Based on articles I've read and conversations I've had with friends over the past month, it's fairly evident that the rest of the nation is sick of hearing about "SEC Speed." Well, so am I
The whole concept ignores SEC Power.
No question speed is crucial and can separate the elite from the chaff. But what use is speed if a team's busy getting overpowered? In Tommy Moffitt, LSU has one of the best strength & conditioning coaches in the country. Again I emphasize the first part of that title: STRENGTH. He's won multiple college and high school coach of the year awards for that position, and deservedly so.
I'm not sure where the database of this is kept at the moment, but it's been mentioned in Tigervision broadcasts that LSU boasts a number of players who can bench press 500 lbs or more (searching this blog for my own comments on the matter, I see that it was 9 players as of the Tulane game in 2006).
Pretty much every article written about the SEC Speed stereotype, though it attempts to point out that it's nearly neutral between Ohio State and LSU, simply fails to address the issue that it's almost insulting for the SEC to get talked about as if it's mere speed that sets the conference apart. And perhaps there's nothing that really does set the conference apart, but for all the discussion about how fast the SEC is, lost in it all is the simple fact that if it came down to a knock-down, drag-out trench-war battle between LSU and any other team in the country - Ohio State included - we wouldn't come across too shabby ourselves. I'm not saying other conferences aren't powerful, but one gets the distinct feeling from listening to all this discussion that not a single person expects LSU to win if the speed issue were neutralized. Everyone goes out of his way to concede that Ohio State is plenty fast themselves, and everyone seems to be picking LSU anyway (be it for the alleged talent discrepancy or home field advantage), but in doing so NO ONE is taking any care to say "Hey, if LSU got punched in the mouth by Ohio State, could it get up and simply overpower its opponent? Could it win the game simply because it can win the battle in the trenches?"
That aspect has been completely swept under the rug, as far as I can tell, and I'm guessing if we DO win the title on Monday night, the following morning's headlines will be talking about the massive void in discussing the sheer strength of the LSU Tigers (and yes, I've seen Vern Gholston's biceps...again, this isn't a relative discussion). It isn't all about speed in the SEC - just ask Glenn Dorsey and Jacob Hester, who don't earn their living OUT-running you, just OVER-running you. Hopefully the nation can get that through its collective head sooner or later. Hopefully they'll learn it Monday night.
Images courtesy LSUsports.net (Moffitt), The Advocate (Hester).