If you’re so smart, how come you’re winning?

This article from the Ohio State student paper answers this musical question – Do lower academic standards provide SEC advantage in attracting football recruits? – in exactly the manner you might expect.  In doing so, it combines the blindingly obvious (did you know it’s harder to get kids into Northwestern and Vanderbilt than Michigan State and Alabama?) with the grudgingly apparent (“The seven states that house SEC schools produced 87 top 250 recruits in this year’s class compared to just 38 from the seven states representing the Big Ten.”)  Don’t expect to be shocked, considering the source.

But there is one bit of interest.  Check out this chart and notice how close the numbers for Ohio State and Georgia are… other than, unfortunately, the final AP rankings.  Compliment to Georgia, or knock on the Buckeyes?


Filed under Academics? Academics., Big Ten Football, Georgia Football

25 responses to “If you’re so smart, how come you’re winning?

  1. JBJ

    I recall reading an article some time ago about the use/misuse of learning disability tags on athletes to get them in school and keep them there. I did a quick search and came up with this article over on ESPN.

  2. GreenDawg

    This article is about what I would expect from a student newspaper. They already had me shaking my head, but completely lost me when they started talking about how Michigan apparently had higher entrance requirements for athletes because their general freshman class had a high ACT score. What does that have to do with letting in athletes? Bottom line is that everyone uses the same entrance requirements for athletes except for a very select few universities. I’d be interested to see how many of those reside in the Big Ten.

  3. The Original Cynical in Athens

    It’s the same crap Gtu tries to use, then you ask a Gtu fan how A.T. Barnes got into school there, and they look at you funny. “What do you mean he couldn’t get into UGA and was a 21 year-old freshman?”

    There is the Ivy League, then there is Stanford, then there are the Service Academies, then there is Notre Dame, then there is everyone else in the country.

    If Ohio St. could get every kid from Georgia that was offered to go suffer in that weather, then they would get them all in. They recruit JUCO’s, they recruit borderliners.

  4. TennesseeDawg

    Georgia beat all but 3 Big Ten (Big 12?) schools in APR. Suck it monkeys.

  5. Normaltown Mike

    As to your question “Compliment to Georgia, or knock on the Buckeyes?” I would say Georgia would have the level of success of OSU if we played in the Big Integer. In fact, our best teams of the CMR era (02, 05) would have cut through that league like a hot knife through butta. OSU would do well in the SEC but they would rack up year after year of dominance.

    As to Michigan, has any school ever had such an esteemed reputation that has translated to so little for the state that supports it? In 50 years Detroit has gone from one of the largest and most prosperous cities to a dystopian ghost town. If Michigan is such a crack staff of geniuses, why haven’t they done squat to prepare or respond to this? The research triangle was hatched fifty years ago (with obvious results) so I’m not holding UM to some unheard of standard of performance.

    • Normaltown Mike

      first Paragraph, second sentence should read : OSU would do well in the SEC but they would NOT rack up year after year of dominance. [Oh the humanity.]

  6. sniffer


    Is it not true that each school determines it’s own entrance standards and minimums? I know the Jan Kemp issue changed the game at UGA. What is the truth about all this?

    • There are certain academic minimums established by the NCAA and the SEC which all member schools must comply with. Anything above those are at the discretion of the individual institution.

  7. NK_Knight

    To me, it should make you wonder why Georgia and Vandy are in the SEC. I think it shows you guys have more in common with Ohio State than you do with Alabama. Your coach and our coach cares about academics and what happens to the student…

    • Normaltown Mike

      It should be noted Florida is in the same cabal.

      Some (Texas Dawg?) would recommend UGA, UF & Vandy leave the SEC to form a new conference with like minded skools.

      • Texas_Dawg

        I’d love to see Georgia, Florida, and Vanderbilt join the Big 10.

        I’m not an SEC fan. I’m a University of Georgia fan. Having UGA affiliated with superior academic institutions would be a great thing.

  8. Paul

    What sort of order did they choose to list the schools in that chart? It’s not alphabetical, rank in any of the columns, division, etc. Not sure why it’s bothering me but it just seems arbitrary and makes it difficult to find what you’re looking for.

  9. Slaw Dawg

    The “they’re dumber and have lower academic standards” principle underlying the article reflects a general attitude about the South that seems held by many (certainly not all) non-Southerners. A good friend of mine from Wisconsin once remarked that part of the special ethos of the Rose Bowl’s Big 10 v. Pac 10 tradition was that it pitted conferences with strong academic schools vs one another. However, when we then went through the exercise of listing the top non Ivy League schools in the nation, and we both placed a number of schools from the old Confederate states on the list (esp. among best public universities), he agreed his original premise was badly shaken. I, on the other hand, had to agree that certain institutions within the SEC would always be a drag on our conference’s average academic rating. I think this reflects a general reality: Southerners are better educated than many non-Southerners believe; but, a region with 7 of the 10 states having the lowest HS graduation rates (6 of which are SEC states, with our beloved GA dead last at 54%) has more than an image problem!

