SEC Dominates National Polls

Southeastern Conference dominance in recent Bowl Championship Series National Championship games – six consecutive wins – has translated into a perception that SEC football is far above that in the rest of the nation. It could be more than perception, of course.



In any event, when the two primary national polls were released Sunday, Alabama was number one in both – unanimously, all 60 votes in the Associated Press poll, all 59 in the Coaches Poll – and seven SEC teams were ranked in the top 25.

In addition to Alabama, in the Coaches Poll Florida was fourth, LSU sixth, South Carolina eighth, Georgia 12th, Mississippi State 16th, and Texas A&M 19th. In the AP poll, Florida was third, LSU sixth, South Carolina ninth, Georgia 13th, Mississippi State 15th, and Texas A&M 20th.

The Crimson Tide is 6-0, including a 3-0 record in SEC games. This week Bama goes to Knoxville to take on Tennessee. Kickoff Saturday will be at 6 p.m. CDT (7 p.m. Eastern time) with television coverage by ESPN.

Here are some notes on SEC football:

Alabama has scored 98 points when starting drives off of opponents turnovers and have not allowed a single point when opponents start drives on Tide turnovers. Mississippi State has allowed just three points off of drives started by its turnovers and South Carolina yielded its first points of the season (7) against LSU last night when opponents start drives off of its turnovers.

LSU leads the SEC in percentage of defensive 3-downs-and-out, holding opponents to less than 3 plays without a first down on 45.2 per cent of its defensive drives (42 of 93). Alabama is second at 43.1 per cent (31 of 72) and Florida third at 38.9 per cent (28 of 72).

Alabama QB A.J McCarron is 18-1 as the Tide's starting signal-caller in his career. For QBs with a minimum of 23 career starts, Alabama's Jay Barker has the SEC's best winning percentage at 93.4 per cent (35-2-1 from 1991-94). Only Barker and Georgia's John Lastinger (20-2-1 from 1981-83) have more than 25 career starts with just two losses.

With Texas A&M's 59-57 win against Louisiana Tech, the SEC is now 31-7 (.816) against non-conference foes. Since 2006, the SEC has fared less than 80 per cent against non-conference teams in just one season (2008, 37-11, 77.1 per cent). Since 1992, SEC teams are 76.6 per cent against non-conference teams (including bowls) – 763-232-2.

Florida has the nation's second-longest active scoring streak at 302 games, only behind Michigan's 344 games.

Ole Miss has scored touchdowns on its first possession in five of its seven games. Georgia is the next closest with four TDs on its opening drives.

Arkansas, Missouri and Vanderbilt have not had a scoring drive of more than five minutes long this season. Georgia and Kentucky have had one each.

Half of the SEC's 54 home games this year have been sold out (27). Attendance at SEC games this year has reached more than 4 million (4,012,635), for an average of 74,308 fans per game. The average capacity at SEC home games this season is 96.53 per cent. Last year, SEC games were filled to an average of 95.75 per cent with total attendance reaching 6.3 million.

Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel is rewriting the SEC record book as a freshman. Against Louisiana Tech last night, Manziel accounted for 576 total offensive yards in the Aggies' 59-57 win against the Bulldogs in Shreveport. Manziel rushed for 181 yards on 19 carries and three TDs and threw for 395 yards and three more TDs. His total offensive yardage was:

- third highest ever among NCAA FBS Freshmen (582 David Neill, Nevada, & 578 Kevin Kolb, Houston).

- SEC record for most total offensive yards in a single game (broke his record of 557 set earlier this season against Arkansas)

- Became first player in SEC history to record two 500+ total offensive yardage games in a single season

- Accounted for fifth highest rushing yardage total for a quarterback this season in NCAA FBS

- Named Walter Camp Foundation Offensive Player of the Week for efforts against Louisiana Tech

Florida sophomore quarterback Jeff Driskel was not that far away from Manziel in the rushing column. Driskel ran for 177 yards and 3 touchdowns on 11 carries against Vanderbilt. The rushing yardage total is sixth highest among NCAA FBS quarterbacks this season. Driskel ran for more yards against Vanderbilt than he has the previous 10 games of his Gator career.