StatTiger: Strength of SEC Football

Inside the Auburn Tigers columnist Stuart Carter writes about the power of SEC football going back to the 1950s and how the Tigers have performed in each decade.

The landscape of the Southeastern Conference has changed over the last six decades and it appears to be at an all time high. During the 1950s the Ole Miss Rebels had the elite program within the Southeastern Conference and was one of the top three programs in the nation. The University of Alabama would make its presence known during the following two decades.

Three SEC football programs made the Top 20 in terms of win percentage during the decade of the 1950's. Ole Miss posted the nation's No. 3 win percentage, Georgia Tech was No. 8 and Tennessee was No. 13. During the 1960s, four SEC football programs graced the Top 20. The Crimson Tide had the No. 1 win percentage in the nation, Ole Miss was No. 9, LSU was No. 12 and Florida was No. 18.

Alabama remained at the top of the nation during the decade of the 1970s, but the Southeastern Conference failed to have any other team in the nation's Top 20. The 1980s would bring the return of four SEC programs in the Top 20. The Georgia was the highest ranked SEC team at No. 6 in the nation. Auburn was No. 10, Alabama dropped to No.12 and Tennessee finished at No. 20.

Coach Steve Spurrier brought the University of Florida to national prominence, with the fourth highest win percentage in the nation, during the decade of the '90s. The Tennessee Volunteers were close behind at No. 5 and Alabama finished at No. 17 in the country. During this current decade, five Southeastern Conference teams are in the nation's Top 20, which would be a conference record if the trend continues.

LSU is No.7, Georgia is No. 9, Auburn is No. 12, Florida is No. 14 and Tennessee is No. 15. What makes this even more impressive is the fact there are more Division I programs in college football than in any other time period. Nine of the 12 teams in the SEC have a winning percentage above .500 this current decade, which clearly shows the level of parody within the conference.

Tommy Tuberville Era

After eight years on the Plains, Coach Tommy Tuberville's Auburn Tigers have compiled a 71-29-0 record. There have been two trips to the Southeastern Conference Title game and one undefeated season. Though Auburn hasn't dominated the conference, one could argue this is the most competitive time in the history of the conference. Here is the winning percentage of Auburn's conference opponents, broken down by each coaching era from 1951-2006.

SEC Opponents with a winning record:

Coach Ralph Shug Jordan … 61.9%

Coach Doug Barfield ….…... 60.0%

Coach Pat Dye ……….……. 65.4%

Coach Terry Bowden …..…. 57.1%

Coach Tommy Tuberville … 65.1%

SEC Opponents with a win Pct of .700 or better:

Coach Ralph Jordan ……….. 33.9%

Coach Doug Barfield ……… 33.3%

Coach Pat Dye …………….. 34.6%

Coach Terry Bowden ……… 34.7%

Coach Tommy Tuberville …. 34.8%

SEC Opponents with a win Pct of .750 or better:

Coach Ralph Jordan ………… 25.6%

Coach Doug Barfield ……….. 33.3%

Coach Pat Dye ……………… 34.6%

Coach Terry Bowden ………. 30.6%

Coach Tommy Tuberville ….. 33.3%

Despite having the highest percentage of conference opponents with a winning record, Tuberville is the only Auburn coach with a winning record against SEC opponents with a winning record. He is 22-21-0 against those opponents. Pat Dye was 23-26-2, Bowden was 11-16-1, Jordan was 44-55-5 and Barfield was 4-13-1.

Best Conference Victory

Based on the winning percentage of the opponent, Auburn's 27-17 victory over the 2006 Florida Gators (13-1) was the biggest conference victory from 1951-2006. Coach Jordan's Tigers defeated Tennessee (11-1), 36-23 in 1970, and the Georgia Bulldogs (11-1), 35-20 in 1971.

Dye's best victory over a SEC opponent came in 1983, when the Auburn Tigers defeated Georgia (10-1-1), 13-7 in Athens. Bowden's best victory came against the Florida Gators (11-2) in 1993, when Auburn defeated Florida, 38-35.

Record against SEC Opponents with a 9-3 record or better:

Coach Ralph Jordan ……….. 12-30-1

Coach Doug Barfield …….… 0-9-1

Coach Pat Dye ………….….. 9-16-2

Coach Terry Bowden ……… 4-11-0

Coach Tommy Tuberville … 11-11-0

Over the last six decades of Auburn football, Tuberville is the only Auburn coach without a losing record against SEC opponents with a win percentage of .750 or better. Auburn could easily have been 14-8, if not for the heart-breaking losses to Mississippi State (10-2) in 1999, Georgia (13-1) in 2002 and LSU (11-2) in 2005.

Of the 11 SEC opponents Tuberville's Tigers have faced, eight of them have compiled a winning record over the entire Tuberville Era at Auburn. Only Jordan's Tigers can say the same. Of the 11 SEC opponents Auburn has faced from 1999-2006, four of them have compiled a win percentage of over .700. The next highest was Dye's three out of ten.

Best Conference Victory II

From 1951-2006, Auburn has faced 13 different conference opponents. Here are the best victories against each SEC opponent based on the opponent's overall win percentage.

Alabama: In 1972, Auburn defeated 10-2 Alabama, 17-16. The 1989 Auburn Tigers defeated 10-2 Alabama, 30-20, and the 2005 Auburn Tigers defeated a 10-2 Alabama squad, 28-18.

Arkansas: In 2003, Auburn defeated No.7 Arkansas (9-4), 10-3.

Florida:

In 2006, Auburn defeated #2 Florida (13-1), 27-17. The Gators would go onto win the BCS National Championship.

Georgia Tech: In 1955, the Auburn Tigers defeated a 9-1-1 Georgia Tech squad, ranked No. 5 in the nation, 14-12.

Georgia: In 1971, Auburn defeated No. 7 Georgia (11-1-0), 35-20. The 2002 Auburn Tigers were one 4th down pass away from defeating a 13-1 Georgia Bulldog squad.

Kentucky: In 1965, Auburn defeated No. 6 Kentucky (6-4), 23-18.

LSU:

In 2006, the Tigers defeated No. 6 LSU (11-2), 7-3.

Mississippi State: In 1974, the Tigers defeated a 9-3 MSU squad, 24-20. The 1999 Tigers missed two field goals in a 16-18 loss against a 10-3 Bulldog team.

Ole Miss:

In 1990, Pat Dye's Auburn Tigers defeated a 9-3 Ole Miss Rebel team, 24-10. The 2003 Tigers were one dropped touchdown pass away from defeating a 10-3 Ole Miss team.

South Carolina: The 2006 Auburn Tigers defeated an 8-5 Gamecock team, 24-17.

Tennessee: The 1970 Tigers defeated an 11-1 Volunteers team, 36-23.

Tulane:

The 1951 Auburn Tigers defeated a 4-6-0 Tulane team, 21-0.

Vanderbilt:

The 1951 Auburn team defeated a 6-5 Vandy squad, 24-14.

Of the victories over Auburn's 13 conference opponents, Tuberville has won or shared five of the best 13. His teams were just a few plays away from winning three additional games. The Tigers under Tuberville have not gone without a few embarrassing moments, but they have never lost to a team with a non-winning record.

Record against SEC opponents with a non-winning record:

Coach ………………… Record … Avg Score

Coach Jordan ………… 54-10-0 … ( 22-10)

Coach Barfield ……….. 9-3-0 …… (22-17)

Coach Dye ……………. 25-1-1 …. (27-11)

Coach Bowden ……….. 19-2-0 …. (32-20)

Coach Tuberville …….. 23-0-0 ….. (32-12)


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