Today's theme: blast the SEC and praise the ACC. Yes, it pains me to do this, but you've gotta give credit where credit is due.
As an SEC man, I'm not a big fan of what SEC fans like to call the Almost Competitive Conference. However, the ACC flexed its muscle this weekend, putting a hurting on its SEC rivals. The ACC proved that, while it may lack a national title contender, it has a slew of very solid teams. Is it the best conference in the land? No. It is, though, the one with the most parity, and that makes for exciting football.
As an aside, I expect their championship game to be a fun game to watch, even if neither team is highly ranked and no one is in attendance.
SEC Coaching Decisions
No, Tommy Tuberville and Sly Croom didn't have good years. The media projected Tuberville's Auburn Tigers to compete for an SEC Title, while they thought Croom's MSU Bulldogs would earn another lower-tier bowl appearance. As it turns out, both are home for the holidays, with Auburn finishing 5-7 and MSU 4-8.
However, neither coach deserved to get the can. Tuberville has had a great career at Auburn, perhaps producing the best run on the Plains other than the Dye years in the 1980s. He's one of their best coaches ever. True, his team has appeared to be on a slide since their undefeated 2004 season. However, Tuberville deserved at least one more year to prove that he could turn it around.
Croom, on the other hand, has not had much success at MSU other than in 2007, and he had a lot of luck that year. Moreover, unlike Auburn, which lost lots of close games, Croom had a truly bad team this year that was routed several times. However, Croom inherited a program that was in shambles and that, truth be told, has never been consistently succesful other than during the Jackie Sherrill 100-dollar handshake years. The folks in Starkville should have given Croom a little more time to prove that he could make them a somewhat respectable program. His good 2007 earned him that, as 2007 was an exceptional year by MSU standards. Croom also had a good recruiting class in the works, one he earned in 2007. He should have gotten a chance to see if he could win with those recruits.
Nick Saban weighs in these firings here. While his response is predictable Saban, it's also pretty insightful in this case.
SEC Rivalry Games
Other than Florida-Florida State, the SEC's biggest rivalries fell into two categories this year: blowouts to fellow SEC teams (Alabama-Auburn) and losses to ACC teams (Clemson-South Carolina, GA Tech-UGA). This proved two things: that, unlike in years past, the top SEC teams are MUCH better than the lower teams, and that the middle of the ACC is better than the middle of the SEC. Those two facts don't shine well upon our previously proud conference.