Tuesday, August 27, 2013
Countdown to SEC kickoff: 2 days
By Chris Low
We're one day closer to the pigskin being kicked off this season in the SEC with Thursday's doubleheader on ESPN.
Georgia (No. 8 Clemson), Mississippi State (No. 13 Oklahoma State) and LSU (No. 20 TCU) are the only three SEC schools playing nationally ranked opponents to open the season.
Who in the SEC has played the most nationally ranked foes over the last three seasons? Who's won the most games against nationally ranked teams during that span, and who's won the fewest?
Let's take a look. But, first, the number to ponder in our countdown: 22.
LSU has faced 22 nationally ranked opponents over the last three seasons, which is more than anybody else in the SEC. The Tigers have compiled a 16-6 record against those ranked foes. Their 16 wins are tops in the SEC since the start of the 2010 season, and they're an impressive 11-4 in nationally ranked games during the last two seasons. Two-time defending national champion Alabama is second to LSU in the SEC with a 13-5 record against ranked teams over the last three seasons. The Crimson Tide have won 10 of their last 12 games against ranked opponents going back to their 49-7 battering of Michigan State in the Capital One Bowl to end the 2010 season. Only three SEC teams have winning records against ranked foes over the last three seasons. South Carolina is the third member of that exclusive group along with Alabama and LSU. The Gamecocks are 8-7 in games against ranked teams over the last three seasons. That's a huge turnaround from what they'd done previously against ranked foes. Prior to the 2010 season, they'd lost 14 of their last 19 games against ranked opponents. Arkansas is close to making it four SEC teams with a winning record against ranked foes over the last three seasons. The Hogs are 7-7 after going 0-2 last season. The only two SEC teams who've failed to beat a ranked team over the last three seasons are Tennessee and Vanderbilt. The Vols are 0-15 during that stretch and the Commodores 0-8. Vanderbilt's eight games against ranked opponents are the fewest of any team in the SEC over the last three seasons. Florida and Georgia have both struggled in recent years against ranked foes. The Gators are just 4-11 and the Bulldogs 4-9 over the last three seasons. In fact, Florida had lost nine straight games to ranked teams before coming back last season and going 4-2. Mississippi State has had three straight winning seasons under Dan Mullen, but is just 1-12 against ranked teams during that stretch. The Bulldogs' lone win over a ranked team during the last three seasons came against Florida in the Swamp in 2010.