Matt Melton’s posted his SDPI analysis of the 2010 SEC season. It’s one of the few statistical looks at Georgia which doesn’t leave me scratching my head.
Yup, middle-of-the-pack offense plus middle-of-the-pack defense equals mediocrity.
Much of what’s there is more a confirmation of what we knew – the West was the better division, by far; Mississippi State was the conference overachiever; Vanderbilt’s season defined “epic suck” – but there’s one interesting thing I found that surprised me. Auburn won a national title without being dominant statistically in the conference. To get an idea of what I mean by that, check out Matt’s results from the prior season.
Auburn’s 2010 SDPI would have only been fourth-best in 2009, and it would have been considerably behind the top two teams.
Here’s the picture from 2008.
Again, there are two teams which put together far superior SDPI numbers to Auburn’s 2010 result.
The difference is with the defense. In the two seasons before 2010, the top teams (Florida and Alabama, in both cases) sported defensive rankings which were no lower than third in the conference. Auburn’s 2010 defensive SDPI ranked seventh in the SEC.
Don’t get me wrong, Auburn’s number is certainly above average. It’s not like the Tigers were awful, of course. But you’d expect a team that went undefeated through the nation’s toughest football conference regular season, won the SECCG and capped the season by winning the BCS title game to have stood out a little more strongly. As it turned out, Auburn didn’t even have the best SDPI in the conference.