SEC Football news and notes, weekend game previews

From the Southeastern Conference

The SEC has seven teams ranked in all four major Top 25 rankings and polls this week – Associated Press, Bowl Championship Series, Harris Interactive and USA Today.  The SEC has had seven teams ranked in the Top 25 in all polls for five straight weeks (Oct. 8 did not have BCS Rankings).

* - Both Florida and Alabama have clinched at least a share of the divisional championships but need help in order to make the SEC Championship Game.  Florida would win the Eastern Division title outright and make the championship game if Auburn defeats Georgia this weekend.  Should Georgia defeat the Tigers, the Bulldogs will represent the Eastern Division as a co-champion, winning the head-to-head tie-breaker with the Gators.  Alabama needs to defeat either Texas A&M or Auburn to represent the Western Division in the SEC Championship Game.  Texas A&M and LSU the only other SEC teams mathematically remaining to make the SEC Championship from the Western Division.  Texas A&M would need for Alabama to lose twice and A&M to defeat both the Tide and Missouri.  LSU would need a three-way tie with itself, Alabama and Texas A&M to get to Atlanta.  Thus, LSU would need for it to win its remaining two games, Alabama to lose its remaining two games, Texas A&M to win its remaining two games.

* - SEC in the BCS Notes:  SEC is the first conference to have 5 of the Top 8 (#1 – Alabama, #5 – Georgia, #6 – Florida, #7 – LSU, #8 – South Carolina) … The SEC extended its streak of having at least one team in No. 1 or No. 2 position in 36 of last 37 BCS Standings, dating back to Dec. 2, 2007 … In the four BCS rankings this year, of the top 8 each week, #SEC has 17 of the 32 (53%) available poll positions … Since first poll of 2011 season (12 polls total), an SEC team has held 22 of the 25 positions in the BCS Standings.   The only ones SEC has not been ranked: 4, 17, 19.

* - The Texas A&M at Alabama matchup is one of the two most efficient offenses in the SEC.  The Aggies lead the SEC in highest average points per drive (3.09 / 336 points in 110 offensive drives) with the Tide second at 3.07 (332 in 108) points per drive.  The Tide leads the SEC in overall scoring efficiency percentage (50.9% / 55 scoring drives out of 108 total drives) and the Aggies are second at 49.6% (60 of 121).  In touchdown scoring efficiency, the Aggies lead the SEC at 40.5% (49 TD drives out of 121 overall drives) while the Tide are second at 38.9% (42 of 108).

* - The Vanderbilt at Ole Miss game is the fourth most competitive series in the SEC since 2000, with an average winning margin of 11.17 points per game.  Seven of the 12 games in the series since 2000 have been decided by nine-points-or-less.

* - At its current pace, SEC offenses are passing for more yards per game (227.7) since the 2001 season (245.1).  Since 1992, the 227.7 average would be fourth highest in SEC behind 2001 (245.1), 1997 (234.7) and 1998 (232.4).  Passing is accounting for 57.5% of SEC offenses this season while running (168.5 yards per game) is 42.5%.

* - There have been 215 scoring drives in the SEC this season that have been less than two minutes compared to 59 scoring drives of more than five minutes.

* - Of the 22 offensive drives that have been for 15-plays-or-more, eight have ended in touchdowns, nine in field goals, two in missed field goals, one in a turnover and two on downs.

* - Arkansas' Cobi Hamilton has 14 plays of more than 20 yards this season against FBS teams with winning records.  That total is third in the nation (Austin Hill, Arizona, 1st with 17; Terrance Williams, Baylor, 2nd with 16).

* - The SEC had the top three in sacks against teams that are ranked in the AP Top 25 – Damontre Moore, Texas A&M, 1st with 6.5 sacks; Corey Lemonier, Auburn, 2nd with 5.0 sacks; Jarvis Jones, Georgia, 3rd with 4.0 sacks.

