College football fans far and wide debate on which conference is the best every year. Arguably it has been the SEC for the most part during the BCS era.
But the question is, is the SEC the best at everything?
As Lee Corso would annoyingly say, "Not so fast, my friend."
You can't be the best at everything. You can come close to perfection, but like the 2007 New England Patriots, you come up just short.
So what are the SEC's fatal flaws both on and off the field?
Well, I have found 12 of them that give the SEC a reason to look down in shame...
Every team has its issues with players getting into trouble. Sometimes we hear about it; other times it is dealt with internally.
However, the SEC has had several high-profile incidents where players were cuffed and stuffed and the press got a hold of it and burned it into the ground.
Last year, one of the highlights was the three Tennessee players who decided to rob someone outside the 7-Eleven with a pellet gun. Two of the players—safety Janzen Jackson and WR Nu'Keese Richardson—were prized freshman recruits.
Also last year, Florida DE and current Bengal Carlos Dunlap was given a DUI just days before the enormous SEC title game.
Several Auburn players were also arrested for DUI, and there was another case against RB Eric Smith for disorderly conduct.
If you think it ends with last season, think again.
This year it was Georgia's turn to get hit by the DUI bug.
Sophomore RB Dontavius Jackson and end Tavarres King were the latest to get pulled over by the campus police and be given DUIs and underage citations.
I know other conferences have had their share of trouble off the field, but it seems to me like the SEC is one of the worst at keeping their thugs, hmmm, I mean, players out of jail.
And to think, I didn't even mention Jeremiah Masoli...
Our next spot is more of a cheap shot at Les Miles than anything else, as he may indeed need Flava Flav's clock for the 2010 season.
It started with the head shaker against Ole Miss, where the Tigers dropped one 25-23 to the Rebels. A failed screen pass ended in bounds with 25 seconds left, and as Chris Berman would say, "tick tick tickticktick." They finally called their last timeout with nine ticks left and lost.
Many said it was their QB Jordan Jefferson's fault, but I am going with the coaching staff on this one due to the fact of what happened on New Year's Day.
In the Capital One Bowl they once again could not manage the clock. Late in the game, with 48 seconds left, they tried a short pass across the middle that went for only four yards, and again the time ticked away, making LSU fans have Ole Miss flashbacks.
Now I am sure that there are and have been many other clock-managing issues in college football, but these are two glaring examples of not being the best at watching the clock.
Les Miles, congratulations for bringing the conference down...
The next entry is more of a tricky one.
The SEC has several very talented head coaches who have spent several years with their schools, with the dean of the SEC being Mark Richt, who has been at Georgia for over a decade now.
But for the rest—well, there have been Senators in office longer than they have coached at their current schools, and I mean six years.
Steve Spurrier, Les Miles, and Urban Meyer meet this criteria, while the rest have been a few years to none at all.
Why is the SEC not the best here?
Well, look at the Big Ten for example. There are no rookie coaches. Jim Tressel and Kirk Ferentz have been at their schools for a long time, while Joe Paterno was coaching at Penn State when Jesus was in diapers.
The rest of the coaches have been with their schools for about three to four years for the most part.
So Joker Phillips, Derek Dooley, whoever the guy at Vandy is this week, and Dan Mullen, you have not helped the SEC be the best at coaching tenure.
When it comes to handing a diploma to one of your players when those magical four years are up, as a whole, the SEC is in the middle of the pack.
The winner in this department is actually the ACC, with the Big Ten next.
Out of all SEC schools, Vanderbilt was actually tops, graduating over 90 percent of their players, while Arkansas and Tennessee brought up the rear.
It's no secret that the SEC has produced a ton of NFL talent. But when looking at current NFL rosters, I see a lack of star WR talent being developed by SEC teams.
The exceptions are Hines Ward, a Georgia product, and maybe Dwayne Bowe, an LSU guy.
