Another memorable season for SEC

January, 11, 2012
1/11/12
2:07
PM ET
Does anybody really remember the last time a bowl season ended when an SEC team wasn’t hoisting that crystal trophy and bathing in confetti?

Alabama made it six in a row for the SEC this season with its second national title in the past three years.

[+] EnlargeTyler Wilson
Tim Heitman/US PresswireQB Tyler Wilson helped Arkansas win 11 games for the first time in 34 seasons.
Not only that, but the team Alabama had to beat to earn its crown was one of its SEC brothers, LSU, which came into Monday’s Allstate BCS National Championship Game 13-0 and the owner of eight wins over nationally ranked teams.

The all-SEC BCS National Championship Game is argument enough for what kind of bowl season it was for the league even if the game itself was a yawner.

But throw in the SEC’s 6-3 record in bowl games (with one of those losses belonging to LSU in the national title game), and it’s a postseason that ranks up there as one of the SEC’s best in the BCS era.

Alabama was able to avenge its only regular-season loss with its 21-0 victory over LSU, the first shutout in a BCS National Championship Game.

The game itself won’t be memorable, and both LSU’s performance and game plan on offense stunk, but Alabama completed one of the more memorable defensive runs in college football history. The Crimson Tide finished the season ranked No. 1 nationally in all four of the major defensive statistical categories -- total defense, scoring defense, rushing defense and passing defense.

The only other team to do that was Oklahoma in 1986.

Arkansas and South Carolina ensured that the SEC finished with four top-10 teams in the final polls, both winning their bowl games by double digits.

The Hogs took down Kansas State 29-16 in the AT&T Cotton Bowl to win 11 games for the first time since the 1977 season. The Gamecocks pulled away from Nebraska for a 30-13 victory in the Capital One Bowl, capping the first 11-win season in South Carolina history.

It’s the first time ever that four SEC teams finished a season with 11 or more wins.

Auburn played one of its most complete games of the season in a 43-24 win over Virginia in the Chick-fil-A Bowl.

Mississippi State beat Wake Forest 23-17 in the Franklin American Mortgage Music City Bowl to win its second consecutive bowl game for the first time since 1999 and 2000.

Florida, despite an unfulfilling regular season, even got into the act by doing what all SEC teams do -- beat Ohio State in a bowl game. The Gators raced past the Buckeyes 24-17 in the TaxSlayer.com Gator Bowl.

The hiccups were Georgia losing a big lead early and then bowing in three overtimes to Michigan State in the Outback Bowl and Vanderbilt falling short to Cincinnati in the AutoZone Liberty Bowl.

Both games were close, though, and don’t get in the way of what was a memorable finish to a memorable season in the SEC.

The view from the top just keeps getting a little more spectacular each year.

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