* - Vanderbilt sophomore long-snapper Andrew East is the Southeastern Conference Football Community Service Team Player of the Week for Week 11 of the SEC football season.  East has made two trips to Mexico as part of Youth With A Mission (YWAM) outreach programs as a Vanderbilt undergraduate. The civil engineering major helped build houses for impoverished families as a YWAM field representative in Tijuana and Ensenada, both communities located on the Pacific coast south of San Diego.  East, who became an eagle scout growing up in Indianapolis, also participated with the Wheeler Mission in his hometown, helping to provide critically needed goods and services to the homeless, poor and needy populations of central Indiana. East has also volunteered with the Seven Bridges to Recovery organization that battles homelessness, addiction and abuse in metro Atlanta.  East serves as one of four football players who serve as Vanderbilt's Student Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC). He has participated in several SAAC projects aimed at Nashville's inner-city population, including a holiday party in December and Field Day activity in the spring.


Arkansas at South Carolina (12 p.m. ET / CBS Sports / Sirius 91 / XM 91)

Battle of two teams that came into the SEC in 1992 … The teams have played every year since then, with Arkansas leading the series, 13-7 … In games played in Columbia, the series is tied, 5-5 … The Razorbacks have won the last three meetings, including a 44-28 win last season in Fayetteville … The last Carolina win was a 34-21 decision in Columbia in 2008 … The Gamecocks have a nine-game home win streak at Williams-Brice Stadium … Arkansas has won eight straight games against opponents from the SEC Eastern Division, the longest current interdivisional streak in the SEC and the longest win streak against Eastern Division foes in school history … Arkansas has 17 players who have made their first collegiate start this season, the most in the SEC and tied for 7th-highest in the nation … Connor Shaw is 14-3 as a starting Gamecock QB, which, at 82.4%, is the highest winning percentage for a Carolina starting QB since 1971.

Missouri at Tennessee (12:21 p.m. ET / SEC Network / Sirius 135 / XMX 201)

This is the first meeting between the two teams … Tennessee has won eight consecutive November games vs. SEC opponents at Neyland Stadium since a 17-12 win over Kentucky on Nov. 25, 2006 … The Vols have won eight consecutive home games in the month of November, dating to a 28-10 win over Kentucky on Nov. 29, 2008 … Mizzou is 3-0 this year in games which it gains a 4th-quarter turnover, while they are 0-3 this season when committing a 4th-quarter turnover … T.J. Moe is 6th in Mizzou history with 178 career catches and 8th in career receiving yards with 1,972 … Tennessee has scored 42 touchdowns in 2012, 11 more than the 2011 full-season total of 31.

Louisiana-Lafayette at Florida (12:21 p.m. ET / SEC Network / Sirius 112 / XM 200)

Florida is 4-0 all-time against the Ragin' Cajuns … The last meeting was in 1996, when the Gators took a 55-21 decision … In the 1996 game, Florida scored four defensive touchdowns … It is Homecoming on the Florida campus this weekend … The Gators are 64-22-2 all-time in Homecoming games … This season, Florida has a +11 turnover margin, improving on last season's -12 turnover margin … Through nine games this season, Florida has outscored its opposition, 138-38, in the second half … The Gator defense is averaging 64.4 yards allowed in the 3rd quarter and 75.8 yards allowed in the 4th quarter.

Texas A&M at Alabama (2:30 p.m. CT / CBS Sports / Sirius 91 / XM 91)

