Does the Louisville win prove the SEC is overrated?

Louisville’s flattening of Florida in last night’s Sugar Bowl was an eye-opener in a lot of respects. It introduced a national audience to the talents of one Teddy Bridgewater. It confirmed the coaching ability of Charlie Strong. It showed that on given day a team from the Big East can rise up and spank a “football” school from a BCS conference.

But it did also expose the SEC as an overrated league?

Six SEC teams have played in bowl games to this point and so far the nation’s most intimidating conference is a less-than-intimidating 3-3. Mississippi State lost to Northwestern in the Gator Bowl. LSU let its bonehead show and lost to Clemson in the Chick-fil-A Bowl. And Florida got its Gators’ tails kicked by Louisville in the Sugar Bowl.

Even the SEC wins have been less than, well, impressive. South Carolina had to rally to beat a middle-of-the-pack Michigan team in the Outback Bowl. Georgia finally pulled away from Nebraska in the Capital One Bowl after Nebraska had surrendered 70 points in the Big 10 Championship Game to Wisconsin, which lost in turn to Stanford in the Rose Bowl.

The most impressive SEC bowl team to this point has been Vanderbilt. That’s right, Vanderbilt. The Commodores clocked North Carolina State 38-24 in the Music City Bowl. Not that North Carolina State is a juggernaut, mind you. The Wolfpack fired its coach at season’s end. But this is Vanderbilt we’re talking about, and a Vanderbilt that won nine football games this season.

Does Louisville’s takedown of the Gators mean the Cardinals could compete on an every Saturday basis in the SEC? This Louisville team, yes. Charlie Strong’s team wouldn’t end up in the league title game, but it could definitely win its share of SEC games. Next year’s Louisville team could, as well.

Does that mean the SEC is overrated? Not necessarily, but in reality the gap does not appear to be as wide as some may think.

And that could be good news for Notre Dame when the Irish plays Alabama in the BCS title game on Monday.

(AP photo/Butch Dill)

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  1. operationruse says:

    Louisville should be proud of the biggest win in their school history. With that being said, if you really want to analyze the game last night and try to draw some greater meaning from that then you have to take into account that Florida did not show up to play. That is not the same team that beat LSU at home and Texas A&M on the road. That was the biggest game in UL football history aside from maybe the Rutgers game a few years ago. Florida was disappointed b/c they play for national championships and not Sugar Bowl championships. Two of their players delared for the NFL draft almost as soon as the game was over. I think that is a good indicator of their focus.

    What SEC games would Louisville have won this year? They beat Kentucky so that is clear but would you have bet your next paycheck on the cards to beat the gators if that game was played when Florida was still playing for the national title? How about if it was in Gainesville? To me, that is where the SEC is different from the other leagues. It is a war of attrition for the entire regular season with big stadiums, high dollar coaches, and top recruits.

    Any given Saturday, right?

  2. desertCard says:

    operatonsruse–Those are ridiculous statements.

    If you ARE from the mighty SEC and you can’t get fired up and “show up” for the Sugar Bowl then you don’t belong on the big stage either. The game WAS NOT played in Gainsville, nor was it played in Luavull, so moot point there.

    The biggest games in UL history are this game and probably beating Bama in 91 and GaTech in Orange Bowl. What are UK wins that counted for anything?

    Can the Cards use your excuse in bball if they don’t win the NC? BEast IS the most dominant bball conf.

    Stop making excuses. Cards showed they are upwardly mobile and will be able to play with anyone. Sorry UGa canceled the series with CARDS. Unless you play us you can’t claim superiority. And the SEC meager showing in bowls shows that parity is coming.

  3. MB says:

    LMAO at the people comparing the high quality SEC bowl games with the godawful Bowel games that the Big East always gets paired to keep things competitive over the years
    That lipstick will come off soon enough and SEC will win YET another National Championship

  4. JackB says:

    This game was like Alabama v Utah a few years ago. Utah was playing a huge game and Alabama was disappointed to be there and didn’t show up. That Utah team was still very good and UL is pretty good, but Bama is still the better program. i do think Florida wanted to play next week and it showed.

    The Big East winner that lost to two unbanked teams (It didn’t play any ranked teams until the Sugar Bowl. Even Boise State does better than that.) beat the SEC’s third best team. Not sure how this reflects on the conference as a whole.

    Truth is bowl games are highly variable compared to regular season due to motivation and time off issues. The only game you can assume both teams show up for is the National Championship game under the current system. And we know how that has gone the last 5 or 6 years conference wise. Had Georgia been in the Sugar Bowl as they should have been the SEC might have showed up. They seemed more motivated to play even though they were shafted in the Bowl they got to play in.

  5. operationruse says:

    desertCard, what exactly was ridiculous about my comments? I was responding to Mr. Clay’s question about whether the Louisville win means the SEC is overrated. In his response, he said he thought Louisville could win its “share” of SEC games. I wanted him to clarify what their share would be and what his conclusion was based upon. Yes, if UL played the way they did the other night in every SEC game then they would be competitive in the SEC, but that is not realistic. This is the same UL team that got blasted by a medicore Syracuse team and lost to a dreadful UCONN team at home. They also had close games against FIU (horrible) and Southern Miss (winless). Playing in the SEC regular season is a whole different ballgame than playing one game against an SEC opponent with a month to prepare.

  6. operationruse says:

    yes, I agree with you that there is no excuse for Florida ever losing to Louisville. However, here is a newsflash. Florida did not see this game as being as big as UL. The seniors on this Florida team all have national championship rings. They were playing in a bowl game against a team that they were told for a month should not even be on the same field as them. Florida had a problem with playing down to their level of competition all year (see Louisiana Lafayette). UL took full advantage and kudos to them for doing so. One question though, do you think in light of this win that UL is a better team than Florida? If so, then you would have to agree that Syracuse and UCONN are better than UL, right? I for one do not believe that but you are certainly entitled to your opinion.

    There is a game on Monday night where the SEC champion is playing for a seventh consecutive national championship a year after their was an all SEC national championship game. Arkansas, the second worst team in the west by record and the 4-5 best SEC west program just stole the coach of the Big Ten Champion. You are right though, the partity she is a coming on strong.

  7. DavidS says:

    The SEC has been overrated, both by fans and the media. The SEC has been the dominate Conference in the BCS era. With lots of wins, but this created an over inflated sense of greatness. When you hear things like they can beat Pro-teams, or the worst schools in the conference can beat the best from other conferences you have to realize this is not reality. SEC fans and apparently even teams think they can just show up and win automatically. There is a reason why we play the games and not just decide the outcome on paper. The excuse that they only play well when the National Championship is on the line is pretty weak and if true says a lot about the lack character of the coaches and players. The bottom six teams of the Conference were less than impressive, and combined with Florida and LSU’s losses do reveal a shift. It does not mean that teams from the SEC will stop contending for the National Championship but maybe a return to reality when evaluating the strength of the conference.