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Miscellany

SEC Dominance: How An All-SEC Team Would Rate Against The Rest of FBS

Fans everywhere else think the SEC is overrated. SEC fans think the SEC is underrated. I decided to compare an All-SEC team on offense and defense to an All-FBS team composed of players outside the SEC. Looking at the breakdown, the latter group may have a point.

Offense

QB: Johnny Manziel (Texas A&M) vs. Marcus Mariota (Oregon) Johnny Football won the Heisman. Mariota, another freshman, had an excellent season in his own right. The Oregon quarterback might have the athleticism and refinement to trump Manziel eventually. For now… [Advantage: SEC]

RB: Eddie Lacy (Alabama) vs. Kenjon Barner (Oregon) This is a classic Spread vs. Manball debate. Barner put up better numbers, though he also had more touches in a system designed to produce them. For one game, though, I might opt for Lacy’s combination of speed and power. [Advantage: Push]

RB: Todd Gurley (Georgia) vs. Montee Ball (Wisconsin) You have to respect Ball’s resumé, though Gurley is a special player. If every back was eligible, he might be the first off the board in the NFL Draft this year. His performance against Alabama was outstanding. [Advantage: SEC]

WR: Cobi Hamilton (Arkansas) vs. Marqise Lee (USC) Hamilton had a nice season, but Lee was the best offensive non-quarterback in college football. [Advantage: FBS]

WR: Jordan Matthews (Vanderbilt) vs. Terrance Williams (Baylor) Kendall who? [Advantage: FBS]

TE: Mychal Rivera (Tennessee) vs. Zach Ertz (Stanford) I would take Ertz, here. I would also take Notre Dame’s Tyler Eifert. [Advantage: FBS]

OT: Luke Joeckel (Texas A&M) vs. Taylor Lewan (Michigan) We would like to see what Lewan would have done with more talented teammates, but Joeckel had a monster season. Bonus points for this happening. [Advantage: SEC]

OT: D.J. Fluker (Alabama) vs. David Yankey (Stanford) Yankey is the next great Stanford lineman. He’s smart, versatile and can play anywhere. That said, Fluker’s physicality, especially when run blocking is hard to pass up. [Advantage: Push]

OG: Chance Warmack (Alabama) vs. Jonathan Cooper (North Carolina) Warmack is the best guard in the country. Even on Alabama’s line he stands out. [Advantage: SEC]

OG: Larry Warford (Kentucky) vs. Cyril Richardson (Baylor) Richardson had some discipline issues, but was a major reason Baylor’s offense hardly missed a beat without RG3. [Advantage: FBS]

C: Barrett Jones (Alabama) vs. Braxston Cave (Notre Dame) Two-time Outland Trophy winner. Center isn’t even his ideal position. We’re going with Mr. Jones [Advantage: SEC]

Defense

DE: Jadeveon Clowney (South Carolina) vs. Bjoern Werner (Florida State) Both are tied for the nation’s lead in sacks. Clowney did it in two fewer games in the big leagues. He may be the most dynamic player we saw this year at any position.  [Advantage: SEC]

DE: Damontre Moore (Texas A&M) vs. Stephon Tuitt (Notre Dame) Tuitt is the glimmering example of the culture change Brian Kelly brought to Notre Dame. Massive sophomore season. [Advantage: FBS]

DT: Shariff Floyd (Florida) vs. Star Lotulelei (Utah) Floyd is a very, very good player. Lotulelei just basically has everything you could ever want from a defensive tackle. Possible No. 1 draft pick. [Advantage: FBS]

DT: Sheldon Richardson (Missouri) vs. Will Sutton (Arizona State) Richardson was one of the few bright spot’s for Missouri in their first SEC season, but the difference between Arizona State’s defense with and without Sutton was startling. [Advantage: FBS]

LB: Jarvis Jones (Georgia) vs. Trent Murphy (Stanford) Stanford’s linebacking corps may have been the country’s most underrated unit, but Jarvis Jones plays like a minotaur left out on an open field. [Advantage: SEC]

MLB: Kevin Minter (LSU) vs. Manti Te’o (Notre Dame) Minter was all over the field with 111 tackles, but it is hard to argue with Manti Te’o’s senior season. [Advantage: FBS]

LB: C.J. Mosley (Alabama) vs. Anthony Barr (UCLA) I can’t quibble with Barr’s numbers, but Mosley was magnificent recovering from the dislocated hip he suffered in last year’s BCS Title Game. [Advantage: SEC]

CB: Johnthan Banks (Mississippi State) vs. Jordan Poyer (Oregon State) Poyer had one of the best season’s in Oregon State history with seven interceptions. Johnthan Banks did this. [Advantage: Push]

CB: Dee Milliner (Alabama) vs. Ifo Ekpre-Olomu (Oregon) Ekpre-Olomu made plays, interception four passes and forcing six fumbles. Still have not gotten over how athletic this interception by Milliner against Michigan was. [Advantage: SEC]

S: Matt Elam (Florida) vs. Tony Jefferson (Oklahoma) Hard-hitter (even during celebrations). Makes plays all over the field. I’d take Elam over anyone else at that position in college. [Advantage: SEC]

S: Eric Reid (LSU) vs. Phillip Thomas (Fresno State) Thomas led the nation with eight interceptions and took three back to the house. We’re still a tad more impressed by Reid making the departures of two first-team All Americans in LSU’s secondary look trivial. [Advantage: SEC]

SEC Domination: The SEC went 11-8-3 against the rest of the country. That’s impressive and probably a bit unfair to the SEC. The conference’s true advantage is not so much top-end talent as depth of very good talent. Utah will have a Star Lotulelei every so often. LSU will have four guys a notch below him every year they can rotate. The rest of the nation might have better skill players on offense. The SEC has more than enough athleticism to neutralize them on defense.

The Big Ten Should be Worried. Of the “rest of FBS” team, 14 players came from Pac 12 states or Hawaii. An additional five players came from states where the SEC has a presence. Only one, Notre Dame’s Braxston Cave, came from a state that currently or in the future will host a Big Ten school. Only two Big Ten players, Taylor Lewan and Montee Ball, made the rest of FBS team. But, hey, it’s not big-time football! They don’t have their own cable network!

[Photos via Presswire, Getty]

 

 

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