Alabama leads the series history, 3-1 … It's the first visit to Bryant-Denny Stadium for the Aggies … The teams played in the 1942 and 1968 Cotton Bowls, in 1985 at Legion Field in Birmingham and 1988 in College Station … The 1998 game was moved from its original date of Sept. 17 to Dec. 1 due to concerns about Hurricane Gilbert … An Alabama victory would give the Tide the Western Division Championship and a berth in the SEC Championship Game … Alabama's Jeremy Shelley is the only kicker in the nation not to miss an extra-point (40-40) or field goal (9-9) this season … The Aggies are 1-10 in games against No. 1 ranked teams, with the lone victory being a 30-26 win over Oklahoma in 2002 … A&M has scored first in every game in 2012, and in 14 straight games dating back to 2011 … Johnny Manziel has already broken A&M's record for quarterback rushing yards in a season (922) … Alabama is 21-6 against the AP Top 25 during the last four seasons and 12-4 against AP Top 10 teams … The Tide defense averages 5.44 3-and-outs per game and its 45.4 percent rate is second highest in the nation … Aggies and Tide have shared three head coaches in their histories – Bear Bryant (A&M 1954-57; Alabama 1958-82), Gene Stallings (A&M 1965-71; Alabama 1990-96) and Dennis Franchione (A&M 2003-07; Alabama 2001-02).

Georgia at Auburn (6 p.m. CT / ESPN2 / Sirius 92 / XM 196)

Georgia leads the South's Oldest Rivalry, 54-53-8 … The teams have played every year since 1944 … Georgia has won seven of the last 10 matchups in the series … a Georgia win would give the Bulldogs the Eastern Division Championship and a berth in the SEC Championship Game … Two former Georgia defensive coordinators are now on Auburn's staff in defensive coordinator Brian VanGorder and secondary coach Willie Martinez … The Bulldog defense ranks third nationally forcing 50 3-and-outs, an average of 5.5 per game … Auburn is 97-139-6 all-time against ranked opponents … Auburn's Onterio McCalebb is just the second player in SEC history to tally more than 2,000 yards rushing (2,469), 1,000 kick return yards (1,246) and 500 receiving yards (528) … Georgia's Todd Gurley is 5th in school history for most rushing yards by a freshman (857) … Auburn has blocked three field goals this season, two by Angelo Blackson and one by Corey Lemonier.

Vanderbilt at Ole Miss (6 p.m. CT / ESPNU / Sirius 136 / XM 200)

Ole Miss leads the series with Vanderbilt, 47-37-2 … In games played in Oxford, the Rebels lead, 22-5 … Ole Miss has won 13 of the last 19 meetings dating back to 1992 … Ole Miss has already surpassed last year's total number of wins, points, touchdowns and yards … Vanderbilt has won its last three games … The last time Vandy have won four in a row was in 2008 … Vanderbilt's four losses this season have come against teams in the current BCS Top 25 – Georgia (5), Florida (6), South Carolina (8) and Northwestern (24) … Ole Miss has scored in 28 of its 30 red zone trips (93.3%), which is tied for fourth-best in the SEC and second in the SEC … Ole Miss is the only SEC team without a turnover in the red zone this year … Sr. RB Zac Stacy is Vanderbilt's career leader in rushing yards (2,754) and touchdowns scored (26) … Jr. WR Jordan Matthews is 7th in the Vandy record books in career receiving yards with 1,814 … Ole Miss is third among SEC teams with 196 first downs (100 rush, 85 pass, 11 penalty).

Mississippi State at LSU (6 p.m. CT / ESPN / Sirius 85 / XM 85)

LSU leads the series with Mississippi State, 69-33-3 … In games played in Baton Rouge, the Tigers lead, 46-18-1 … LSU has won 10 straight in the series and 19 of the last 20 meetings … LSU faces a Top 25 team for the fifth straight game – a first in school history – when State comes to Baton Rouge … Since Oct. 6, LSU has faced then #10/11 Florida, #3 South Carolina, #20/19 Texas A&M, #1 Alabama and #21 Mississippi State … The Miss. State offense has scored 277 points through its first nine games, it most through the first nine contests since the 2000 squad scored 307 points … Bulldog QB Tyler Russell is one of seven QBs nationally with 15-plus passing TDs and three or fewer interceptions this season … LSU's Les Miles is 18-1 in games following a loss … Last time LSU lost back-to-back games under Miles was in 2008 (Ole Miss, Arkansas) … LSU hasn't lost back-to-back games in Tiger Stadium since 2001 (Florida, Ole Miss).