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

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

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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