A few things you might not know about SEC football this week
A (Rare) Rematch?
With Florida and Alabama meeting in Tuscaloosa this weekend, and each being the favorite to represent their respective divisions in the SEC Championship Game in Atlanta in December, expect to hear a lot about how this could just be Round 1 in their battle for the conference title. If so, it would be an oddity in the history of the event.
In the 18-year history of the SEC Championship Game, there have been only five rematches, all of them occurring from 1999-2004. This really isn't that hard to understand if you think about it. The losing team in the first match loses a game in the standings in their respective division.
And regardless of what you hear about it being harder to defeat the same team a second time, the winner of the regular-season game is 4-1 in the rematch. Only once has an SEC Championship Game encore featured an eventual national champion -- in 2003, when LSU defeated Georgia a second time before claiming the crystal football amid some degree of controversy.
And despite facing each other in Atlanta more than any other pair of teams, Alabama and Florida have only had a title-game rematch once: In 1999. This despite the fact that Alabama has never played any team other than Florida in the SEC Championship Game -- and Florida has only played another team in the title bout three times.
A list of the SEC championship rematches:
Alabama vs. Florida
First Game: Alabama 40, Florida 39 (OT)
SEC Championship Game: Alabama 34, Florida 7
Florida vs. Auburn
First Game: Florida 38, Auburn 7
SEC Championship Game: Florida 28, Auburn 6
LSU vs. Tennessee
First Game: Tennessee 26, LSU 18
SEC Championship Game: LSU 31, Tennessee 20
LSU vs. Georgia
First Game: LSU 17, Georgia 10
SEC Championship Game: LSU 34, Georgia 13
Auburn vs. Tennessee
First Game: Auburn 34, Tennessee 10
SEC Championship Game: Auburn 38, Tennessee 28
Ryan Mallett Watch
We can argue about the relative merits of his late-game decision-making Saturday, but one thing about Ryan Mallett remains a statistical fact: He remains on pace to set a new SEC record for passing yards in a single season.
After facing one of the toughest defenses he's likely to play against all year, Mallett has 1,438 yards in his first four games. That would put Mallett on course for 4,314 yards at the end of the season. As we noted last week, Tim Couch holds the current conference record for passing yards in a season with the 4,275 yards he rang up in 1998.
Mallett also remains the No. 1 quarterback in terms of passing yardage in the country, 101 yards ahead of Hawaii's Bryant Moniz. Mike Hartline, who has 922 yards even after the loss at Florida, is the only other SEC quarterback in the Top 30. (He's tied for No. 27.)
Can he keep up the pace? Well, Mallett doesn't have any team in the Top 30 in passing yardage defense on his radar; the best-ranked team is Vanderbilt, whose passing yardage defense is 35th for reasons that should be fairly obvious. But Mallett has to pass for at least 356.3 yards a game to defeat Couch's record by one yard in the regular season, and 328.9 yards if a bowl game is factored in. (We'll leave aside, for now, the possibility of an SEC Championship Game, though that's not out of the question.) Only one FBS team is allowing more than 303.3 yards a game -- Tulsa, which is apparently standing by and watching as opposing quarterbacks throw for 350.5.
So even with the Tide crossed off the list, Mallett is going to have to provide the worst game of the year for a lot of passing defenses if he's going to break the record. Not that the Arkansas signal-caller isn't capable of doing that.
Random, Interesting Fact
Putting together For Your Consideration requires looking through media guides, statistical bits, etc. -- all in an effort to find history or context that I find interesting and hope you will find interesting as well. So while looking through the Colorado media guide in search of some facts about the Buffaloes record against SEC teams (2-9-1 overall, if my math is correct), I came across a chart of what the point values of different scoring plays used to be. Only the safety has remained constant.
|1 pt / 2 pts*
|Source: University of Colorado Football Media Guide
*Beginning in 1988, defenses were awarded two points for returning a PAT.