The SEC coaches are currently gathered in Destin for SEC spring meetings, which means a few coaches got to talk to the media. Alabama's Nick Saban was one of them, and he got to talking about scheduling and the difficulty of playing in the SEC, something everyone will admit is prett-ayy, prett-ayy difficult. However, he didn't stop there, as he took this gloriously backhand shot at Ohio State:
Saban on strength of SEC six in top 10 last year: "How many would Ohio St have beaten? Would they have won 3? I don't know."— Matt Hayes(@Matt_HayesSN) May 28, 2013
At first, it sounds like a pretty valid criticism. Ohio State had a pretty easy walk through the Big Ten on their way to a 12-0 season, and they probably wouldn't have finished with the same shiny record if they were an SEC team. However, upon closer inspection:
No team in the SEC had to beat all six of those teams, being Alabama, LSU, Texas A&M, Florida, Georgia, and South Carolina. Florida beat three of them. Alabama beat two. Georgia beat one. None of those six top SEC teams had to play more than four. So when Saban suggests that Ohio State may not win three games against the top six SEC teams, he's actually being derisive about something his own team couldn't accomplish in 2012.
Saban may have used Ohio State by name, but his statement really applies to every non-SEC contender. "They don't play as tough a schedule as us." It's true, but he's blowing things out of proportion. Due to conference divisions, no team in the SEC has to play every other top team. It makes for a good sound byte, though, and it serves his program's purposes to further reinforce just how much more difficult the SEC is. The media listens when he speaks, and he knows it.
People revere/fear Saban as a no-nonsense cyborg who only cares about making his team better. It's The Process. He doesn't have time for this s***. It would seem, though, he does appear to have time to play politics with the media.