They say it’s a defensive conference.

But maybe it’s just that most SEC offenses blew chunks this season.

Only one SEC school – Missouri, which finished rock bottom in the SEC East standings – ranked among the top 20 in the FBS in total offense. The Tigers placed 13th overall with 500.5 yards per game.

Conversely, three teams, including SEC East champion Florida, ranked outside the nation’s top 100 – among the 20 least productive units in the country.

It’s the first time since 2011 that no SEC school has made the top 10 nationally in total offense, and the first time since 2005 that no team currently in the conference has earned a top-10 offensive ranking…

… The Crimson Tide placed a fully-respectable 31st in total offense at 460.9 yards per game…

The rest of the bunch: Texas A&M (24th), Ole Miss (26th), Tennessee (40th), Auburn (43rd), Mississippi State (44th), Arkansas (54th), LSU (59th), Kentucky (61st), Georgia (87th), Vanderbilt (110th), South Carolina (115th) and – bringing up the rear – Florida (116th).

Jeez.

A couple of things there — one, Florida winning nine games with one of the worst offenses in the country seems nearly miraculous, and while Jim McElwain deserves kudos for pulling that off, you have to wonder how long he can manage to keep that kind of balancing act in the air.

Two, as I said in the comments, maybe we should be keeping a quiet eye on Missouri’s chances in 2017.  The Tigers certainly weren’t without their flaws…

The key to Missouri’s statistical success was its passing attack with quarterback Drew Lock, which averaged more than 295 yards per game. But the reasons for Missouri’s lack of real-life success included shaky ball control (28 fumbles in 12 games), special teams miscues (only six made field goals, as well as poor kick coverage) and a woeful defense that gave up points faster than the Tigers could score them. The result: a 4-8 season.

… but there’s something to be said about being one of only two SEC East offenses that finished 2016 in the upper half of the conference standings in total offense, especially when the other, Tennessee, has lost its offensive coordinator and most of its skill position talent.  (Also, notice that the East makes up the entirety of the bottom five in total offense.)

If you want to be cynical, it’s another reason to think Georgia’s chances to win the East next season aren’t awful.  After all, if you can’t make headway against this…

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6 Comments

Filed under SEC Football, Stats Geek!

6 responses to “They say it’s a defensive conference.

  1. 69Dawg

    There is no question that the SEC is not as strong as it has been. Colin Cowherd makes the case that it is down because it has the worst coaches in the Power 5. With the exception of Nick Saban the SEC has no big name coaches. With the firing of Mark Richt and Les Miles, the SEC has gutted the last two name coaches they had. The coaches as they stand now are either untried assistants at UGA and Missouri or tried and failed HC’s at SC and LSU. He was of course comparing the SEC coaches to Urban, Harbaugh and Franklin. It makes sense in that all the new or barely adequate coaches are bound to screw up even the overwhelming talent found in the SEC foot print. Of course the bowl results had to be ignored due to the fact that the B1G did a face plant like every other year. He actually thought the ACC was the best now.

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    • Dylan Dreyer's Booty

      Well, we will get a chance to test that theory Monday night. I personally believe that the SEC Ds make their Os look like they blow chunks when in fact they don’t but I am willing to admit I may be wrong. And by the way, how can James Franklin be considered a “name” coach? Good coach, for sure, but more of a name than Bielma, Freeze, McElwain, even Booch. Franklin had the sense to move on from Vandy when he could and get to a less brutal conference. Good for him.

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    • Biggus Rickus

      Cowherd is an idiot. That said, it may or may not be a valid point. 2012/13 was the apex of SEC power. How much the decline since has to do with coaches is questionable. Clearly, Vandy having back-to-back 9-4 seasons bolstered the conference’s strength, and there’s no way someone is going to replicate that. So, that’s one for the “coaching changes” argument.

      Among the rest, Florida contributed to the strength of the conference one of those two seasons, and that coach is still in the league. He replaced one of the coaches who left, and the end of Spurrier’s career directly contributed to the decline of the conference, as he oversaw the bottoming out of the South Carolina roster. Muschamp is trying to dig out from that, and I doubt he can do it. But it’s not as if Spurrier would have either.

      Muschamp also left behind a mess on the offensive side at Florida, and McElwain is still trying to dig out from that. I think he ultimately will, and he managed to ride the excellent leftover talent on defense to back-to-back East titles. Even compared to the heady days of Meyer, I think it’s up in the air whether or not McElwain is a downgrade.

      LSU under Miles had already been in decline since the 2011 season, going 10-3 and 10-3 in 2012/13 before falling to 8-5 and then sort of bouncing back at 9-3. Maybe they should have given him time or maybe not. Maybe Orgeron is a worse hire, but he didn’t do any worse in his stint as the interim coach.

      Georgia peaked in 2012 and had been good but not great at the end with Richt. It’s too soon to tell whether or not they upgraded with Smart, though the first season certainly could have been better.

      Other coaches who contributed to the strength of the league – Sumlin, Malzahn, Mullen and Freeze – are still active, and their success has fallen off, precipitously in the case of Mullen and Freeze this year..

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    • So. IL Dawg

      yeah, all 3 of those so-called great coaches lost their respective bowl games. I usually enjoy listening to Colin; but I had to turn that segment off. He said, OSU is awesome and just played a bad game; however Auburn isn’t very good and got crushed by Oklahoma who OSU creamed. Nice try CC. I guess Oklahoma couldn’t improve during the year like you said USC has. Oklahoma would crush OSU if they played now. The SEC is down; but it’s still better than the B1G Slow! Stop trying to build them up and knock the SEC.

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  2. RugbyDawg79

    I find it amazing that someone on this Blog would even admit they listen to colin cowherd .

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  3. W Cobb Dawg

    Mizzou’s OC, Huepel, did a pretty good job with a young cast of players. I believe Lock was a soph and their top 2 backs were freshmen. His O actually might be too fast at scoring for us, but Heupel is head and shoulders better than Chaney as both an OC and QB coach.

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