Big 12 flying high, but SEC maintains an edge
TribLIVE Sports Videos
While footballs fly like missiles over Big 12 stadiums, keeping statisticians, historians and scoreboard operators busy, one undeniable truth remains in college football: You can't beat the SEC.
Not on the field and not in the living rooms of the nation's best players.
“Without a doubt, the SEC is dominating recruiting,” national recruiting analyst Tom Lemming said. “I don't think there is conference even close to them.”
The reason is simple and difficult to combat: SEC schools are located in the talent-rich South.
“There is more talent (there) than any other area of the country,” Lemming said.
The 2013 projected recruiting classes offer proof.
Alabama, No. 1 in the Associated Press poll, has 20 verbal commitments from this year's seniors. That includes 12 4-stars, according to rankings compiled by Rivals.com, and 5-star O.J. Howard of Autauga, Ala., the top tight end in the country.
No. 4 Florida has 19 verbals, with 11 4-stars, plus 5-star Vernon Hargreaves III of Tampa, Fla., the nation's No. 2 cornerback.
Meanwhile, No. 5 West Virginia (5-0), which has raised the profile of the Big 12, has only two 4-stars among its 15 verbals. No. 6 Kansas State has a mere six, all 2- and 3-stars.
The ACC has nearly the same benefit of geography as the SEC. No. 12 Florida State has 17 verbals, with eight 4-stars, and Virginia Tech has a promise from the nation's top cornerback, Kendall Fuller of Olney, Md.
Of course, signing day is 3 1⁄2 months away, and young minds can shift their allegiances. But the SEC clearly is also out front when the topic switches to current teams and players.
The polls are dominated by the SEC, with defending national champion Alabama on top, followed by conference rivals South Carolina (No. 3), Florida (No. 4), LSU (No. 9) and Georgia (No. 14). Four of the nation's 16 unbeaten teams are from the SEC, and the conference has won seven of the past nine national championships.
WVU quarterback and Heisman front-runner Geno Smith leads the nation in passing efficiency (202.4) and yards per game (399.2) and is second in completions per game (33.2). In fact, the Big 12 has six of the top 11 quarterbacks, a list that has just one Big East representative — No. 11 Tino Sunseri of Pitt (164.7).
But the SEC counters with three of the best pass rushers: Damontre Moore of Texas A&M (seven sacks), Jadeveon Clowney of South Carolina (6 1⁄2) and Jarvis Jones of Georgia (5 1⁄2). In fact, defense may be what the SEC does best: Alabama is No. 1 (191.6 yards per game), and LSU is No. 3 (221).
At least one Big 12 team has shown it can play defense. Texas Tech is No. 2 in yards allowed (210) — for now. WVU visits Lubbock on Saturday.
Jerry DiPaola is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at email@example.com.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Penn State coach fires offensive coordinator
- Police charge New Florence man in St. Clair officer’s killing
- New Kensington man killed in North Buffalo crash
- Penguins centermen enjoying better faceoff success rate
- Fatal HOV lane crash in Ross under investigation
- Indiana Twp. liver transplant recipient, 2, takes steps toward normal life
- Travelers advised to arrive 2 hours early for flights from Pittsburgh International Airport
- Gorman: Central’s Wheeler ‘made the play we needed’
- Central Catholic wins 5th WPIAL football title
- Editorial cartoons: Nov. 30-Dec. 6, 2015
- Thomas Jefferson uses defense, running game to capture WPIAL title