In the realm of the SEC, one of the best gauges of how a team or player fared during the season is looking back at what happened in league competition only.
We’ve all seen cases where players pad their stats against weaker nonconference teams, or where teams roll up big numbers out of conference and then are pretty average against league foes.
We’ll start with a bit of irony.
As brutal as LSU was on offense in the Allstate BCS National Championship Game, the Tigers led the SEC in both scoring offense (35 points per game) and rushing offense (220.4 yards per game) in eight-regular season games against league opponents.
Alabama and LSU tied for first in scoring defense, each giving up an average of 8.4 points game, while Alabama was first in total defense against league competition. The Crimson Tide allowed an average of 180.5 yards per game, which was nearly 45 yards fewer per game than the second-place team -- LSU.
The worst team offensively against SEC competition was Tennessee, which was last in scoring offense, rushing offense and third-down conversions, 11th in total offense and 10th in pass efficiency. In eight league games, the Vols averaged just 11.5 points and 63.5 rushing yards.
Defensively, Ole Miss brought up the rear and was last in total defense, scoring defense and rushing defense. The Rebels gave up an average of 36.5 points per game to SEC opponents.
And how important is turnover margin?
LSU was first in the league at plus-12, while Ole Miss was last at minus-11.
Turning to individuals, anybody want to venture a guess as to who led the SEC in pass efficiency in the regular season against league foes?
Alabama’s Trent Richardson and Auburn’s Michael Dyer were the only two players to average more than 100 rushing yards per game against SEC foes. Georgia’s Isaiah Crowell and Vanderbilt’s Zac Stacy were both over 80 yards per game on the ground.
Richardson’s 12 touchdowns against SEC defenses led the way, and Stacy was second with seven.
Kentucky’s Danny Trevathan was the only SEC player with 100 or more total tackles during SEC regular-season play. He finished with exactly 100. He also had the most solo stops (48). Florida’s Jon Bostic was second with 43 solo stops.