sec football

Have you ever heard that old saying that “seeing is believing”? This a perfect phrase to describe SEC football. What many to believe to be the best college football conference in the nation, may not be as flawless as you think. When you have guys like Paul Finebaum aka “The mouth of the south”, jibber jabber all day long about how great the SEC is, unfortunately some people just believe whatever he has to say. When it really comes down to it, is the SEC actually the best conference in college football? While Finebaum and other media outlets will say yes, let’s see what the stats have to say about that. Like the rapper Yo Gotti once said, “women lie, men lie but numbers don’t lie”. So let’s take a look at the numbers and find out if Paul Finebaum has been blowing smoke.

SEC EAST

Missouri

  • Head Coach: Barry Odom (2016-Present)
  • 2016: 4-8 overall & 2-6 SEC record, 0-5 in road games
  • 2016: Offensive rankings: 32nd overall (pass: 31st & rush: 54th)
  • 2016: Defensive rankings: 116th overall (pass: 87th & rush: 112th)
  • 3-12 combined conference record for 2015 & 2016
  • Former Coach Gary Pinkel won 3 Big 12 north titles in 11 years and won 2 SEC east titles in his first two seasons in the SEC fresh out of the Big 12. Really “tough” huh?

Vanderbilt

  • Head Coach: Derek Mason (2014-Present)
  • Overall record: (13-24) SEC record: (5-19)
  • 2016: 6-7 overall & 3-5 SEC record
  • 2016: Lost to NC State 41-17 in Independence Bowl
  • 2016: Offensive rankings: 96th (pass: 96th & rush: 71st)
  • 2016: Defensive rankings: 65th overall (pass: 85th & rush: 58th)
  • Only 8 all-time bowl appearances in 62 years
  • ZERO conference titles since joining SEC in 1933
  • 3 different head coaches in 10 seasons (2007-Present)

South Carolina

  • Head Coach: Will Muschamp (2016-Present)
  • 2016: 6-7 overall & 3-5 SEC record, 1-5 in road games
  • 2016: Offensive rankings: 104th overall (pass: 76th & rush: 106th)
  • 2016: Defensive rankings: 62nd overall (pass: 30th & rush: 88th)
  • 7-17 in conference play over the past 3 seasons (2014-2016)
  • Steve Spurrier QUIT mid-season in 2015
  • 1 division championship since joining SEC in 1992

Kentucky

  • Head Coach: Mark Stoops (2013-Present)
  • Overall record: 19-30 SEC record: 8-24
  • 2016: 7-6 overall & 4-4 SEC record
  • 2016: Offensive rankings: 60th overall (pass: 99th & rush: 17th)
  • 2016: Defensive rankings: 86th overall (pass: 43rd & rush: 108th)
  • Last conference title: 1976
  • Won 4 SEC games for the first time in a decade
  • 32-54 overall & 12-44 conference record since 2010
  • Has not won a bowl game since 2008

Georgia

  • Head Coach: Kirby Smart (2016-Present)
  • 2016: 8-5 overall & 4-4 SEC record (Mark Richt had only two 4 conference win seasons in 15 years as a head coach at UGA)
  • 2016: Offensive rankings: 77th overall (pass: 93rd & rush: 52nd)
  • 2016: Defensive rankings: 12th overall (pass: 17th & rush: 33rd)
  • Last SEC championship: 2005
  • 2 division title in 11 years
  • Fired Mark Richt after 15 seasons (Had 2nd highest winning % in school history)

Tennessee

  • Head Coach: Butch Jones (2013-Present)
  • Overall record: 30-21 SEC record: 14-18
  • 2016: 9-4 & 4-4 SEC record
  • 2016: Offensive rankings: 41st overall (pass: 56th & rush: 38th
  • 2016: Defensive rankings: 107th overall (pass: 68th & rush: 111th)
  • Last division title: 2007
  • Last SEC championship: 1998
  • Has had 4 head coaches since 2008

Florida

  • Head Coach: Jim McElwain (2015-Present)
  • Overall record: 19-8 & 13-3 SEC record
  • 2016: 9-4 overall & 6-2 SEC record
  • 2016: Average margin of defeat: 21.75
  • 2016: Offensive rankings: 108th overall (pass: 73rd & rush: 110th)
  • 2016: Defensive rankings: 6th overall (pass: 2nd & rush: 35th)
  • Lost to FSU by 18 & Alabama by 38
  • Last SEC title: 2008
  • 3 head coaches since 2010

SEC EAST TAKEAWAYS

  • The last SEC east team to win a SEC championship was the 2008 Florida Gators
  • Only 1 offense cracked the top 55 in passing (Mizzou) (because most SEC offenses are stuck in the 1950s)
  • Only 1 offense cracked the top 50 in rushing (Tenn) (In a so called “Pound the rock league”)
  • Only 1 team had a top 40 overall offense (Mizzou)(Again, most offenses are stuck in 1950)
  • Only 2 teams (UF & UGA) had a top 60 overall defense (In a “defensive minded conference”)
  • Florida was the only team in the East to have a conference record above .500

There is no doubt that the SEC east is the little brother of the SEC west. Currently the SEC west has an 8 year win streak over the east and that doesn’t look like it will change anytime soon. Also don’t forget the fact that not only are the offenses horrific in this division, but that only 2 teams had a top 60 overall defense is pathetic. I find it strange that Mark Stoops and Butch Jones have the longest tenure at their schools and both have only been there since the 2013 season. Are the rest of the programs that bad or is the coaching just that pathetic where schools are changing coaches more than people change their own socks? Florida has one of the worst offenses in the entire country and yet they will enter the 2017 season as the back to back SEC east champions looking to make it three straight. This division is an absolute JOKE.

