SECond HELPING OF SEC FOOTBALL (Nov. 23, 2012)
* - The SEC has a nation-best six teams (tied with Pac-12) teams ranked in the BCS Standings this week, including three of the top four and six of the top 12. Alabama is second, Georgia is third and Florida is fourth while LSU is seventh, Texas A&M ninth and South Carolina 12th.
* - The SEC has a nation-best seven teams ranked in the AP, USA Today and Harris Interactive Polls this week. Alabama and Georgia are 2-3 in all three while Florida is 6th in AP and USA Today and 5th in Harris. LSU is 7th in USA Today and 8th in AP and Harris and Texas A&M is 9th in AP and 10th in Harris and USA Today. South Carolina is 12th in Harris and USA Today and 13th in AP and Mississippi State is 23rd in Harris, 24th in USA Today and 25th in AP.
* - The Southeastern Conference has had at least five teams ranked in at least one AP Top 25 poll every year since expansion (1992). This season, as in last season, the SEC had at least five teams ranked in every AP poll. Since 1992, the SEC has had at least 5 teams ranked in the AP Top 25 a total of 252 times, an aveage of 11.95 times per year. Since 1992 (counting 2012), the SEC has had at least 5 teams ranked for at least 10 weeks in 17 of the last 21 years. The most SEC teams to be ranked in a poll in a given week was the pre-season poll of 2011, when eight SEC teams were ranked.
* - Current Associated Press Top 25 teams have 40 losses combined. SEC teams have beaten current AP Top 25 nation-best 14 times. Pac-12 teams have registered eight wins against current Top 25, Big 12 with six, Big Ten and Independents with four, ACC with two and the Big East and MAC with one each. AP Top 10 teams have lost 11 times total, with SEC teams registering seven of those wins.
* - Nine of SEC’s 14 teams have played back-to-back games this season against AP Top 25. LSU played 5 straight against AP Top 25 (No. 10 Florida, No. 3 South Carolina, No. 20 Texas A&M, No. 1 Alabama, No. 22 Mississippi State) while Tennessee played four straight (No. 5 Georgia, No. 19 Mississippi State, No. 1 Alabama, No. 17 South Carolina). Alabama, Mississippi State and South Carolina each had three straight games against AP Top 25 and Florida, Kentucky, Ole Miss and Texas A&M had two games consecutively against AP Top 25 teams. A&M has played back-to-back Top 25 games twice this season.
* - 15 FBS teams have played three straight games this season against Top 25 competition, including five from the SEC. LSU and Texas Tech are the only teams to have played five straight games against Top teams while Tennessee and Kansas State played four straight against Top 25 teams. Below is a chart of the teams that have played three-or-more teams against Top 25 teams consecutively.
5 – LSU (#10 Florida / #3 South Carolina / #20 Texas A&M / #1 Alabama / #22 Mississippi State)
5 – Texas Tech (#14 Oklahoma / #4 West Virginia / #21 TCU / #4 Kansas State / #22 Texas)
4 – Tennessee (#5 Georgia / #19 Mississippi State / #1 Alabama / # 17 South Carolina)
4 – Kansas State (#25 Iowa State / #15 West Virginia / #17 Texas Tech / #24 Oklahoma State)
3 – Alabama (#13 Mississippi State / #5 LSU / #15 Texas A&M)
3 – Mississippi State (#1 Alabama / #16 Texas A&M / #9 LSU)
3 – South Carolina (#5 Georgia / #9 LSU / #3 Florida)
3 – Arizona (#3 Oregon / #18 Oregon State / #18 Stanford)
3 – Colorado (#10 Southern Cal / #2 Oregon / #15 Stanford)
3 – Stanford (#12 Oregon State / #1 Oregon / #16 UCLA)
3 – Washington (#8 Stanford / #2 Oregon / #9 Southern Cal)
3 – TCU (#19 West Virginia / #3 Kansas State / #15 Texas)
3 – Texas (#22 Oklahoma State / #7 West Virginia / #10 Oklahoma)
3 – Michigan State (#23 Michigan / #25 Wisconsin / #21 Nebraska)
3 – Baylor (#9 West Virginia / #21 TCU / #25 Texas)
* - After this weekend, seven SEC teams will have played 5 games against Top 25 teams at time game was played – Florida, Missouri, Alabama, LSU, Texas A&M, Ole Miss and Auburn.