  10. Mike Sanders

    As an Ohio State student, I’m not surprised with OSU and Georgia being equivalent. I am surprised that you think we think the SEC is uniformly bad at academics, or that Georgia is a worse school than OSU. My paradigm was of Vanderbilt, Florida, and Georgia having good academics and the rest of the SEC being middling to bad.

  11. 81 Dog

    far as results on the field go, you can pretty much explain the difference between OSU and UGA by looking at this fact: compare the Rivals ratings and national rankings for the other Big Interger schools, who OSU plays, with the same numbers for the SEC schools that UGA plays.

    How hard can it be to get up for one or two medium difficulty opponents per year, as opposed to the weekly sausage grinder that is the SEC?

    Based on the US News rankings, it looks like UGA’s smart is just as smart or smarter than the Big Interger’s smart. Chew on that one as you’re digging out from this week’s blizzard, midwestern apologists. I’d write more, but I’m going out to enjoy some time in the sunny, 60 degree sunny weather.


  12. Texas_Dawg

    Pretty lame article (as most student newspaper articles are).

    The SEC’s recruiting advantage doesn’t come from weaker standards but from signing 50 more players every year.

    Pretty easy math.

    • I wouldn’t underestimate the geography, either.

      • Texas_Dawg

        The SEC would still probably show a slight advantage if it was working with equal roster sizes. But the difference likely wouldn’t be as great as it is now.

        That’s why these teams oversign after all… even in the face of growing negative press. It provides a huge advantage.

    • Mike Sanders

      The Lantern is good enough to pick up daily, since it’s short (about 10 pages), has a decent mix of campus news with other typical newspaper stuff, and a crossword & sudoku. They don’t do great research stories, which is why their story is half-baked.

  13. Bulldog Joe

    We can start with three reasons for Ohio State: scheduling, “fringe benefits” given to players, and low friends in high places at the NCAA.

  14. Malcolm Kass

    I think that most people are heavily misinterpreting these rankings. What the ranks are based on is a mathematical ranking model taking different school traits. If you go to their website, they have it. While the US News rankings do take into account academics, like SAT/ACT scores, they also include items like financial aid, diversity, environment of the location, endowment, etc., items that are distinctively not academic. For instance, this last year, US News upped the weight it gave for financial aid, ergo all the California satellite campuses shot up the rankings, like UCSB, UCSD, Davis, and Santa Cruz. It doesn’t mean that these factors are not important, but they are not strictly academic.

    In the big scheme of things, unless you are Berkeley, or Michigan, or Georgia Tech, the big state schools are pretty much the same, or at least far closer to one another than they are to the Stanfords and Harvards of the world. Case in point, Bama’s average ACT score is 25.

    Georgia is around 26.5

    Does that really scream huge heterogeneity in the big state school student populations?

    • Bulldog Joe

      A few more facts:

      Relatively few Georgia students take the ACT, so the ACT number can be misleading. Conversely, relatively few Alabama students take the SAT so a direct SAT comparison can also be misleading.

      In 2009, incoming University of Georiga freshmen had an average math and verbal SAT of 1263.
      Incoming University of Alabama freshmen had an average math and verbal SAT of 1093.


      • Mayor of Dawgtown

        BJ–that’s because of the Hope Scholarship not because of superior profs, curriculum or (gasp!) college administrators (i.e. Mike Adams, although Adams has been taking credit for it for several years now).

        • Bulldog Joe

          While the increase in average inbound SAT and GPA can be traced mostly to the increase in applications fueled by lottery money, it appears this source of revenue is drying up.

          I have never been one to defend the current UGA adminstration, but their tight relationship to the governor and the state legislature helped navigate some very difficult political waters in getthing the state to approve a medical school and (non-biomed) engineering programs in Athens. This is clearly encroaching on MCG’s and Georgia Tech’s turf and leveraging public and private relationships (like St. Mary’s, Athens Regional, Northeast Georgia Medical Center, the US Navy, and the State Of Georgia) were key in positioning UGA well into the next 20 years.

          When it comes to private and federal endowments, medical and engineering research are the largest sources of revenue and UGA has been largely missing out on these opportunities throughout its history. Also, the state will be more competitive in luring these types of industries by having these additional assets within its borders.

          State and tuition dollars are not expected to increase until the economy picks up, so developing other sources of revenue is critical to the competitiveness of the University.