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The old adage says that you have to be able to run the football and stop the run to win in the SEC.

But that was before Steve Spurrier entered the league and made passing King.  Before the Mannings and David Cutcliffe.  Before Tim Couch and Hal Mumme. 
Okay, they didn’t win much, but they still won.

Well I wanted to see what elements of football really had the greatest impact on winning in the Southeastern Conference:  rushing, stopping the rush, passing or stopping the pass.

With that, I dug into last year’s statistics from across the conference and compared the situational stats to the bottom-line wins and losses.

You know what I found?

In the SEC, to win football games…

you now have to…

run the football and stop the run.

The song remains the same, folks.

Here’s how I arrived at that conclusion:

1)  Only SEC games were counted.

2)  I tallied the rushing yards per attempt, passing yards per attempt, rushing yards allowed per attempt, and passing yards allowed per attempt.

3)  I compared the records of the top four teams in each category to the records of the remaining eight teams in each category.

Here’s the raw data (and let me apologize for not having proper tab fields set up in the posting tool… these lines look as wobbly as I do on a Friday night):

SEC Records In 2007
LSU             7-2
Georgia        6-2
Tennessee    6-3
Florida         5-3
Auburn        5-3
Arkansas      4-4
Miss. State   4-4
Alabama      4-4
S. Carolina   3-5
Kentucky     3-5
Vanderbilt    2-6
Ole Miss      0-8

Rushing Yards Per Attempt
Arkansas     5.96
Florida        5.34
LSU           4.89
Georgia      4.52
Tennessee   4.23
Kentucky    4.16
Ole Miss     4.16
Alabama     3.95
Auburn       3.75
Vanderbilt   3.74
S. Carolina  3.57
Miss. State   3.51

Passing Yards Per Attempt
Florida        9.25
LSU           7.13
Kentucky    7.08
Georgia      7.06
S. Carolina  6.99
Tennessee   6.88
Arkansas     6.78
Ole Miss     6.57
Auburn       6.50
Alabama     6.18
Vanderbilt   5.96
Miss. State  5.58

Rushing Yards Allowed Per Attempt
Florida        3.03
LSU           3.20
Georgia      3.25
Alabama     3.43
Auburn       3.58
Vanderbilt   3.73
Miss. State   4.11
Arkansas     4.14
Tennessee   4.22
Kentucky    4.57
Ole Miss     4.69
S. Carolina  4.84

Passing Yards Allowed Per Attempt
Arkansas     5.51
Auburn        5.58
S. Carolina  5.65
LSU            5.67
Miss. State   5.87
Kentucky     6.21
Vanderbilt    6.44
Georgia       6.46
Alabama     6.72
Ole Miss     6.79
Tennessee   6.80
Florida        7.21

Okay, so those are the raw digits.  Let’s look at what’s a good number, and a bad number for each category. 

This is an attempt to find a


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