As everyone continues to slobber all over Alabama (I guess they deserved it for winning 2 of the last 3 national titles) I started thinking about perfection and the role that conference affiliation plays in it (though of course Bama wasn't perfect last year but, for the sake of this thought....).
The old adage Defense wins championships I think is overblown, because no true champion is ever really bad at any of the 3 phases of the game or they just couldn't win a championshp, but there is some truth to the fact that if you pack a studly defense it will travel pretty much everywhere with you. I also think it flattens out the beta for a team, and probably means they are unlikely to get humiliated.
I wonder though, if the SEC isn't easier to go undefeated through then the big 12. I'm not saying that the big 12 is better, necessarily (though I wouldn't concede that the chasm is as great as everyone in the national media seems to think) rather that I wonder if it might not be harder to run the table.
The SEC is pretty traditionalist at heart, or at least up until the last couple of years with Petrino coming to Arkansas, Mizzou and A&M joining the conference, Ole Miss going to a more modern offense. This point was brough home reading the Scipio article with Muscles, when he takled about Ole Miss always being traditional and bad. The SEC seems to be a pro-style conference traditionally, that's rather risk averse and wants to punt, play field position and defense.
The Big 12, however, has been pretty pass happy, offensively productive and whacky more or less since it's inception. Guys like Leach and Gundy seemed to understand that they weren't going to out talent or blue chip Texas and OU so they went for more guerilla tactics which is what an insurgent with limited resources should do when trying to take down the Goliath. As a result, offense has been much better the past decade in the Big 12 than the SEC.
So, would you rather try to take your chances if you are studly running the table against a bunch of above average offense playing at a high pace and that don't pay as much attention to defense, or a bunch of above average defenses with boring offenses trying to play field position and predictable.
I just have this feeling like even if you have a great defense (which I think UT does this year- at least potentially) if you have to play teams that light up the scoreboard like a pinball machine in WVU, OSU, Baylor and OU you are going to get burned at least one time in conference where you give up 34 or something like that. Better have an offense then. Does Alabama really look at their schedule and believe that someone might score 28 on them? I don't think so. But if they were in the big 12 I'd just about guarantee that someone did.
Hell, we'd have kicked their ass if Colt stayed healthy and even with the human turnover getting his first live fire of a not so illustrious career we still hung 20 or so on them, right (I've blocked out the final score). It's not like Bama is infalliable even if they are really good. Hell the FCS school ran the option at them (an offense for insurgents if ever there was one) to the tune of 21 points and 400 yards last year. I wonder what their numbers would look like if they played our schedule.
I think the SEC is going to start going non-traditional, especially if A&M, Missou or Ole Miss have more success than their conference bretheren would think. Hell, Petrino took arky from doormatish to knocking on the door with his offensive concepts (which were more or less foreign in conference other than UK who had some success during the Leach/whoever his boss was years).