If it wasn’t for the offseason, we would never have the opportunity to hear pretty much every coach under the sun give their opinion on SEC football. Obviously, the nation is looking up at the conference that has won seven consecutive national titles and recently sent more than twice as many players to the 2013 NFL Draft than any other league.
But, the way Michigan coach Brady Hoke sees things, the SEC is not the only conference to play elite football. During an interview with 92.3-AM in Cleveland, Hoke chooses to talk up the Big Ten as opposed to trash talking the SEC (which is far better than what Oklahoma’s Bob Stoops has done). This via MLive.com:
“I think people get a little overly zealous when they think the SEC is (the only conference) where they play football,” Hoke said Tuesday. “I think when you look at the track record of the Big Ten, (we) play awfully good football.
“I really believe in this conference, and everyone has to recruit the way they need to recruit for their school. It’s all different. … (But) it’s an amazing conference of coaches that work awfully hard.”
A year ago, Hoke’s Wolverines went 0-2 against the SEC. With Denard Robinson under center and massive expectations, Michigan fell flat in Week 1, getting thumped by eventual national champion Alabama, 41-14. The year was book-ended with a 33-28, last-minute loss to South Carolina in the Outback Bowl — but the team looked vastly improved with Devin Gardner at quarterback, and Hoke is carrying that momentum into a highly successful recruiting effort thus far.
His 2014 class is currently ranked No. 1 in the nation by ESPN, obviously ahead of all the big-time SEC names.
We’re not saying that the tide is turning — after all, the Tide is still a college football monster after winning three of the nation’s four previous national titles. However, we are saying that Hoke seems to understand his team’s and his league’s place in the grand scheme of things.
It will be up to teams such as Alabama, Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, LSU and Texas A&M to continue recruiting and competing like the elite teams that they are. If that continues to happen, coaches such as Brady Hoke, Bob Stoops and Kansas’ Charlie Weis will be forced to continue paying respect to the nation’s premiere conference.
The SEC left “awfully good” behind a long time ago.
[H/T: Saturday Down South]