Boom, who’s coached in both conferences, had this to say about the recent spate of Big 12 braggadocio about the SEC:
But Muschamp, who led the Gators to an 11-2 record last season, made it clear that he sees a fundamental difference between the pass-happy Big 12 and the more physical nature of the SEC, the league that has produced the last seven BCS national champions. That difference, said Muschamp, makes it difficult for finesse teams to match up against SEC foes that feature a downhill, two-back running game.
In the SEC, that is the majority of the title contenders.
“The thing about our league that I think is a little different is you have to prepare for the two-back set. You can’t do that in a week,” Muschamp said. “That’s a physical style of play. You’ve got to understand how to fit the power, the counter, the direct runs, the north and south runs, which are an issue if you haven’t done it and your guys aren’t used to it. I think you saw us wear some people down last year because of our physical style of play.”
In the Big 12, where the majority of teams rely on one-back spread offenses, the power running game is less prevalent. Wide-open passing games keep “constant pressure on the defense” and create plenty of headaches, Muschamp said. But they make for an easier weekly defensive adjustment than a power running game, in Muschamp’s estimation, if that is not a team’s base offense.
I do think we’re at a point now where there is more offensive diversity in the SEC than there is in the Big 12. Some of that, ironically, is due to the SEC being a bigger conference. (It’s ironic because Stoops’ argument that his conference is better balanced than the SEC gets its strength from the fact that it has four fewer teams.) There’s also some irony in that two SEC teams – Kentucky and Texas A&M – are running spread attack offenses straight out of the Big 12 from where their coaches came.
I don’t know if that alone makes the SEC the better conference, but I do agree that it poses a bigger challenge for SEC defensive coordinators over the length of a season. Of course, that’s not exactly an entirely new observation.