SEC Speed Myth debunked…really?

Posted by Mark Branstad – Football Talent Advisors

Now that the college football season is underway I’ve started looking at more college football forums and surprisingly  I see a lot of chat about conference speed.  Truthfully I thought that was more a topic for the off-season.  Apparently the speed topic really touches a nerve with a lot of fans.  Regardless I saw a couple really interesting and for the most part well thought out posts.

The first from which looks at recruiting “opportunities” of each conference via state populations.  Pretty interesting stuff, I’m not sure exactly how it does or doesn’t answer whether the SEC is faster.  Seems to bash the Big 10 for having a larger proportional population to draw from yet “slower” high school athletes based on ethnic population distribuition.  Could be…I’m not a sociology or population expert. 

Another interesting post claims the speed myth is an urban legend.  The poster supports the claim using 40 yard dash times as the benchmark for speed.  Now this poster went through a lot of trouble and makes an interesting argument.  I see three major issues with this however.  First, using 40 yard dash times as a benchmark for speed is sketchy at best.  Second, apparently this 40 data was acquired from Scout combines which openly admits to using hand-held timing at their combines…um that’s a real problem.  Third, the poster sets the benchmark for speed as 4.4 / 40.  Why?  That’s extremely fast even for hand-held timing. 

I’m not sure how accurate the poster is regarding D1 football programs per state either.  I believe the poster listed Indiana as having three D1 schools, for example.  Well Indiana actually has four – Ball State, Indiana University, Purdue University and Notre Dame.  This isn’t a huge deal but looking at the calculations used in the post inaccurate counts sort of damage the conclusions drawn. 

Interesting stuff none the less.  The speed myth will probably never be completely debunked until a true benchmark of speed is agreed upon and standardized.  Any ideas about what it should be let me know?  Based on this week’s games an argument could probably be made for the Pac-10 as the speed conference.  But I’ll leave that to some other data cruncher.

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