Best of the rest: SEC's top seasons

June, 4, 2012
6/04/12
2:54
PM ET
We've ranked our top five individual seasons in the SEC over the past 50 years, and I'm sure everybody agrees.

It was close for the top spot, but Auburn winning the national championship in 2010 nudged Cam Newton ahead of Tim Tebow.

Here's a look at 10 other outstanding individual seasons that just missed the cut. They're listed in alphabetical order:

Shaun Alexander, RB, Alabama, 1999: His 24 touchdowns that season remains the SEC record, and he also rushed for 1,383 yards in leading Alabama to the SEC championship. Alexander scored four touchdowns in the 40-39 overtime win against Florida.

[+] EnlargeRandall Cobb
Mark Zerof/US PresswireRandall Cobb set the SEC record with 2,396 all-purpose yards during the 2010 season.
Randall Cobb, WR, Kentucky, 2010: He set the SEC record with 2,396 all-purpose yards and accounted for 16 touchdowns -- seven receiving, five rushing, three passing and one on a punt return. With 424 rushing yards and 1,017 receiving yards, Cobb just missed becoming the first player in SEC history to rush for 500 yards and have 1,000 receiving yards in the same season.

Chris Gaines, LB, Vanderbilt, 1987: An All-American for the Commodores, Gaines was a tackling machine and racked up a school-record 214 tackles in 1987, including 136 solo stops. He had 37 total tackles in a single game against Tulane. Gaines also tied for the team lead with nine tackles for loss that season.

Terry Hoage, S, Georgia, 1982: He led the nation with 12 interceptions, which has remained the SEC record for nearly 30 years, and also collected 101 total tackles as the rover in Georgia's defense. Frank Broyles said Hoage was an "end, safety and cornerback combined."

Bo Jackson, RB, Auburn, 1985: In romping his way to the Heisman Trophy, Jackson rushed for 1,786 yards, third all-time in the SEC, and 17 touchdowns. Despite carrying the ball nearly 300 times, he averaged an astonishing 6.4 yards per carry.

Peyton Manning, QB, Tennessee, 1997: After returning to school for his senior season, Manning made it count with the first of back-to-back SEC championships for the Vols. He passed for 3,819 yards and 36 touchdowns that season.

Darren McFadden, RB, Arkansas, 2007: His 1,830 rushing yards that season rank second all-time in the SEC to Herschel Walker's 1,891 yards in 1981. McFadden, a two-time Heisman Trophy runner-up, also set the SEC record for all-purpose yards that season with 2,310, a record that was broken in 2010 by Kentucky's Randall Cobb.

Patrick Peterson, CB, LSU, 2010: Cam Newton wasn't the only SEC player who had a sensational season in 2010. Peterson won both the Thorpe and Bednarik awards while establishing himself as the top cornerback in the country. He also returned two punts for touchdowns, and was one of the nation's leaders in kickoff return average.

Jake Scott, S, Georgia, 1968: One of the best all-around athletes to ever play in the SEC, Scott had 10 interceptions, which tied the SEC record at the time, and also led the SEC that season with a 12.6-yard average on punt returns. He was named the SEC's Most Valuable Player, and led the Bulldogs to the SEC championship.

Reggie White, DT, Tennessee, 1983: The "Minister of Defense" racked up 100 total tackles and 24 tackles for loss, including 15 sacks. His school sack record has stood for nearly 30 years, and he had 72 unassisted tackles, which is unheard of for an interior defensive lineman.

Chris Low | email

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