* - According to the NCAA Toughest Schedule Chart (cumulative win-loss record), the SEC teams have played nine of the top 25 schedules in the nation thus far:
2) Kentucky 59-30 (.663)
4) Texas A&M 53-29 (.646)
6) Florida 56-32 (.636)
8) Missouri 57-34 (.626)
13) LSU 54-35 (.607)
13) Arkansas 54-35 (.607)
15) Tennessee 55-36 (.604)
19) Auburn 52-37 (.584)
25) Ole Miss 51-40 (.560)
Using cumulative schedules based on past and future opponents (Week 13), the SEC has nine of the top 21 toughest schedules;
1) Florida 64-33 (.660)
3) Missouri 64-36 (.640)
7) Kentucky 62-37 (.626)
7) Arkansas 62-37 (.626)
10) Texas A&M 57-35 (.620)
11) Auburn 61-38 (.616)
18) S. Carolina 58-42 (.580)
20) LSU 57-42 (.576)
21) Ole Miss 58-43 (.574)
* - Using Jeff Sagarin’s USA Today computer rankings, 10 SEC teams are among the toughest 30 schedules in the nation. These include: Missouri (9), Kentucky (16), Tennessee (17), Ole Miss (18), Florida (19), Auburn (20), LSU (22), Arkansas (23), Texas A&M (25) and Alabama (30). Only four conferences have teams ranked among the top 30 toughest schedules according to Sagarin – SEC & Big 12 (10 teams each), Pac-12 (9 teams) and Big Ten (1 team).
* - Ole Miss’ Hugh Freeze and Texas A&M’s Kevin Sumlin are in their first seasons as head coach at their schools. Freeze is 5-6 in his first season at the helm of the Rebels while Sumlin is 9-2 in his first season with the Aggies. Since 1977, there have been 62 first-year coaches in the SEC. Of those, 31 of those have finished their inaugural season with a sub-.500 mark. The cumulative record for the 62 coaches is 363-377-7 (.491). There have been some exceptions to the rule since 1997. Auburn’s Terry Bowden was 11-0 in 1993, LSU’s Mike Archer was 10-1-1 in 1987, Tennessee’s Phillip Fulmer was 10-2 in 1993 and LSU’s Les Miles was 11-2 in 2005. The average record of the 62 coaches in their inaugural seasons - 5.85 wins against 6.08 losses.
LSU at Arkansas (Friday, 1:30 p.m. CT / CBS Sports / Sirius 86 / XM 86)
The Battle for the Golden Boot will be played for the 58th time with LSU holding a 35-20-2 series lead … The teams have played every year since 1992 when Arkansas entered the SEC … Since that time, LSU holds a 12-8 series advantage … The home team has held court for the last four meetings with Arkansas’ 50-48 3-overtime win in Baton Rouge in 2007 the last time the visiting team won … This series is the sixth most competitive in the SEC (min. 10 games played) since 1992, averaging 11.33 points per game … Eight of the last 12 meetings have been decided by single digits … The “Golden Boot” is a trophy shaped like the two states combined and was introduced prior to the 1996 game … At approximately 175 pounds, it is believed to be among the heaviest trophies awarded in a college football rivalry … Arkansas is hosting LSU in Fayetteville for the first time since 1992 in a game that has wrapped up the regular season for each team every year since the Razorbacks joined the SEC.
Georgia Tech at Georgia (Saturday, 12 p.m. ET / ESPN / Sirius 92 / XM 200)
Georgia leads the series 62-37-5 and doesn’t count two Georgia Tech wins during World War II (1943-44) when the Yellow Jackets utilized players from a naval officer’s training program hosted on campus … From 1917-24, the two teams did not play each other because of a dispute caused by a Georgia parade float that ridiculed the Yellow Jackets for playing football during World War I … With this being the 105th meeting in the series, it is the sixth longest involving an SEC team … The first meeting in the series was 1893 … Georgia Tech was a charter member of the SEC and withdrew from the league following the 1963 season … Under head coach Mark Richt, Georgia owns a 47-8 record against non-SEC teams … Richt is 10-1 against Georgia Tech since becoming head coach in 2001.
Kentucky at Tennessee (Saturday, 12:21 p.m. ET / SEC Network / Sirius 132 / XM 199)
At 107 meetings, this rivalry is the third most-played in the SEC … The Vols hold a 74-24-9 series record and lead the series, 39-10-6 in games played in Knoxville … Kentucky snapped Tennessee’s 26-game win streak over the Wildcats last year, defeating the Vols, 10-7, in Lexington … Tennessee has won the last 13 meetings in the series at Neyland Stadium … Five of the last eight games in the series have been decided by six-points-or-less and six of the last eight were decided by 10-or-fewer points … Both teams will have new head coaches next year … The Vols are 40-13 (.755) during November since 2000 … UK is fourth in the nation for most true freshmen played with 14, only two behind the national leader.
Auburn at Alabama [Saturday, 2:30 p.m. CT / CBS Sports / Sirius 135 (AU) 86 (UA) / XM 204 (AU) 86 (UA)]
This is the 77th game of the “Iron Bowl” with Alabama holding a 41-34-1 series lead … The Tide have won three of the last four meetings but Auburn is 7-1 in games played in Tuscaloosa … The teams have played every year since 1948 … From 1948-88, the teams played every year in Birmingham’s Legion Field … Auburn hosted its first game in the series in 1989 and Tuscaloosa played host to the game in 2000 (1st time since 1901) … Nick Saban is 5-5 against Auburn, including a 3-2 mark at Alabama (2-3 while at LSU) … Gene Chizik is 1-2 against Alabama … Seven of the last 12 meetings in the series have been decided by single digits … An Alabama win would clinch the Western Division title and a berth in the SEC Championship Game for the Tide … 16 players have made their first career start for Auburn this season … Alabama has reached the 10-win mark for the 32nd time in school history, including 7 of the last 11 seasons.