When I go down the NFL lists of top receivers, I see mainly ACC, Big East, and smaller conference schools.
The SEC may indeed be a factory for producing NFL talent, but receiver is one area where they aren't as strong.
It seems like everyone is being investigated for some type of illegal activity when it comes to college football this offseason. No conference has been put under the microscope more than the SEC.
You have the situation with Marcell Dareus in Alabama, where they are looking into whether he attended an agent's party, which breaks the rules.
There are still questions as to if former Florida tackle Maurkice Pouncey took 100k from an agent before the Sugar Bowl.
Georgia is the latest in the whole agent contact buzz that is sweeping college football, and so is South Carolina because of possible agent contact with TE Weslye Saunders.
Avoiding NCAA investigations—well, the SEC is definitely not the best at this...
The SEC has had success in winning the Heisman as recently as last year, with Alabama running back Mark Ingram taking the trophy.
But they are not the conference that has taken the most since 1980.
The SEC has taken the bronze statue six times in the last 30 years. This is a span that includes winners such as Bo Jackson, Herschel Walker, and Tim Tebow.
Who has them beat?
The Big 12/Big 8/SWC.
If you take the current Big 12 lineup and look at them over the past 30 years, you get seven winners.
Oklahoma and Nebraska make up the majority of the school winners, but nevertheless the SEC is not the best when it comes to winning Mr. Heisman over the past 30 years.
It seems that more and more teams are moving to the spread offense in college football. Whether it's a spread passing game or a spread option, it's still a spread offense.
So how does the SEC compare to other conferences when it comes down to running the spread?
The answer is about the middle of the pack.
Both the Big Ten and Big 12 have several teams that go with a spread, while the SEC has just a handful.
The teams that do rely on it are highlighted by Auburn and Florida, but it seems like the bulk of the good SEC teams go with a pro-form or some other type of contemporary offense.
Sorry SEC—you are not the best at the spread offense.
When it comes to rivalry games, the SEC, like many conferences, is rich in tradition.
But where they come up short is in the wacky trophies that are handed out for winning certain rivalry games.
Besides the Egg Bowl, what else is there?
Sure you have the world's largest cocktail party, but what about the Paul Bunyan Axe?
The Big Ten seemingly has one for every game between teams—the Land Grant, the Land of Lincoln Penny, and Floyd of Rosedale to name a few.
Sorry Southern folks—you need some better rivalry trophies if you want to be the best with the rivalry hardware.
Sure the SEC has a TV deal with CBS during the afternoon on Saturdays and even gets a primetime gig with ESPN on Saturday nights.
But they don't have their own network.
Both the Big Ten and MWC have their own networks, which is something that I am sure the SEC will eventually get, but for right now that is something they are not the best at.
When it comes down to it, the SEC is still the good ol' boys of college football for the most part, and I don't see a whole lot of personality coming out of this conference.
There are really no players that are on my radar as being guys that entertain or are someone interesting that I care about. There is nothing bad about going about your business, but it is all about entertainment, right?
As far as coaches, Urban Meyer is dry, as are Nick Saban and most of the rest. Steve Spurrier may be the only exception to this.
As far as conferences with the most personality is concerned, I would go either Big Ten or Big 12.
When it comes to losing the BCS title game, the SEC is not good at losing, which is a good thing.
This final slide gives props to the best conference in college football, because you simply cannot argue with four straight titles.
So for all you SEC fans that made it this far in the article, congrats on being the best at not losing the big game.
When it comes to finding flaws in the best conference around, it can be tough. I do think I found a few, mainly off the field, but who knows how that can translate to the on the field part?
You really can't argue with the SEC being the best conference right now, but as we all know, the landscape of college football can change in an instant.
So what other categories would you put down as the SEC not being the best at?
Do you agree or disagree with my list?
As always, it's just my opinion; I could be wrong.
Please feel free to comment in a constructive manner, and feel free to check out many of my other articles previewing the upcoming season.