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SEC Team of the Decade

For the next two weeks, I will be taking a look at the conference teams of the decade for 2000-2009. Factored into my analysis will be conference win %, conference and division titles, bowl games and bowl wins. I will also include BCS bowl wins, final AP rankings and number of national championships for the major conferences. There have been several teams who have changed conferences during that time and I will include them in the analysis for any season(s) they were affiliated with that certain conference. I will also be doing a breakdown of how the conference did in bowl games during the decade and I will emphasis the overall win/loss record, the number of BCS bowl wins, and the records against Non-BCS and ranked bowl teams.

While some conferences may have no-brainers as the top team, other conferences were very competitive over the past decade. Here is the schedule for the upcoming week with the conferences I will be analyzing on each date.

June 28 Sun Belt 
June 29 MAC 
June 30 WAC 
July 1 CUSA 
July 2 MWC 
July 3-4 Big East 
Monday Pac-10 
Tuesday ACC 
Wednesday Big 12 
Yesterday Big 10 
Today SEC 
Weekend Conference Bowl Records

The SEC has dominated college football in the past decade and is an automatic answer when anyone asks me what the best conference is. The SEC has now won four straight National Titles and had five total in the past decade. In the past 10 years several great coaching hires have made this conference so strong with four of the current coaches having won a national title and six of them have at least one BCS Bowl win at some point in their career. This year looks like it will be another strong year for the conference and the big question is can the SEC make it 5 straight National Titles?

But for now let’s look back at the previous decade and here are my overall rankings for SEC team of the decade.

SEC Rankings 2000-2009

Rk Team Wins Losses Win % Titles Div Titles # of Bowls Bowl Wins AP Top 25 AP Top 10 BCS Bowl Wins Natl Champ
1 Florida 61 19 76.30% 3 4 10 5 8 5 4 2
2 LSU 55 25 68.80% 3 4 10 7 8 5 4 2
3 Georgia 55 25 68.80% 2 3 10 8 9 5 2 0
4 Auburn 52 28 65% 1 2 9 6 6 2 1 0
5 Alabama 46 34 57.50% 1 2 7 4 4 3 1 1
6 Tennessee 51 29 63.80% 0 3 8 3 5 1 0 0

This was a tough call for me as Florida and LSU both had three overall conference titles, 4 division titles, 10 bowls, 8 AP Top 25 finishes, 5 Top 10’s, 4 BCS Bowl wins and 2 national titles. One could make an argument that these two teams were the top programs in all of the country for the past decade (USC, Oklahoma, Texas and Ohio St are the others). While LSU fared better in bowl games, Florida had six more conference wins and were 6-4 in head-to-head matchups vs the Tigers (avg score 26-17) so they get my nod for SEC team of the decade!

Coming in at #3 is Georgia who clearly was ahead of the other schools with two overall titles, 3 division titles, 9 AP Top 25 finishes (#1 SEC), 5 AP Top 10’s and 2 BCS wins. While he is currently feeling some heat after finishing 8-5 LY, HC Mark Richt has done a good job here and I think they will top LY’s win total and they are prime contenders in the SEC East.

At #4 is Auburn who had an impressive 65% win % in league play and went to 9 bowl games. The Tigers grabbed an overall title in 2004 and came up just short of the national title. The Tigers get the nod over Alabama here because of their 7-3 record head-to-head (including six straight from 2002-2007) and they won six more games than the Tide in conference play. #5 Alabama has really come on strong the last couple of years going 16-0 in regular season conference play. The Tide would have finished higher but remember they did have six seasons where they finished .500 or below in conference play.

In the 90s Tennessee probably would have finished #2 in my rankings behind Florida. In the past decade however the Vols have slipped a little and despite having five more wins in conference play than the Crimson Tide, Tennessee gets my #6 vote. While they did appear in 8 bowl games, none of them were a BCS bowl and they had just one appearance in the final AP Top 10. With that being said there are a lot of programs that would love to have a 63.8% win % in the tough SEC and I think new HC Dooley will do a great job here.

Here are the overall bowl records for SEC teams during the past decade.

SEC Bowl Records ’00-’09

Team Overall vs BCS vs Non-BCS vs Ranked BCS Bowls Rec as Ranked
Florida 5-5 5-5 0-0 5-4 4-1 5-5
LSU 7-3 7-3 0-0 7-3 4-0 5-2
Georgia 8-2 7-2 1-0 6-1 2-1 6-2
Auburn 6-3 6-3 0-0 4-2 1-0 4-2
Alabama 4-3 4-2 0-1 2-1 1-1 2-1
Tennessee 3-5 3-5 0-0 3-3 0-0 3-3
Arkansas 2-5 1-4 1-1 0-3 0-0 0-3
Mississippi 4-1 4-1 0-0 3-0 0-0 2-0
South Carolina 3-3 2-3 1-0 2-0 0-0 1-0
Kentucky 3-1 2-1 1-0 0-0 0-0 0-0
Miss St 2-0 1-0 1-0 0-0 0-0 0-0
Vanderbilt 1-0 1-0 0-0 0-0 0-0 0-0
Overall 48-31 43-29 5-2 32-17 12-3 28-18

As you can see above, the SEC has been very impressive in bowl games the last ten years with an overall 60.8% win % including a 65.3% mark against ranked teams. Their 12-3 (80%) records in BCS games is outstanding and is just another key factor in the conference being the strongest in the country. There were several teams that fared well in bowl games led by Georgia who was 8-2 overall and 6-1 vs ranked teams. LSU was 7-3 overall in bowl games and were a perfect 4-0 in BCS bowls. Mississippi went 4-1 overall including an impressive 3-0 mark vs ranked teams.

Tomorrow I will take a look at all the conference’s bowl records and rank which conferences did best overall in the past decade.

We just posted my 2010 FCS All-Conference and All-American teams on the homepage yesterday and if you want to see if your favorite local team has any players on make sure to download them. Also please check PhilSteele.com everyday to get my FCS Top 25 Countdown, which continues with #12 Stephen F Austin. Thru July 20th, I will post both magazine pages on a new team ranked in the Top 25 and you can get an early look on how I breakdown your favorite FCS team. Remember those magazine pages are available for only 24 hours for you to download as the next team will be posted the following day.

Only 55 Days Until the First College Football Game!!!

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