New York–Good morning from New York City, where we got a bunch of snow last night but this morning the sun is out and the main roads are clear. At this point of the journey it’s the little things that make you happy. Maybe I can actually get home to Atlanta tonight.
I apologize for posting this late but I want to touch on a few things as we start to wind down this week. Just to remind everyone of the schedule, I’ll spend the next few days wrapping up the 2010 season and looking ahead a little bit. Then I’ll step aside for the recruiting folks because that will dominate the conversation until signing day.
We’ll come back after signing day and start looking ahead to spring practice, 2011. It will be here quickly.
Here are just a few things I want to share before jumping out into the snow this morning:
1. Les Miles stayed because he listened to his head and not his heart: It was a very smart, very practical decision for Les Miles to stay at LSU and not go to Michigan, his alma mater. Miles has a very good team returning in 2011. LSU may be good enough to win the division and maybe more. But I thought the emotional tug of Michigan would be too hard to resist. The fact is that the next guy at Michigan, Brady Hoke, will have a lot of rebuilding to do. Miles took a hard look at Michigan and realized that it wasn’t the place where he played and coached. Life changes. He recognized that.
2. Why does the SEC win championships? It’s the big guys up front. Pat Dye, the former Auburn coach, told me a long time ago othat the biggest difference in the SEC and other football conferences is the big, fast defensive linemen who grow up and play in the South. It was clear in Monday night’s game that Oregon had not seen anybody like defensive tackle Nick Fairley. The SEC produces more of those players than any other conference. The SEC has won five straight national championships. That is not a coincidence.
3. I thought Saban and Meyer were pretty good on TV: ESPN caught some flak in some areas for putting Urban Meyer and Nick Saban on its coverage team for the BCS championship. But you are talking about two smart men who know the sport and who certainly know the SEC. Both have won multiple national championships. I heard from some Auburn people who thought Saban was stepping in on their moment. Expect to see more of Urban Meyer on TV this fall. He and I didn’t always agree on things but he knows his stuff and brings a different perspective to the games.
4. No one will break the SEC’s record of five straight BCS titles: I flew to NYC with a plane full of Auburn people trying to get home. Just about everyone I chatted with wanted to know if anybody would ever beat the SEC’s record of five straight national championships. I told them no because of two things:
It is just too hard to win one of these things. You have to be good, but you also have to have some good fortune. Auburn would be the first to say that they had the best football team in the country but that they could also go back to 4-5 bounces of the ball that could have changed everything.
The second is the SEC’s depth. The league has won five straight but it has been done by four different teams (Florida, Alabama, LSU, Auburn). No other conference has that kind of depth.
5. Could it be LSU’s turn again? In 2007 the BCS championship was in New Orleans and LSU won (beating Ohio State). In 2003 the BCS championship was in New Orleans and LSU won (beating Oklahoma). The 2011 BCS championship will be held in New Orleans. Are the Tigers primed to make it six in a row for the SEC? We’ll discuss that on Thursday as we look ahead to the SEC and ACC for 2011.
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