We are entering the home stretch. Just two more conferences to go. This week we examine our final Power Five conference, the SEC.
Here are the SEC standings.
The Best SEC Offense
For most of the 2018 season, the Alabama offense looked like an unstoppable juggernaut. Until their lackluster showing in the national championship game against Clemson (when they still moved the ball effectively), the Tide had scored at least 24 points in each game and topped 30 points twelve times in their first fourteen games. Even counting their loss to the Tigers, Alabama still averaged over 45 points per game in 2018. That loss obviously left a bad taste in the mouth of Alabama (and SEC) fans, but viewed holistically, the Tide were one of the most dominant offenses of all time. How do they compare to other recent SEC offenses in the two statistics we hold dear around these parts, Yards per Play and APR?
Let’s start with Yards per Play. Here are the top six SEC offenses in terms of raw yards per play since 2005. These numbers include conference play only with the SEC Championship Game excluded (where applicable).
another incarnation of Alabama that did not win the national title).
Now let’s look at the offensive component of APR, offensive touchdowns. Once again, here are the top six SEC offenses in terms of offensive touchdowns. These numbers include conference play only with the SEC Championship Game excluded (where applicable).
national title winning Gators the only team in the same neighborhood. The four teams tied for third all averaged a full touchdown less per game than Alabama. Well, that’s a pretty open and shut case right? Alabama was clearly the best SEC offense of the past decade and a half. No question about it. Just to be sure, let me run the numbers again, but this time taking into account the scoring environment each team played in. Here are the Yards per Play numbers along with the SEC average for that season. Instead of being sorted by raw totals, the teams are sorted by the difference between their yards per play and the SEC average.
Now let’s do the same thing with offensive touchdowns. Here are the offensive touchdown numbers along with the SEC average for that season. Once again, the teams are sorted by the difference between their offensive touchdowns and the SEC average.
I went into this analysis thinking Alabama’s 2018 team would rate out as the best SEC offense of recent vintage. However, once an adjustment is made for the uptick in quality of SEC offenses (or downgrade in quality of SEC defenses), the 2008 Florida team is at worst the equal of the Tide and probably a hair better.