On Tuesday, as Ben Kercheval at College Football Talk pointed out, Missouri wide receiver T.J. Moe won the opener of SEC Media Days. The senior wide receiver made a splash in a big way with his entertaining, candid comments on the league, the players and Kansas football.
He dropped gems like:
“They say girls are prettier here, air’s fresher & toilet paper is thicker.”
“We’re about as midwest as it gets. This isn’t the Southeastern Conference….it’s the bottom right corner conference.”
"Apparently Ryan Swope is a god because he can come in and get first-team all-SEC. But that’s fine.”
The kid was, simply put, on fire. The dig at Swope. The talk about the promised land that is the SEC. The geography lesson for everyone else.
In a land of canned responses, avoiding softball questions and trying not to step on toes, Moe was the Boo-Boo Bear to Steve Spurrier's Yogi. The young buck stealing the pic-o-nic basket that the Old Ball Coach has taken time and again.
However, in all of Moe's comedic discussion, he made a point that sparked a little conversation among Big 12, SEC and casual fans alike:
“In the Big 12, we put our best athletes on offense. [In the SEC], they put their best athletes on defense. Kansas will never have a chance to play in the SEC, (& even) they’re always hearing about how great SEC defense are.”
Kick out the dig at Kansas and look at what he says in that first sentence: The Big 12 puts its best athletes on offense, and the SEC puts its best on defense.
On the Big 12 side, the kid is absolutely right. By and large, the league is skewed toward offense where schools not named Texas and Oklahoma are looking to stack the scoring side of the ball and hope for the best on defense.
So, in that vein, Moe got it half right. The Big 12 is a conference that generally puts its best athletes on the offensive side of the ball.
However, in the fertile recruiting lands of the Southeast, Moe's comments are not exactly true. While Oklahoma and Texas are the only schools able to shore up both sides of the ball for their rosters on a yearly basis, the SEC features multiple teams capable of doing that in every recruiting cycle.
In the very recent past, three Heisman winners, multiple NFL first-rounders and All-Americans would dispute the fact that SEC offenses don't have some of the best athletes in the country. Certainly a look at Alabama or LSU's 2012 offensive lines, two of the nation's best, would prove that the talent is not just sitting on the defensive side.
Marcus Lattimore, Knile Davis, Tyler Wilson, Tyler Bray, Aaron Murray, Justin Hunter and Chris Gragg would beg to differ with the ideal that they are "also-rans" like the defenders in the bulk of the Big 12. With Georgia, South Carolina, Alabama and Tennessee on the schedule, the Tigers defense is going to get quite the workout.
Georgia will be led by Aaron Murray, one of the league's top quarterbacks. South Carolina looks to pound on Mizzou with Lattimore and show it just how talented its running backs are.
Fans in Columbia will get a chance to look at just how athletic the Crimson Tide offense is when Nick Saban pulls into town in October. Tennessee should be a fun game because the Vols bring a high-powered offense to the table with big-time talent in Bray, Hunter and Da'Rick Rogers.
Moe got things half right in his comment about the talent distribution differences between the Big 12 and the SEC. However, the SEC just has more talent than most leagues.
The fertile recruiting grounds from Virginia to Texas supply more players than just the state of Texas that most Big 12 schools pick through to field a team. More players. More talent. More athleticism on both sides of the ball.
Moe, or more importantly, Moe's defense will find that out soon enough.