SEC WEST

Ole Miss

  • Head coach: Hugh Freeze (2012-present)
  • Overall record: 39-25 SEC record: 19-21
  • 2016: 5-7 overall & 2-6 SEC record
  • 2016: Offensive rankings: 52nd overall (pass: 19th & rush: 103th)
  • 2016: Defensive rankings: 108th overall (pass:45th & rush: 119th)
  • 2016 wins: Wofford, Memphis, Georgia Southern, Georgia and Texas A&M
  • Last SEC title: 1963
  • Under 1 year bowl ban due to recruiting violations

Mississippi State

  • Head coach: Dan Mullen (2009-present)
  • Overall record: 61-42 SEC record: 29-35
  • 2016: 6-7 overall & 3-5 SEC record
  • 2016: Offensive rankings: 44th overall (pass: 80th & rush: 19th)
  • 2016: Defensive rankings: 108th overall (pass: 118th & rush: 67th)
  • 2016: Lost to South Alabama at home
  • In 8 seasons as head coach, Dan Mullen has only finished higher than 4th place in the SEC west 1 time
  • Last division title: 1998
  • Last SEC title: 1941

Arkansas

  • Head coach: Bret Bielema (2013-present)
  • Overall record: 25-26 SEC record: 10-22
  • 2016: 7-6 overall & 3-5 SEC record
  • 2016: Offensive rankings: 53rd overall (pass: 36th & rush: 72nd)
  • 2016: Defensive rankings: 74th overall (pass: 51st & rush: 93rd)
  • Current 10 game losing streak vs Alabama
  • Current 5 game losing streak vs Texas A&M
  • ZERO SEC titles since joining SEC in 1992

Texas A&M

  • Threw in more stats for A&M since they left the Big 12 with their tails between their legs
  • Head coach: Kevin Sumlin (2012-present)
  • Overall record: 44-24 & 21-19 SEC record
  • 2016: 8-5 overall & 4-4 SEC record
  • 2016: Offensive rankings: 26th overall (pass: 42nd & rush: 33rd)
  • 2016: Defensive rankings: 89th overall (pass: 97th & rush: 74th)
  • In 5 years, Kevin Sumlin has only had 1 season where he finished above .500 in conference play
  • Never beaten LSU since joining the SEC in 2012
  • Sumlin only has 1 finish higher than 4th place in the SEC west in 5 years as head coach
  • Sumlin has an overall record of 4-9 in SEC November games since 2013

LSU

  • Head coach: Ed Orgeron (2016-present)
  • Overall record: 6-2 overall & 4-2 SEC record
  • 2016: Offensive rankings: 21st overall (pass: 106th & rush: 29th)
  • 2016: Defensive rankings: 16th overall (pass: 14th & rush: 10th)
  • LSU fired long time coach Les Miles after 2-2 start in 2016
  • 2017 will be the first year Ed Orgeron will start the year off as a head coach instead of filling in for the fired coach as he has done 3 times in 10 years

Auburn

  • Head coach: Gus Malzahn
  • Overall record: 35-18 SEC record: 18-14
  • 2016: 8-5 overall & 5-3 SEC record
  • 2016: Offensive rankings: 43rd overall (pass: 109th & rush: 8th)
  • 2016: Defensive rankings: 18th overall (pass: 59th & rush: 20th)
  • Malzahn is 11-13 in SEC play since the 2014 season
  • Malzahn is 23-16 overall since the 2014 season

Alabama

Do I really need to say anything about Alabama? They have been carrying the SEC on its back for the past 3 seasons. Since 2011 they are the only SEC school to win a title (3 of them in fact). They have won 4 out of the last 5 SEC championships and have been the only SEC school represented in the college football playoffs (2014-present).

SEC West Takeaways

  • Only 3 Schools cracked the top 40 in offense (A&M, LSU and Bama)
  • Only 3 Schools cracked the top 50 in defense (Auburn, LSU and Bama)
  • Alabama has won the SEC west 4 out of the last 5 seasons
  • Alabama is the ONLY SEC school that has been represented in the College Football Playoff

Final Thoughts

There was really no need for me to summarize the SEC West in words because Alabama has been dominating that division so badly. If you think about it, just about every coach in the SEC West is on the hot seat right now besides Nick Saban. You want to brag about how good the SEC is when half of the coaches are on the hot seat? Give me a break people, seriously. Please tell me again how good the SEC is because they had 53 players drafted in the 2017 NFL draft, yet the SEC went a combined 6-6 during bowl season (3rd out of the power 5).  Those stats tell me that while the SEC has extremely talented players, they underachieve as a group. Just because you have the most talented players, that does not necessarily make you the best team or conference, etc. If that was the case then we would just hand the trophy to Alabama at the beginning of the year and call it a season.

CBS Sports recently released a poll of the top head coaches in college football. Only 2 SEC coaches cracked the top 20 (Saban #1 and Malzahn #19). You can say all you want that you have the best players, but you also have some of the worst head coaches in the power 5 schools. If you need any more proof that the SEC isn’t the best conference in college football, just take a look at the final rankings (AP poll). Only ONE SEC School was able to make it into the top 12 teams (Alabama at #2). In that same frame, the Big 10 had 4, the Big 12 had 2, the Pac-12 had 3 and the ACC had 2. Alabama is like the Golden State Warriors and the Cleveland Cavilers when it comes to their respective NBA conferences. There is an enormous gap between them and the next best team in their conference. Just because the SEC has been dominating the NFL draft the past few years, the production on the field has been sub-par if you aren’t named Alabama.

Those are the facts, Mr. Finebaum.

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