Well let me just say that I hadn't planned to talk about this whole SEC Speed myth anymore, but since cocknfire over at "Team Speed Kills" here on the sbnation network issued a pretty solid rebuttal, I figured I would have to give it a reply. Let me knock off a couple of points right off the bat:
- I'm not being sarcastic, cocknfire pretty much went line through line through my original argument and made a well reasoned argument.
- I find it oddly hilarious that the SEC blog is named "Team Speed Kills", but there you go.
Anyways, down to the point. In my personal opinion, I still stand by what I originally stated - that the SEC doesn't have any extra speed except maybe at the linebacker or defensive end positions, and that the SEC isn't necessarily exceptionally dominant. Again, that's just my opinion. I think the elite teams in every conference have just as much speed as the SEC at just about every position.
I suppose I tied myself up when I spent a long time using 40-yard dash times to prove that the SEC wasn't necessarily fast, but then went ahead and proved that 40-yard dash times are irrelevant.
I wish I had the time to do a complete statistical analysis of all the running drills (40-yard dash, 20-yard shuttle, 60-yard shuttle, cone drill, etc.) of all the teams in all the conferences. That, however, would be very time consuming, and ultimately probably very unsatisfying.
I guess that it is difficult to come up with a good metric for exactly how fast a player is in pads and during a game situation. Most of the time people just rely on scouts for this sort of information, and that is all subjective anyways. You'll hear draft analysts say: "His 40 wasn't great, but he plays fast".
So in summary, my vision was to attempt to apply some statistics to a widely held opinion, but in my eagerness to prove something, I guess I was blinded by the fact that it would be really difficult to come up with a comprehensive way to prove what I wanted to. In my personal opinion (again), I think that if I could spend the time and do statistical analysis for years worth of data of every NCAA player, I would get the conclusion that I wanted.
Also, in retrospect, I posted this on a blog network where, quite possibly, not many people hold the opinion that the SEC is much speedier. I've heard the myth from many people all over the country (recently, too), but perhaps I am preaching to the converted (or maybe preaching to those who will never be converted?).
I should probably have expected a backlash when I give a bit of a slap to an entire conference. Let me say this: I think the SEC is one of the best conferences in the country. I don't think it has to do with speed. I think it is because there are many powerhouses in the SEC who recruit great talent and have great coaching. Urban Meyer, Nick Saban, Les Miles and Steve Spurrier (OK, he hasn't had the same success as he used to, but still a great coach).
What I Learned:
- I won't probably ever be able to prove what I wanted to prove, but I gave it a shot. I always try to provide statistics/facts to back up my opinions, but in this case I probably offered too small of a cross section.
- I stand by my opinion, but it's just that - my opinion.
- Think things through more thoroughly before spending lots of time writing an article that implodes.
Oh well, maybe I'll eventually have the computer power or brain power to run that giant statistical analysis. Until then, people can believe what they want to believe.