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Will Anyone Score 40 Points Per Game in SEC Play?

It doesn't happen often here.

Shanna Lockwood-USA TODAY Sports

Last year, neither the SEC nor the ACC had a team average at least 40 points in conference play. It was a break in trend for the ACC, which had two teams above that mark in 2013 after having one in 2012.

It was not a break in trend for the SEC. Since 2008, it has had the fewest number of teams to average at least 40 points per game in league play among the Power 5 conferences with two. The ACC is next with three, followed by the Big Ten with four, the Pac-10/12 with nine, and finally the Big 12 with ten. The Big 12 had more teams average above 40 points per game in league play in 2008 (Oklahoma, Texas Tech, Texas) than the SEC has had in that whole time since. And sure, the Pac had Oregon lighting up the scoreboard, but it still had two other teams (2011 Stanford, 2013 Arizona State) get it done.

Scoring has been rising in the SEC. The conference average in points per game rose from 22.8 in 2008 to 26.9 in 2014. The high was 28.2 in 2013, which shouldn't be a surprise given that it was the best season for QBs in the conference in forever.

Still though, only 2008 Florida at 43.3 and 2010 Auburn at 40.2 have breached the 40 points per game threshold. Help is probably on the way, though.

Urban Meyer's not coming back, but Gus Malzahn did after a hiatus at Arkansas State and might edge his team above that mark again. Plus, two of the Big Ten's four seasons above the 40 point mark came from Bret Bielema's Wisconsin. He might deliver some more from Arkansas, although it could be a while. Even with the strides the team made last year, his Hogs only averaged 20.6 points per game in SEC play a year ago.

A priority towards defense obviously is a contributing factor to keeping SEC teams below the 40-point threshold. Several SEC teams turned over their defensive coordinator job this year in an attempt to improve on that side of the ball, and the conference has four DCs who make at least $1 million per year. Another big factor is pace, as the influx of guys like Malzahn, Hugh Freeze, and Kevin Sumlin hasn't changed the fact that the conference is one of the slowest in the country. Alabama has had some of the nation's best offenses over the past half decade, but its predilection towards taking its time kept it from ever breaking the 40-point mark.

Still though, Meyer's Gators didn't go hurry up in 2008. Neither did Bielema's Badgers in the Big Ten. Getting to 40 points a game in conference play can be done even without running 75 plays per game. Will anyone do it? I don't know. Auburn probably has the best shot this year, but it'll be in a division full of stout defenses. My guess is we'll go at least another year without an SEC team breaking 40 per game in conference play.