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Florida Gators vs. Oklahoma Sooners: How SEC and Big 12 styles compare

Big 12 vs. SEC

As Florida and Oklahoma prepare to play for the BCS title on Thursday, there has been much discussion about the differences between the conferences. Are the defenses bad in the Big 12 because the offenses are so good? Or is the defense in the SEC so impressive because its offenses aren't very good? Eleven of 12 SEC teams rank among the top 40 nationally in total defense; Texas is the best Big 12 team at No. 49, followed by Oklahoma at No. 63. So could anybody score 60 or more points in five straight games in the SEC? And did Oklahoma accomplish that feat because of its great offense or the league's porous defenses? Perhaps the answers will become more clear this week. For now, here's a comparative look at the conferences:

How they shape up Big 12

The Big 12 has nine teams ranked among the nation's top 30 in passing offense:

Team national yds/ ranking gm

Texas Tech 1 417.3

Oklahoma 3 356.5

Missouri 4 340.4

Kansas 8 302.3

Texas 11 299.5

Nebraska 14 284.8

Kansas State 18 269.6

Texas A&M 26 252.4

Iowa State 29 248.4

SEC

The SEC has eight teams ranked among the nation's top 30 in total defense:

Team national yds/ ranking gm

Alabama 3 263.50

Tennessee 3 263.50

Florida 8 279.31

South Carolina 14 291.92

Mississippi 19 307.23

Georgia 22 312.00

Auburn 29 317.75

Vanderbilt 30 319.62

Your chips vs. mine

Oklahoma scored 60 or more in each of its past five games, making a case for the best offense in college football history. The Gators ranked No. 1 nationally in interceptions against Top 25 teams (12) and their first-team defense hasn't allowed a touchdown in five of the past seven games. Florida is hoping to prove that against a strong defense, the Sooners offense is very good, not great.

How they see it

Here is what some players and analysts have to say about the style of play in the two leagues:

."I think it's great offenses. I honestly think it's offenses. That's what the Big 12 is, they are a pass-dominated conference with quarterbacks who can distribute the ball and guys out there making plays. That's what it comes down to. The SEC is a more run-based conference. That's why guys on defense can shine a little bit more. I don't think they give offenses enough credit." — Missouri WR Jeremy Maclin

."In the SEC they don't have anybody like Texas Tech, they don't have anybody like Missouri who is just going to line up five wides and just throw the ball every time. Every offense's goal is to outscore the opponent, but this year with the talent that was in the Big 12, the quarterbacks in the Big 12, it was challenging (for defenses) because you know every team is going to score a lot of points." — Texas QB Colt McCoy, the Heisman Trophy runnerup

."What this says is the Big 12 has great offenses, like we've said all season, but their defenses aren't very good." — ESPN analyst Mark May after Texas Tech's 47-34 loss to Ole Miss of the SEC in the Cotton Bowl

."We try to score as many points as we can, but there are great defensive players in the Big 12. There are just so many high-powered offenses, I think it's just tough to stop. I do think there are good defenses, there's just a lot of good offensive players. I guess we'll get to see how we compare to other teams once the bowl season starts." — Texas Tech QB Graham Harrell, whose team lost 47-34 to Ole Miss in the Cotton Bowl

."In the SEC, I feel like it's the next thing to the NFL. You've got athletes. You've got big guys who can run and are very athletic. They (Big 12) have a lot of great quarterbacks out there this season. But if you play good defense … What gets me is that I always look at the scores, and sometimes it will be 54-45, just crazy numbers. We really don't want to let you score too many points. Our offense is really explosive. Their offense is explosive. It's going to come down to whose defense is the best." — UF junior All-American LB Brandon Spikes

."The Big 12 stats are like pesos. They aren't worth very much." — CBS analyst Gary Danielson

Florida Gators vs. Oklahoma Sooners: How SEC and Big 12 styles compare 01/04/09 [Last modified: Wednesday, January 7, 2009 3:47pm]

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