Come for Matt Mellon’s APR review of the 2007 SEC season…
And here are the APR standings with conference rank in offensive touchdowns, touchdowns allowed, and APR in parentheses. This includes conference games only with the championship game excluded.
Finally, SEC teams are sorted by the difference between their actual number of wins and their expected number of wins according to APR.
I use a game and a half as the standard of determining which teams significantly over or under-performed relative to their APR. By that standard Mississippi State and Tennessee significantly exceeded their APR.
… and stay for his trashing of Tennessee.
Since LSU’s fourth quarter comeback, its been all downhill for the Vols, at least in SEC play. In the twelve seasons since that championship game appearance, Tennessee has posted the fourth worst conference winning percentage among SEC teams. In those twelve seasons, Tennessee has a better record than perennial punching bag Vanderbilt, a basketball school, and a team currently riding a nineteen game conference losing streak.
Alabama has pretty much lapped the SEC field, finishing seventeen games better than second place Georgia over the past twelve seasons. But to paraphrase Marc Anthony, I come to bury Tennessee, not praise Alabama. So, for the rest of this post, I’ll try to put in perspective how bad Tennessee has been.
Alabama has twice as many undefeated conference seasons (4) as Tennessee has winning conference seasons (2). In fact, the Vols have more seasons of one or fewer conference victories (3) than they have of winning conference seasons. Texas A&M, a team that has played 32 fewer conference games than the Vols have over the past twelve seasons, has more league victories. Missouri, another SEC newcomer that has also played 32 fewer games is just three victories behind them. Tennessee has losing records against ten of the other thirteen teams in the conference.
Nearly one third of their conference victories since 2007 have come against Kentucky and over half have come against Kentucky and Vanderbilt. There have been fleeting moments of competency with the Vols blowing out Big 10 teams in Florida bowl games three consecutive seasons (2014-2016), but their conference record in that span was just 12-12. The 2014 team raised expectations, but the Vols were not able to win divisions in flux in either 2015 or 2016 and once the other two traditional powers in the division got their collective acts together, the Vols were not in position to contend. It’s been a rough twelve years, but lets be optimistic. Say Jeremy Pruitt has a successful run in Knoxville and his replacement is, I don’t know, Jon Gruden, or Bill Cowher, or Lane Kiffin, or Amos Alonzo Stagg. Imagine over the next twelve years the Vols post a 63-33 conference record (Florida’s SEC record since 2008). Then they would have played .500 ball in the SEC over nearly a quarter century!
As much as I cherish the 2007 season as a football fan — it’s still my favorite year — I have to admit it was disappointing from a Georgia perspective, to say the least. Two inexplicable losses, one to a subpar South Carolina team, killed the Dawgs. But I also have to recognize that it was sort of Tennessee’s year.
Tennessee also finished 3-0 in one-score conference games, beating Kentucky, South Carolina, and Vanderbilt by a combined six points.
And the way those Kentucky and South Carolina games ended! Basically, it was the football gods’ way of telling Georgia fans we can’t have nice things.