Fun with numbers: Is the SEC down this year? It certainly looks that way.

TheHumbleBuckeye's picture
November 21, 2011 at 8:57p

I have posted all year about how abysmal the SEC offenses are this year as compared to years past. Obviously, any SEC fan would counter that SEC offenses are down because the defenses are that good. Well, I decided to look into that. The simple numbers suggest that the defenses are slightly thus far in 2011 than they were in 2010 (about 23.205 yards per game better, on average). However, the offenses are worse by about 36.58 yards per game. Sure, the decline in the offenses is greater than the improvement in the defenses, but that's hardly conclusive. But check out the numbers against non conference opponents....

Both the offenses and defenses of the SEC have fared worse this year against non-conference opponents than they did last year. Three of the offenses that have thus far fared better (South Carolina, Florida, Georgia) still have their toughest non-conference games of the year this week (well, for Georgia, their second toughest non-con game), so those number stand to get even worse by next week. Vandy has the second-most improved defense against non-conference teams, and still they have to play their toughest non-conference game of the year (not that they had any really tough non-con games ot begin with). So basically, even though the numbers against non-conference teams are worse this year on both offense and defense for the SEC, they stand to get even worse by next week.

A couple more interesting tidbits:

- LSU surrenders an average of 219.7 yards per game in SEC play versus 297.25 in non-conference play. Sure, WVU hung up a lot on them, but Western Kentucky gained 226 yards on the Tigers, above their SEC opponent average. LSU did not bench their starters in the second half (it was a 14-7 game at halftime).

- LSU's offense averages only two yards more against non-conference opponents (378.25 ypg) than they do against SEC opponents (376.4 ypg).

- Alabama's defense is worse against non-conference opponents than SEC opponents, and Alabama hasn't exactly played offensive juggernauts out of conference (I'm looking at you Penn State).

- Against non-conference opponents this year, SEC teams are averaging almost 21 yards less and giving up almost 25 yards more per game. To put that in perspective, the difference between being in the top 30% in the NCAA in total offense and the bottom 40% is about 21 ypg.

The thing to take away from this is that the SEC has gotten worse on both offense and defense against non-conference opponents this year, and they still have four respectable non-conference games to play (Ga Tech, Florida State, Clemson, and Wake). I'll update this next week after those games. I hope to compare prior years 2006-2009 when I get more time as well.

Given the evidence, I strongly oppose an all-SEC BCS Championship game. This is not the SEC of 2006-2010. The dominance is not there.

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TheHumbleBuckeye's picture

I must also note that i did not include bowl games in the statistics versus non-conference opponents last year, but I will AFTER bowl season. I wanted to compare apples-to-apples as much as was possible. After this weekend, these numbers may look even worse for the SEC. I can totally see the ACC going 3-1 against the SEC East this weekend.

Maestro's picture

Awesome stuff.  Thanks for doing the leg work.

vacuuming sucks

TheHumbleBuckeye's picture

There's a lot more to come. I decided to go back a few more years. Here's a little teaser.

SEC Defenses against non-conference opponents since 2008:

I think at this point it's safe to say that the lack of offense in the SEC has nothing to do with SEC defenses, because SEC defenses are significantly worse this year than they were in the past few years. And they still have four more respectable non-conference games this weekend. I will unleash the full report on Monday after the ACC goes 3-1 against the SEC East.

Hope you enjoyed the teasers. Next Monday's report will blow your mind and needs to go viral. No way in hell that there should be a rematch for the title game. I'd have accepted an argument from 2008 or even 2009, but certainly not this year. The conference is clearly on the decline, as you'll see next week.

AJ's picture

As it stands right now Vandy KILLLLLLED wake forest and UGA beat GT without a hitch.  So your prediction is already off.  Look, I understand NO ONE wants an ALL SEC rematch, but LSU and Bama have clearly put themselves in front of everyone else.  They also have the number one and two defenses in college football.  We lost today, and the last thing I think we need to be doing is throwing punches at the SEC, let's just take care of ourselves and the BIG.

"Without winners, there wouldn't even be civilization." -----------Woody Hayes

AJ's picture

Looks like the SEC east went 3-1 against the ACC....and thats the weaker of the 2 divisions.  That is why you should leave this shit alone.  I'm thinking it shouldn't go viral.

"Without winners, there wouldn't even be civilization." -----------Woody Hayes

BuckeyeFanInBoulder's picture

Without question the overall quality of college football has declined considerably in the last 5-7 years.  Teams from that "Vince Young vs USC" '04-'07 timeframe would destroy this year's LSU team.  OSU teams from that timeframe would easily be national champs this year.  I believe for your stats to work you would have to assume that all other conferences have remained the same as previous years.  They've declined as well, but apparently at a different pace than the SEC.

AJ's picture

I would agree, for whatever reason things have declined.  But I don't think VY or USC would DESTROY this years LSU team.  Would be interesting to watch though.  But yes you are spot on with saying the stats need to assume all other conferences have remained the same.  As we saw the SEC west didn't get waxed by the basketball conference ACC.

"Without winners, there wouldn't even be civilization." -----------Woody Hayes