Jesse Johnson-USA TODAY Sports
No matter the media outlet, you're sure to come across pundits who can't seem to stop talking about "SEC speed." We all know how the folks at CBS and ESPN love to gush over the SEC—especially with all of the monetary investment both have with the conference these days—but there's a good reason for all the love.
The SEC has, for the last half-decade or so, been one of the most disciplined, strong and, above all, fast defensive conferences in the FBS. But over the past few seasons, the margins of victory for the SEC against teams from the ACC, Big 12 and Big Ten seem to be narrowing.
Is it a falloff from the SEC, or is the rest of the nation beginning to catch up?
The Big Ten, conversely, has been much-maligned over the same time frame, and for good reason. The traditional big names—Michigan, Ohio State, Wisconsin—have all fallen on hard times in one form or another. But is that conference starting to pull itself out of the doldrums?
Wednesday's matchup between the Wisconsin ground game and the South Carolina defense was a microcosm of the larger SEC-Big Ten debate. South Carolina struggled against the Badgers on the ground, but the Badgers couldn't slow the Gamecocks passing game.
Wisconsin was also unable to establish much of a passing game itself.
So is the Big Ten catching up? It depends on how you look at it.
If the forward pass were banned, teams like Wisconsin could do very, very well against teams like South Carolina. But the SEC powers like South Carolina appear to still have a more complete roster than Big Ten behemoths like Wisconsin.
With no passing game to speak of and an underwhelming defensive secondary, we're forced to give the SEC the edge for yet another season.