Notes As SEC Teams Open 2012 Season

For a week, at least, South Carolina is atop the Southeastern Conference football heap. The Gamecocks opened the season in Nashville Thursday with a come-from-behind 17-13 win over Vanderbilt. Here are some notes as the SEC, and college football, get the 2012 season underway this weekend.

Alabama was to finish its preparation in Tuscaloosa Friday afternoon, then fly to Dallas and have a walk-around – not a practice – in Cowboys Stadium, where he Crimson Tide will take on Michigan at 7 p.m. CDT Saturday. ABC will televise the game.

Every SEC team had been scheduled to start the season this weekend. Texas A&M, however, had its opener against Louisiana Tech, which had been scheduled for Thursday night, moved to Oct. 13 because of Hurricane Isaac.

In 1988, Alabama was scheduled to go to Texas A&M on Sept. 17. Hurricane Gilbert posed a threat to Texas, and Bama elected not to take its team to College Station. Cynics suggested it was because Tide quarterback David Smith had been injured in the Bama opener. As it turned out, it was a gorgeous day in College Station on Sept. 17 and there was no ball game. The game was played at the end of the season – dubbed the Hurricane Bowl – and Alabama was a 30-10 winner.

Alabama has the best record of any SEC team in season-opening games. The Tide is 93-21-3, an 80.8 success rate.

Since 1992, the SEC has won 76.5 per cent of its non-conference games (including bowls). The SEC is 735-225-2 (.765) since 1992, includes 88-56 (.611) in bowl games and 647-169-2 (.792) in regular season games. Since 1933, the current list of SEC schools is .734 (2473-865-91) in non-SEC games.

Since 2006 (last six seasons), the SEC is 79-51 (.608) against the five other BCS automatic-qualifying conferences. The SEC's best season against the five was last season, as the league posted a 14-5 mark (.737) against them. The last time the SEC had a losing record against a conference in a given year was in 2007, when the SEC was 1-2 vs. Big East and 0-1 vs. Pac-10 (now Pac-12).

During the last 10 opening weekends, SEC teams are 85-23 (.787) against non-conference foes.

The SEC has more teams ranked in the pre-season poll (7 USA Today / 6 AP) than any conference (Big 12 has six in AP poll). The SEC has 5 of the top 10 teams in both USA Today and AP polls, which is the first time the SEC has ever accomplished that feat.

Alabama is ranked second in both the Associated Press poll and the Coaches Poll. LSU, Georgia, South Carolina, Arkansas, and Florida are ranked in both polls, while Auburn is ranked 25th in the Coaches Poll, but is not ranked by the AP.

Since 2004, the SEC has had 28.3 percent of its intra-conference games decided by 5-points-or-less, the third lowest percentage of all FBS conferences. Since 2004, 111 of 393 SEC intra-conference games have been decided by 5-points-or-less. The ACC (31.3% , 121 of 387) is the highest percentage and the Sun Belt follows (28.9% , 73 of 253).

The SEC had 104 different players make 19 different pre-season award watch lists this season – a total of 204 different mentions overall. Six different current SEC players were listed on five different watch lists – Mississippi State DB Johnthan Banks, South Carolina DE Jadeveon Clowney, Florida DL Sharrif Floyd, Georgia LB Jarvis Jones, LSU DE Sam Montgomery and Alabama DL Jesse Williams.

LSU has won 37 straight non-conference regular season games, longest such streak in nation. The streak began on Sept. 7, 2002 with 35-10 win against The Citadel.

Alabama has the longest streak of consecutive appearances in the AP Top 25 at 66 straight weeks.

Florida has won its last 22 straight season openers – the longest active streak in the SEC and second in the nation (26-Nebraska). LSU has the longest home win streak in the nation at 17 games.

Three SEC teams (Alabama-18, LSU-18 and Arkansas-12) have streaks of consecutive weeks in the AP Top 10.

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