Friday, December 2, 2011
Did you know? SEC championship game
By ESPN.com staff
A little bit of this and a little bit of that, with the help of ESPN Stats & Information, as we point to Saturday's SEC championship game between Georgia and LSU:
- The past five winners of the SEC championship game have gone on to win the BCS national championship. Ironically, the last winner that didn’t was Georgia in 2005 after beating LSU. That year, the Dawgs lost in the Sugar Bowl to West Virginia.
- If the Tigers win Saturday, they would be just the fifth team in the BCS era to be a wire-to-wire No. 1 in the BCS standings. But they should beware that two of the previous four that went wire-to-wire lost in their shot at the title -- Ohio State in 2006 and Oklahoma in 2003.
- For the fourth straight year, the SEC championship game will feature either the AP No. 1 or No. 2 team (or both). Last year featured No. 1 Auburn, while 2009 featured No. 1 Florida vs No. 2 Alabama. In 2008, it was No. 1 Alabama vs No. 2 Florida.
- Last season’s SEC championship game between Auburn and South Carolina drew a 6.0 rating. The 2009 game between Florida and Alabama became the highest rated SEC title game earning a national household rating/share of 11.1/23. The 1994 SEC championship game was the previous high with a 10.5/26.
- Auburn played the most true freshmen in the SEC this season with 17 and was second nationally to Texas' 18. Tennessee was tied for fifth nationally with 15 true freshmen playing. Florida and Georgia were tied for eighth nationally, each with 13 true freshmen playing.
- LSU ranks in the top 10 nationally in all major defensive categories and leads the nation in turnover margin. The Tigers have turned the ball over only eight times in 12 games and have forced 27 turnovers.
- This marks the 20th SEC championship game, and more times than not, the outcome has been decided fairly early. The last three games were decided by a total of 69 points. In fact, of the last 13 SEC championship games, only one has been decided by single digits (LSU 21, Tennessee 14 in 2007).
- Georgia quarterback Aaron Murray has thrown a school-record 32 touchdown passes this season, including 14 in his past four games. He has 10 interceptions this season, but six of those came in his first five games.
- Murray has thrown touchdown passes to 10 different players this season, and six Georgia players have more than 200 receiving yards. Four of those players have at least 30 catches.
- Georgia has won 12 SEC championships with the most recent one coming in 2005. That tally ranks third in league history behind Alabama (22) and Tennessee (13).
- Georgia is 1-3 all-time against No. 1 ranked teams in the AP poll with its only win coming in 1985 against top-ranked Florida. This is the first time that Georgia has played a No. 1-ranked team not named Florida since the 1977 Sugar Bowl when it lost to Pittsburgh 27-3.
- LSU has held opponents to a completion percentage of 13.3 percent on throws of 20 yards or longer this season. The Tigers have more interceptions (8) than their opponents have receptions (6) on passes of 20 yards or longer downfield, and only Mississippi State has completed more than two such passes in a game.
- Playing a nationally ranked opponent shouldn't faze LSU in the least. This season, LSU has had three matchups against AP top-four teams. This season, No. 1 LSU won at No. 2 Alabama and No. 4 LSU beat No. 3 Oregon in Arlington, Texas. Last week, the Tigers took care of third-ranked Arkansas. Only one other time in history has a team been involved in three pre-bowl matchups of AP top-four teams. That came in 1943 when Notre Dame actually played in four matchups of top four teams, winning them all, as the Irish defeated No. 2 Iowa Pre-Flight, No. 3 Army, No. 3 Navy and No. 2 Michigan as the nations’ top-ranked team.