Bumper Sticker Hubris

FootballThe ever-cogent SMQ fires a pre-emptive strike into the “SEC Speed” nonsensical argument that will no doubt reach insane proportions over the next month.

I realize it’s generally considered bad form (or just plain lazy) to past large blocks of text from someone else’s work into one’s own, but there’s simply too much wisdom here to trim down into small bites. SMQ makes no bones about his opinion of the “MNC” or the Buckeyes, so his credibility on the matter is to be respected.

The worst result of last year’s mythical championship game was the growth and perpetuation of this absurd notion of superior “SEC speed,” based not on the collective 40 times and shuttle drills of hundreds of players on a couple dozen teams that make up the SEC and Big Ten, but on a handful of plays in a single game that was decidedly outside the season-long patterns of both participants, and not demonstrably decided by “speed…” Based on everything we know from the dozen “samples” on both sides leading up to last January, that Florida team couldn’t beat that Ohio State team by 27 points again in a whole season of trying. There’s a reason the Gators were underdogs, and it’s not because they kept the fast guys under wraps when squeaking out wins against South Carolina and Vanderbilt.

Truth. He goes on with some advice for our overconfident southern brethren:

One would think the false sense of inevitability that followed Ohio State prior to last year’s championship (or USC the year before that, or that very, very fast Miami team in 2002, or, I don’t know, LSU, Ohio State, West Virginia, USC, Oregon, Michigan, Oklahoma, California, Florida or LSU again prior to stunning upsets over the last three months) would demonstrate the virtues of humility to fans everywhere.

…and offers a very realistic picture of what the title game will look like:

Based on everything we know from both teams’ performances this season, Ohio State and LSU should be a close, hard-hitting game between two of the few teams that still operate largely from traditional two-back sets on offense and do not hesitate to run old-fashioned isos, counters and traps into the line… It will be decided by the side that executes and catches the right breaks under the specific set of circumstances that unfold on Jan. 7… The athletes, the speed, all of that is a given. LSU and Ohio State have both turned in top ten recruiting classes each of the last four seasons. They’ve all got the athletes. They’ve all got the speed. The differences in raw talent on this level are nil. This championship, like all championships, will be about combining management, strategy and execution in the moment, and probably a bounce or timely flag or two. Not as catchy as “SEC Speed,” but anything more precise than wrongheaded, bumper sticker hubris rarely is.

Bravo. We’ve been complaining about the “SEC speed” myth for a long time now, but thanks to SMQ we now have a moniker for those who spout it: Bumper Sticker Hubris.



  1. When I grow up, I want to be able to write that well. He’s good.

  2. Good stuff. Even if the Buckeyes win, I don’t see the speed myth going away, though. The excuse in that event will be “LSU didn’t use their superior speed to their advantage and paid for it.”

  3. If it rains during the game that will be proof enough that LSU couldn’t use their speed. The field was wet and slippery.

    Wait for it…

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