SEC defense domination this bowl season?

Killer nuts's picture
January 3, 2013 at 12:17p

Watching Louisville shred Florida's mighty SEC defense last night made me curious: Just how dominant have the SEC defenses been so far this bowl season? Let's take a look at the scores put up against SEC teams so far...

Louisville 33 vs Florida

Nebraska 31 vs Georgia

Michigan 28 vs South Carolina

Northwestern 34 vs Mississippi St

Clemson 25 vs LSU

NC State 24 vs Vandy

That's a total of 175 points in 6 games for an average of more than 29 points per game that SEC defenses are giving up. Keep in mind that this is also against 3 B1G teams, 2 ACC teams, and a Big East team. The SEC still has 3 bowl games left so this isn't a complete sample yet (Texas A&M has to play Oklahoma; Ole Miss plays Pittsburgh; and of course Alabama vs Notre Dame on Monday).

I then took a look at the average points per game that each of these teams scored and their national rank in points per game:

Louisville - 31.2ppg - 49th nationally, scored 33

Nebraska - 34.8 ppg - 28th nationally, scored 31

Michigan - 29.8 ppg - 57th nationally, scored 28

Northwestern - 31.7 ppg - 42nd nationally, scored 34

Clemson - 41 ppg - 6th nationally, scored 25

NC State - 28.1 ppg - 70th nationally, scored 24

These 6 teams for the season average 32.7 ppg. They scored 29 ppg on average in their bowl games. So the SEC teams held these teams to a combined ~4ppg less than they average. Each of these teams playing against SEC defenses, with the exception of Clemson, scored +/- 4 points of their average. This should be interpretted as they scored nearly as many points against SEC defenses as they did playing against their normal B1G, ACC, Big East foes.

One step further, let's look at the average points given up this year by these 6 SEC teams:

Florida - 12.9 ppg, gave up 33

LSU - 16.9 ppg, gave up 25

South Carolina - 17.4 ppg, gave up 28

Vanderbilt - 18.3 ppg, gave up 24

Georgia - 18.8 ppg, gave up 31

Mississippi State - 22.4 ppg, gave up 34

Each of these SEC defenses gave up more points than they averaged nationally, despite playing against offenses that are in theory worse than the mighty SEC teams they play each week. In fact, all combined, these teams on average gave up 11 more points per game in their bowl games than they did on the season.

Someone may argue that teams like Mississippi state or Vandy are not necessarily known for their dominant defensive efforts but remember an argument that SEC proponents make is the amazing depth of the league and that they are such a talented conference top to bottom. Furthermore, the teams that everyone sees as elite SEC defenses (Florida, Georgia, LSU) gave up 20, 12, and 8 more points than they average respectively.

Looking specifically at the B1G vs SEC matchups:

Nebraska, averaging about 35 ppg, scored 31 on an SEC defense that averages giving up about 19. Or 4 less than Nebraska averages but 12 more than Georgia averages

Michigan, averaging about 30 ppg, scored 28 on an SEC defense that averages giving up about 17. Or 2 less than Michigan averages but 11 more than South Carolina averages

Northwestern, averaging about 32 ppg, scored 34 on an SEC defense that averages giving up about 22. Or 2 more than NW averages and 12 more than Mississippi state averages.

Certainly when it boils down to it the biggest thing that matters is wins and losses. The SEC is 3-3 in these games. I hope I've showed that a deeper look at some statistics reveals that perhaps the SEC speed/talent advantage is perhaps not as large as some in the media may have us believe.

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FloridaBuck's picture

Great post and great stats.  Send these to Tim Brando.

jthiel09's picture

I feel like I was thinking this last night as I was crying tears of joy watching a mighty SEC team get beat in a BCS game (by a team from the Big East and the way it happened) ... thank you for putting it on here for me to read and enjoy even more.


BrewstersMillions's picture

The NFL draft combine 40 times also lend creedence to your theory that the differential in speed isn't that great either.  SEC Speed is a myth-its now more of a catch phrase than anything else.

BostonBuck's picture

I don't think they have better speed at the skill positions either - It's the speed of the big fat guys. IMHO they still have an advantage there....

Gametime's picture

Excellent analysis - they should post this on ESPiN.

Between goals and achievement is discipline and consistency. That fire you have inside to do whatever you love is placed there by God. Now go claim it. ~ Denzel Washington

jthiel09's picture

That would mean they would have to put something up that is based on facts, isn't going to happen any time soon especially if it's against the SEC.


Dr. House's picture

don't worry ESPN will steal this information soon enough.

ShowThemOhiosHere's picture

Great writeup.  The SEC schools have been unimpressive as a whole so far this bowl season.  These games have proven that while the SEC isn't bad or anything, they're not head and shoulders above everyone else.  Teams from other conferences can at least compete with them, and sometimes even beat them.  I don't think Texas A&M, Ole Miss, or Alabama are locks to win their games at this point.  Of course if Alabama wins the title again, all is redeemed and rectified and the narrative will conveniently ignore the rest of the SEC schools' bowl performances.  It'll be "SEC - 7 titles in a row".  No, the SEC did not win 7 titles in a row.  The last 7 titles were won by teams that happen to be in the SEC.  Only one team can win a national championship, and conference association has no bearing on that. 

Class of 2010.

BuckNKY's picture

Great writeup indeed.  But don't let the facts get in the way of declaring the power teams/conferences in the nation.  Clearly the SEC is the premier conference in the nation - ESPN said so...

conference association has no bearing on that

One disagreement. Being in the SEC allows a team with a late season loss (or no appearance in their respective conference championship) to go to the national championship.

ohhiyo's picture

well it looks like the college football landscape got hijaked by the overpretentious viewing of the immortal sec

brylee's picture

I upvoted, once I finished reading, "Watching Louisville shred Florida's mighty SEC defense"
HAHAHAHAHA  S E C!!!  S E C!!!  S E C!!!

jestertcf's picture

This sent me into a burning rage. I loathe backhanded compliments.

~Because we couldn't go for three~

bedheadjc's picture

That is horrible.
What an asshat. But Louisville did win Mike, and decisively at that.

ODEEZ330's picture

Sec defenses look good because sec offenses blow both have been some what exposed in these games. Floridas offense reminds me of ohio st offense in the forgotten yr lol

stark county football

Drewbuckeye's picture

Living in SEC country these are the type of arguements that I try to bring up, but these SEC fans don't get it for some reason and just go off of things that the media says and does not go off of any facts at all. VEry annoying. 

Rickb25's picture

Again: No disrespect to Lousiville, played great, deserved to win. But, if that game is played in November the #Gators win.

— Mike Greenberg
^^^ if this was the case, Ohio State would of beat Florida in that National championship game and would not have looked so sluggish and slow

bcarp87's picture

Great post. The SEC has one team that is an absolute juggernaut. They would bet any team in the nation at least 7 out of 10 times. The rest of the SEC is good but not as great as they are cracked up to be. Those arguments from homer SEC fans that they have 5 teams that could win any other conference, any team in any other conference couldn't finish better than 3rd in the SEC, etc. are ridiculous.