One of the preseason mags I got this summer, Lindy’s, had a special section on the SEC with a half-page review of the four year standings of the conference. Prior to the just completed season it looked exactly like this:
|Four Year Period Ending in 07-08|
|Note: M=Major Bowl (BCS); B=Bowls|
Auburn was still riding high from the success of their spectacular run in ’04 and LSU helped them to hold down the top two spots (in terms of conference winning percentage at least).
Instead of waiting until late June, I went ahead and crunched some numbers. All information came from the official athletic websites of the conference members. The bowl record and change from last years results are columns that I added.
|Four Year Period Ending in 08-09|
|South Carolina||15-17||.469||28-22||.560||0/0||0||3||2-1||up 1|
|Ole Miss||9-24||.273||19-29||.396||0/0||0||1||1-0||up 1|
|Mississippi State||8-24||.250||18-30||.375||0/0||0||1||1-0||down 2|
Well as you can imagine, things changed up quite a bit this year. Gone is the statistical magic of an unblemished season and Florida, along with their Eastern Division brethren Bulldogs have combined to take over the top two places.
I’m happy to announce that Alabama jumped two spots and is now just behind Little Brother, who leads by the slimmest of margins.
Another thing to note is that with the holiday trips of Ole Miss and Vanderbilt, all twelve teams in the conference have now been to a bowl game within the last four seasons- actually all have been within the last two seasons. I’m not sure, nor am I going to take the time to verify that right now, but I doubt that any other conference can say that. Combine that with three of the last four national championships, and it presents a very strong case for the overall strength of the conference.
I’m certainly interested to see how the balance of power continues to shift.
A few other things I noted:
- Alabama won their division with a better record than LSU did the previous year and finished the season with the same record that was good enough to garner LSU a national championship. Don’t tell me that record alone is a good enough of an indicator to determine the best of the best.
- Alabama is also the only team to finish the regular season unblemished in the four year period. Subsequently they are the first to do it since Auburn in 2004.
- In the study period, there were only three squads that won eight conference games in a season. Alabama was the only one that did and did not win a national championship the same year. (Florida ’06 and Florida ’08 are the other two)
- Ole Miss is the only team to fail to win a conference game in a single season over the four year period (’07).
- In spite of Florida’s dominance during this period (two conference championships and the best league record) they have won only one game over 75%. Despite three great years followed by one substandard year means that LSU has won exactly two-thirds of their conference games.
Take a look and let me know what else you can gleam from this.