The hatred and jealousy of the national media regarding SEC dominance reaches new heights daily. Seven straight national titles will do that. This dominance has caused a national backlash where other programs and players are over-hyped to counter the SEC as being the big story every year. We have come to expect that USC will be deemed the team every preseason who can knock off the SEC but this year’s fraudulent campaign to promote Manti Teo is a travesty that should embarrass so-called national sports writers.
We will start off with his on the field performance. Teo was 46th in the country in tackles per game. Four SEC linebackers ranked ahead of him and not one of those guys played for Alabama or Florida and I would take any of their 3 over him. I know what you’re thinking. He may not have had the sheer number of tackles but surely he had a ton of tackles for loss because he was such a smart player. He had a measly 5.5. I have no idea where that ranks nationally because the top 100 stops at 11.5, over double what Teo had. For reference, Kevin Minter of LSU had 15 and Ole Miss freshman Denzel Nkemdiche had 13.
Now lets look at his catfishing scandal. Never has there been a campaign to support a young man as the one waged by the national media for Manti. Even cynical reporters such as Skip Bayless ran to his defense. Guess what America? He lied. He lied repeatedly. Looking back I think he and Notre Dame succumbed to Noble Cause Corruption, which I wrote about recently. He then admitted to Katy Couric that he was informed on December 6th that it was a hoax. He again mentioned his dead girlfriend on December 8that a Heisman finalist function. That is absolutely disgusting that he would still claim the lie but the national media supported that as well.
A few days ago, all of the eyes of the NFL world wanted to see how Manti performed on the field. The only things that mattered at the combine were his measurables. Another epic fail by the anti-SEC hype machine. Of 26 linebackers that ran the 40, Manti’s time of 4.82 was 20th. From the AP:
“Teo participated in five of the seven drills, opting out of the bench press and 60-yard shuttle, and did not finish ranked among the top five at his position in any of them.His vertical jump was 33 inches, far below Southern Mississippi’s Jamie Collins’ positional best of 41½. Teo jumped 113 inches in the broad jump. He finished the three-cone drill in 7.13 seconds, well off the pace set by Gooden (6.71). Teo completed the 20-yard shuttle in 4.27 seconds, again behind Gooden’s 4.18.”
In short we saw that Manti was a complete fraud. It’s amazing to me that the SEC is so hated for its success nationally that writers outside of the southeast will go to the links that they do to promote someone like this. A big part of his push was the national love affair with Notre Dame but that’s a whole different story. We saw a guy who performed in a very average manner all year long get pushed by the media into a second place Heisman finish. We saw a guy who milked a lie for everything it was worth in a pursuit for national recognition and get defended by the media, even after it all fell apart. Now we are seeing real life happen. The NFL does not care about the anti-SEC media spin and his plummeting draft stock proves it. The funny thing is that it will happen again next year. If I had to guess, I would say that Ohio State is the next chosen “SEC killer” to be promoted and who knows what mediocre player will get hyped next year. The fun part is that we will get to see the jealousy of the national media fall apart again in the 2013-2014 season as it does every single year