Interesting Info On SEC Football

Where else but in notes provided by the Southeastern Conference each week would a body be able to learn that Vanderbilt is the only team in America that has surpassed its entire 2010 win total through the first three games of 2011. In fact, the Commodores' 3-0 record also surpasses the win total from the 2009 campaign.



To be honest, this space gleans those notes for information that might be apropos to the upcoming Alabama football game. And there is no shortage of information about the Crimson Tide hosting Arkansas in the SEC opener for both teams. Both Bama and the Razorbacks are 3-0 and nationally ranked, the Crimson Tide second in the nation, the Hogs 12th. CBS will televise the game from Bryant-Denny Stadium with kickoff at 2:30 p.m. CDT.

In this week's Alabama-Arkansas game, it will be a battle of the league's top offense against the league's top defense. Arkansas leads the SEC in passing offense, total offense and scoring offense while Alabama leads the SEC in passing defense, total defense and scoring defense. The Hogs are 8th in rushing offense while the Tide is 3rd in rushing defense.

Alabama Coach Nick Saban, recently voted the nation's best coach (and nation's best recruiter) in a poll of Scout.com/FoxSports reporters, is widely considered to be the best defensive mind in the nation. Arkansas Coach Bobby Petrino is at or near the top of everyone's list of top offensive strategists.

Only Arkansas (119) has had more passes thrown against its defense than Alabama's (117), however, only Vanderbilt (44) and Kentucky (45) has had less completions against its defense than Alabama (45). Opponents are completing just 38.5 per cent of its passes against Alabama, which leads the nation. The next closest SEC team is Kentucky at 47.9 per cent and Vanderbilt at 48.9 per cent.

The 2.9 yards per pass attempt against Alabama's defense leads the nation (Central Florida is second at 4.0).

Arkansas' pass offense averages 9.5 yards attempt, which leads the SEC (tied for 2nd at 8.8 – Tennessee, Florida and Auburn) and is tied for 8th nationally.

In the category of "There's Still Hope," in 2002 Arkansas lost its first SEC game of the year, 30-12 to Bama, and went on to play in the SEC Championship Game. Of the 38 teams that previously played in the SEC Championship Game, however, only five times has a team opened conference play with a loss. The last was Tennessee in 2007 (lost to Florida, 20-59). Other times were LSU in 2005 (lost to Tennessee, 27-30, OT), Arkansas in 2002 (lost to Alabama, 12-30), LSU in 2001 (lost to Tennessee, 18-26) and Tennessee in 1997 (lost to Florida, 20-33).

According to USA Today's Jeff Sagarin, the Southeastern Conference is the nation's top conference after the first three weeks of the 2011 season. The SEC has a 80.63 rating which is ahead of the Big 12 (79.83) and the ACC (76.90). In Sagarin's rankings this week, Alabama is ranked first with LSU third, Florida sixth, South Carolina 13th, Arkansas 22nd and Auburn 26th. According to Sagarin's rankings, Mississippi State has played the SEC's toughest schedule followed by Georgia, South Carolina and Auburn.

SEC offenses are running the football 57.0 per cent of the time while passing 43.0 per cent. The national average is 54.4 percent rushing and 45.6 percent passing. The largest differential is the Big Ten, whose offenses are rushing the ball 60.3 percent of the time and passing 39.7 percent.

SEC offenses are scoring on fewer plays than most conferences. SEC teams are averaging 15.06 offensive plays per touchdown, which is second lowest (Big 12: 15.01) in FBS. The national average is 18.17 offensive plays per touchdown.

SEC teams have scored more rushing touchdowns than any other conference (84). The next closest is the Big Ten with 82. SEC teams are fifth in FBS in passing touchdowns with 58. The Pac-12 is first with 92.

Alabama has the nation's current longest streak of being ranked in the top 25 of the Associated Press poll. Bama has been in 53 consecutive rankings. Boise State is second at 49, followed by TCU at 45, and LSU at 36.

Alabama is 22-1 in its last 23 games at Bryant-Denny Stadium. In those games, the Tide has averaged 415.7 yards per game on offense and given up an average of 224.1 yards per game on defense. In that span, the Tide have averaged 33.4 points per game and given up an average of 8.1 points per game.

Arkansas is 175-82-3 (.679) all time when ranked in the top 15 (This week – 14th in AP, 12th in USA Today). The Razorbacks are 20-5 (.800) when ranked 14th and have won five straight as the 14th-ranked team in the country.

Auburn has won 10 consecutive games at Jordan-Hare Stadium, which is tied for the 10th longest win streak at the stadium in program history. Auburn is 67-15 (.817) in home games since 2000, the fourth highest percentage in the SEC (LSU .859, Florida .838, Georgia .831).

Florida's offense has started 35 drives this season and has had just three that were three-and-out (3 plays and punt). The Gators have punted six times total in the first three games. The Gators have scored points in 11 of 12 quarters this season, including TD in nine of the 12 quarters.

Through three games, Georgia quarterback Aaron Murray has thrown touchdowns to six different receivers. Junior Tavarres King has three, freshman Malcolm Mitchell and junior Orson Charles has two each, while junior Rantavious Wooten and freshmen Isaiah Crowell and Michael Bennett have one each.

Kentucky linebacker Danny Trevathan has posted double-digit tackles in 12 consecutive games, dating back to last season. The SEC's leading tackler (38) ranks fourth nationally in tackles per game (12.67). UK is 5-0 under Joker Phillips in games that the Wildcats win the turnover margin.

The Ole Miss offensive line ranks tied for third in the SEC in sacks allowed (4), while the Rebel defensive line is tied for fifth in sacks recorded (4).

Mississippi State has not lost to an unranked team since Dan Mullen's first season of 2009, and all three losses to unranked squads that season were to opponents receiving votes in the week the game was played.

South Carolina is off to a 3-0 start for the third time under Steve Spurrier. It was 3-0 in 2007 en route to a 6-6 season, and 3-0 in 2010 when it finished 9-5. In both of those years, it dropped the fourth game (at LSU and at Auburn, respectively). The last time South Carolina opened 4-0 was in the 2001 season when the Gamecocks got off to a 5-0 start before finishing with a 9-3 mark under head coach Lou Holtz.

Miscellaneous National Statistics:

Alabama is tied for national lead with only 1.0 redzone opportunities per game allowed

LSU and Alabama are tied for third nationally with only three plays on defense that have given up more than 20 yards (Kansas State -1, Central Florida-2).

Florida, LSU and Alabama are tied for the SEC best in only 11 rushing first downs allowed this season.

Three SEC teams are among the top four in the nation in rushing yards allowed per play. Following Stanford (1.23 ypp) is Florida (1.24 ypp), LSU (1.61 ypp) and Alabama (1.95 yppg). The national average is 4.35 yards per play and the conference average is 4.60.

Vanderbilt leads the nation with 10 interceptions on defense

Auburn is second in the nation with 12 touchbacks on kickoffs (and second in percentage of kickoffs for touchbacks – 63.16%)

Arkansas has allowed only one redzone TD (tied for 2nd in nation)

LSU's punt coverage unit has given up a net of minus 11 yards on five returns, which is second best in the nation (Navy - -14 yards on 1 return).

Coaching staffs around the SEC will wear Coach to Cure MD patches during games this weekend to raise awareness and funding for Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy research. Fans are encouraged to donate online at www.coachtocuremd.org or donate $5 by texting CURE to 90999.

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