Matt Melton’s got his SDPI numbers up for last year’s SEC season. [To refresh your memory, here's a brief explanation behind the math: "In the 2011 SEC regular season, conference play only, championship game excluded, the average SEC team gained and allowed 2612.33 yards. The standard deviation for yards gained (offense) was 511.33 yards. The standard deviation for yards allowed (defense) was 633.43 yards. Arkansas gained 3217 yards and allowed 2912 yards. Their offensive SDPI was 1.18 = [(3217-2612.33)/511.33]. Their defensive SDPI was -0.47 = [(2612.33-2912)/633.43]. Their total SDPI was 0.71. This number ranked 5th in the SEC.”]
Let’s cut to the chase and see his results.
Boy, there are a few things that jump out there.
- Not having to play Alabama and LSU was good for your offensive health. How else do you explain Georgia finishing ahead of Arkansas in offense?
- That being said, the Hog defense wasn’t exactly championship caliber.
- That being said, South Carolina didn’t play ‘Bama or LSU either and finished behind Georgia in offense, too.
- That it was LSU in the SECCG instead of Alabama suggests how much special teams play mattered.
- But in fairness, perhaps LSU was better on offense than we gave the Tigers credit for.
- That Georgia’s season wasn’t more dominant than the SDPI numbers indicate suggests how much special teams play and turnover margin mattered.
There’s one thing that doesn’t jump out until you look at last year’s SDPI results.
I referred to Vanderbilt’s 2010 numbers as “epic suck”. What Franklin did in one season in the toughest football conference in America is remarkable. Especially when you consider that 2010 wasn’t a momentary aberration. Here’s the SEC from 2009:
That’s an amazing reversal of fortunes. If the guy can ever get past the point of his on-field demeanor being a distraction, he’s going to be recognized as one of the best coaches in the country. Which begs the question of how long Vandy can hold on to him.
One other thing those seasonal numbers show is that Georgia’s been on a steady progression over that time period. The defense took a significant jump from Martinez’ last year to Grantham’s first, but it’s the offense which took off last season. The trend makes you wonder what might be in store if the Dawgs are able to get their act together with special teams play and offensive turnovers, like the elite teams in the West did.