for the Maxwell Award and the Davey O'Brien.

Johnny is also a finalist for the Manning Award (announced Jan 6th) and Damontre Moore is a finalist for the Hendricks Award. (announced on Dec. 5th).

Joeckel and Moore were both also named to the 1st Team AFCA All-American squad.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Manti T'eo Facts

Apparently I misspelled his name in my previous posts - my apologies.

I've been reading all of this stuff about T'eo and I wanted to dive into his season deeper.

The three things that I consistantly hear T'eo campaigners tout are
  • Interceptions
  • Total tackles
  • Leader of a great defense
He has 7 interceptions and 2 fumble recoveries.  That's nice but....
  • Only one (1) of those nine (9) turnovers resulted in a TD on the ensuing drive. 
Honestly, that shocked me.

He has 103 tackles on the season.
  • He had a no more than 5 tackles in each of his last 3 games "down the stretch"
  • 1.5 sacks on the season
  • 5.5 tackles for a loss
  • 27 of those tackles were on plays that resulted in 1st downs for the opponent
  • 37 of those tackles were on plays of 6 yards or longer.

Notre Dame's defense is excellent and they are ranked #2 in scoring defense and #6 in total defense.
  • They are excellent, but they are not THE BEST defense in the country as I keep getting told

Here are their opponent's national rankings in scoring offense and total offense.
    Navy  69/82
  Purdue  62/57
 Mich St  90/107
Michigan  80/56
   Miami  37/43
Stanford  83/68
     BYU  57/63
Oklahoma   9/7
    Pitt  60/73
    B.C.  97/109
    W.F. 117/114
     USC  30/37
  • They have only played one (1) of the Top 25 offenses in the country
  • Only three of the Top 50
In the three games against the best offenses they faced....
  • T'eo played well against OU (10 tackles, only 1 was for a 1st down, and only 3 went for 6 yards or longer)
  • He did not play well against Miami (10 tackles, 4 were for a 1st down, and 6 were for 6 yards or more....his average tackle was 8.9 yards down field)
  • He did not play well against USC (5 tackles, 2 went for 1st downs, and 2 were for 6 yards or longer).
THE 4th Down Stand vs. USC
On the final goal line stand against USC he had one tackle.  It was a 6 yard gain.

This is not the award for the best player on one of the best teams.  It is not an award for best leader.  It is not the award for biggest heart.  It is not a team award, nor is it a lifetime achievement award.

I have no problem with a defensive player winning the Heisman.  I don't even mind if he doesn't play special teams.  If that player is THE most outstanding player in college football he should win the award.  Frankly, I thought Suh deserved it in '09 and I think Honey Badger should have given RGIII more run for his money last year.  I just don't think T'eo has been THE most outstanding defensive player in college football, let alone the most outstanding overall player. 

If the Heisman is to go to a defensive player this is not the year to make the definitive stand to break that trend.

It should be interesting to see this play out.   There is no doubt he is a great kid, who has overcome a tremendous amount of tragedy.  I truly wish him a tremendous amount of success at whatever he does in his life.  He is a shining example of all that is right with college sports.