Auburn Football: Why Are the Tigers Leading the SEC?

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Auburn Football: Why Are the Tigers Leading the SEC?
Mike Zarrilli/Getty Images

With Auburn fans getting ready for homecoming this weekend, it seems to be an appropriate time to look at how the Tigers compare to the rest of the conference. This has been a different kind of year in the SEC and some might be surprised at where Auburn stands.

One of the upcoming games is with old rival Georgia. This is actually an improved team both offensively and defensively when compared to last year. Looking at Georgia's current overall record, it might not appear to be that way. This year has been a season where normal has not been good enough.

These comparisons will be made based on seasonal game averages. A decrease in performance will be marked by a minus sign in the variations column.

 

Rushing Offense

Conference Rank

Team

2010 Average

2009 Average

Variation

1

Auburn

307.67 yards

212 yards

95.67 yards

2

Mississippi State

218.67 yards

227.58 yards

-8.91 yards

3

Mississippi

212 yards

183.62 yards

28.38 yards

4

Alabama

186.88 yards

215.07 yards

-28.19 yards

5

LSU

179.13 yards

122.77 yards

56.36 yards

8

Georgia

150.67 yards

161 yards

-10.33 yards

 

Passing Offense

Conference Rank

Team

2010 Average

2009 Average

Variation

1

Arkansas

360.25 yards

295.54 yards

64.71 yards

2

Kentucky

278.33 yards

140.31 yards

138.02 yards

3

South Carolina

256 yards

226.15 yards

29.85 yards

4

Alabama

253.88 yards

187.93 yards

65.95 yards

5

Georgia

237.78 yards

201.15 yards

36.63 yards

6

Tennessee

213.63 yards

226.31 yards

-12.68 yards

7

Mississippi

197.88 yards

218.77 yards

-20.89 yards

8

Florida

190.88 yards

236.07 yards

-45.19 yards

9

Auburn

188.56 yards

219.77 yards

-31.21 yards

12

LSU

138.75 yards

181.77 yards

-43.02 yards

 

Total Offense

Conference Rank

Team

2010 Average

2009 Average

Variation

1

Auburn

496.22 yards

431.77 yards

64.45 yards

2

Arkansas

487.38 yards

427.31 yards

60.07 yards

3

Alabama

440.75 yards

403 yards

37.75 yards

4

Kentucky

419.44 yards

331.54 yards

87.9 yards

5

Mississippi

409.88 yards

402.38 yards

7.5 yards

9

South Carolina

407.88 yards

347.38 yards

60.5 yards

7

Georgia

388.44 yards

362.15 yards

26.39 yards

8

Mississippi State

388.22 yards

371.92 yards

16.3 yards

9

Florida

344.13 yards

457.86 yards

-113.73

12

LSU

317.88 yards

304.54 yards

13.34 yards

 

Overall the SEC is a much better conference on offense in 2010. The improvement is almost uniform from top to bottom. While the LSU offense has been much maligned, they have actually made good improvement against a harder schedule than in 2009.

 

Total Defense

Conference Rank

Team

2010 Average

2009 Average

Variation

1

LSU

277.63 yards

327.62 yards

49.99 yards

2

Alabama

291.38 yards

244.14 yards

-47.24 yards

3

Florida

315.5 yards

252.57 yards

-62.93 yards

4

Georgia

322.67 yards

339.38 yards

16.71 yards

5

Arkansas

330.88 yards

401.15 yards

70.27 yards

6

Mississippi State

336.78 yards

366 yards

29.22 yards

7

Kentucky

349.78 yards

359.67 yards

9.89 yards

8

Auburn

358.33 yards

374.08 yards

15.75 yards

9

South Carolina

360 yards

300.69 yards

-59.31 yards

 

Auburn has improved on both offense and defense this year. The combination of these improvements is 80.2 yards per game. Let’s take a look at the overall improvement of the top SEC teams.

Auburn 80.2 yards improved

LSU 63.24 yards improved

Alabama 9.49 yards regressed

Arkansas 130.34 yards improved

South Carolina 1.19 yards improved

Mississippi State 45.52 yards improved

Georgia 43.1 yards improved

Kentucky 97.79 yards improved

Florida 176.66 yards regressed

For the most part Alabama has performed on a level equal to the 2009 season. The Tide have improved on offense and regressed on defense as expected, but their overall performance is within 10 yards of the 2009 team.

Georgia has improved on both offense and defense for 2010. The Bulldogs have improved weekly this season.

While some would point to scoring offense and defense as a more reliable indicator, this is certainly not the case. For a team to have solid credentials, they must be improved in every area.

 

Scoring Offense

Conference Rank

Team

2010 Average

2009 Average

Variation

1

Auburn

40 points

33 points

7 points

2

Arkansas

35 points

36 points

-1 point

3

Alabama

34 points

32 points

2 points

4

Kentucky

33 points

26 points

7 points

5

Georgia

31 points

29 points

2 points

6

Mississippi

31 points

30 points

1 point

7

South Carolina

30 points

20 points

10 points

8

Florida

28 points

36 points

-8 points

9

Mississippi State

28 points

26 points

2 points

10

LSU

26 points

25 points

1 points

 

Scoring Defense

Conference Rank

Team

2010 Average

2009 Average

Variation

1

Alabama

13 points

12 points

1 point

2

LSU

16 points

16 points

No change

3

Mississippi State

17 points

27 points

10 points

4

South Carolina

20 points

10 points

-10 points

5

Florida

20 points

13 points

-7 points

6

Georgia

21 points

26 points

5 points

7

Arkansas

22 points

25 points

3 points

8

Auburn

24 points

28 points

3 points

11

Kentucky

32 points

23 points

-9 points

 

The top performers are quite obvious.

Auburn 10 points improved

LSU one point improved

Alabama one point improved

Arkansas two points improved

South Carolina no change

Mississippi State 12 points improved

When looking at the overall performance of the 2010 Auburn Tigers, it becomes obvious why they currently sit at the head of the conference table.

Auburn is allowing 242 passing yards per game, about 24 yards more than last season. This is one statistical area where Auburn has not improved, and in total 216 yards behind last season's team. This statistic should improve before the season ends.

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