Year in and year out, college football analysts are quick to heap praise upon the SEC for postseason dominance of other conferences, especially the Big Ten.
This season has been no different.
The SEC has seen Florida, Mississippi State and Alabama handily beat Penn State, Michigan and Michigan State, respectively.
For college football pundits, this is clear evidence of the Big Ten's inferiority.
Some analysts say that the Big Ten is simply too slow to keep up with the speed of the SEC.
Others, like Lou Holtz, claim that the teams in the north do not face good competition week in and week out and that is why they lose to the SEC.
The real reason is much simpler than that.
Let's take a look at where these bowl games were played.
The Outback Bowl between Florida and Penn State was played in Tampa.
The Gator Bowl between Mississippi State and Michigan was played in Jacksonville.
The Capital One Bowl between Alabama and Michigan State was played in Orlando.
Noticing a trend?
All of these games were played in near tropical climates.
To that point, the majority of SEC rosters are made up of players from the south; these are 20-year-old kids who have probably never seen snow, let alone played a football game in it.
The SEC teams are right at home in the south, playing what amounts to a home game against northern teams that are forced to travel thousands of miles to take on their opponents in conditions they simply aren't used to.
Of course the SEC has a speed advantage; the teams are built on speed and constructed to perform well in optimal conditions. Big Ten teams are built on physicality and toughness, traits that suit them well in adverse conditions.
I'd like to see how teams like Florida and Mississippi State would fare if they had to visit State College, PA or East Lansing, MI on the first of the year.
Odds are the results would be a bit different.
Need proof? Take a look at the Sun Bowl.
Notre Dame took on Miami (FL) in El Paso, TX on the last day of the year. It's not SEC vs. Big Ten, but it's a similar enough matchup.
While Miami isn't an SEC team, they are similarly built, with toughness and strength taking a backseat to agility and speed.
The temperature at kickoff was a balmy 37 degrees.
Guess what happened?
The game was never close and Miami, with most of its roster wearing hoods and long sleeves, lost 33-17.
It was clear that the 'Canes were never comfortable out there, while the Fighting Irish, a tough Midwestern team built on Big Ten principles, looked right at home.
Sure, there may be other reasons why the SEC has beaten up on the Big Ten so often, but the home-field advantage that the SEC has in bowl games cannot be ignored.
There are some great football players up north, student athletes that are just as talented as their southern counterparts.
Don't believe me?
Come up this way sometime in December and they'll show you how men play football.
And leave your long sleeves at home. You know the Big Ten teams will.
Mike Osterberg is a student at Penn State University and Featured Columnist for the New York Giants. Follow him on twitter @Mike_Osterberg.
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