Vanderbilt at Wake Forest (Saturday, 2:30 p.m. CT / ESPNU / Sirius 112 / XM 197)
Vanderbilt leads the series with Wake Forest, 8-6, and lead the series in games played in Winston-Salem, 5-3 … The Commodores broke a three-game losing streak in the series last season with a 41-7 win at Wake … The teams have been playing annually in the season finale since 2007 … The season-ending series will continue through 2014 … Vandy is seeking its 6th straight win of the season, which would be the longest for the program since 1955 … Under James Franklin, the Commodores are 5-2 in the month of November … In the decade before Franklin arrived on campus, Vandy was 3-32 in November games … Vandy WR Jordan Matthews is 7th in school history with 133 career receptions and sixth in career receiving yards with 2,082.
Florida at Florida State (3:30 p.m. ET / ABC Sports / Sirius 85 / XM 85)
Florida leads the series with a 33-21-2 mark … The teams have played every year since 1958 and has been season finale since 1980 (In 2001, games of Sept. 11 were postponed until the week following the end of the scheduled regular season) … In games played in Tallahassee, the Gators hold a 12-11-1 advantage … The Seminoles have won the last two meetings in the series … Last season’s game was the first time neither team was ranked in the Top 25 since 1986 … This year’s meeting will be the first time both teams have been in the Top 10 since 2000 … Florida will be facing its third Top 10 opponent this season (No. 4 LSU, No. 9 South Carolina, No. 10 Florida State) … With last week’s win vs. Jacksonville State, Gator coach Will Muschamp became the third Florida head coach to record 10 wins in his second season as head coach (Steve Spurrier, 1991; Urban Meyer, 2006).
Mississippi State at Ole Miss [6 p.m. CT / ESPNU / Sirius 149 (MSU) 94 (UM) / XM 193 (MSU) 198 (UM)]
The Battle for the Golden Egg is the second most-played rivalry in the SEC … This will be the 109th meeting between the intra-state rivals with Ole Miss holding a 60-42-6 series lead … In games played in Oxford, the Rebels lead, 21-11-3 … Mississippi State has won the last three meetings in the series and the teams have split the last 10 games in the series … The teams have rotated host sites sine 1991 … From 1973-90, the teams played in Jackson, Miss. and prior to that, the teams rotated host sites (1926-72) … This is the 98th consecutive year that the two teams have played, thus the eighth-longest uninterrupted rivalry in the nation … This will be Ole Miss’ fifth game this season against a Top 25 team … State’s offense has set school record this season for passing yards (2,682), touchdown passes (24) and ahead of pace in passing yards per game (243.8) and completion percentage (60.0%) … The Rebels have lost three of its six games by a total of 10 points (3 vs. Texas A&M, 1 vs. Vanderbilt, 6 vs. LSU).
Missouri at Texas A&M (6 p.m. CT / ESPN2 / Sirius 93 / XM 191)
Texas A&M leads the series, 7-5 … As members of the Big 12, Missouri was 5-3 against the Aggies … Missouri has won three straight in the series and 5 of the last 6 meetings … Texas A&M will be seeking its first 10-win season since 1998 and 12th in program history … Due to a scheduling quirk, the Tigers will be playing at Kyle Field for the third straight year in 2012 … Missouri is looking to become the first team to ever win three straight years in College Station … The only other instance of a school playing three straight years in the modern era (since 1936) was when Arkansas went 2-1 in 1966-67-68 at Kyle Field … Missouri needs a win to become bowl eligible for the eighth straight season … The Aggies’ position in the BCS standings the past two weeks (9th – Nov. 18; 8th – Nov. 11) is their highest since being ranked No. 6 in the final standings of 1998 after beating Kansas State in the Big 12 Championship game.
South Carolina at Clemson (7 p.m. ET / ESPN / Sirius 112 / XM 197)
Clemson leads the series against South Carolina, 65-40-4 … In games played at Clemson, the Tigers lead, 16-9-1 … Carolina has won the last three meetings in the series … It is the Gamecocks’ first three-game win streak in the series since 1968-70 … The only time Carolina has won four straight in the series with Clemson was from 1951-54, all in Columbia … With a win over Clemson, Gamecock head coach Steve Spurrier would become the winningest coach in South Carolina football history (currently tied with Rex Enright with 64 wins) … Spurrier is 4-3 lifetime against Clemson while Clemson coach Dabo Swinney (a 1993 Alabama graduate and former Tide player) is 1-3 against Carolina … Carolina has won 20 of its last 24 games and this year’s senior class has a school-record 36 wins over the last four seasons.