As SEC point totals have shot higher and higher this year, we’ve routinely monitored the decline in Southeastern Conference defenses and reported back to you our findings. We’re set to do so again. Try these facts on for size:
* In 2012, six SEC defenses allowed fewer than 20 points per game (Alabama, Florida, LSU, South Carolina, Vanderbilt and Georgia). This season, only two teams are holding teams to under 20 points (Alabama and Florida).
* In 2013, SEC defenses allowed a grand total of 512 touchdowns. Those same teams have allowed 356 TDs in 2013 with four more weeks of regular-season football, the SEC Championship Game and the bowl season yet to be played.
* Five SEC defenses ranked among the nation’s top 20 in total defense a year ago. Six were in the top 20 in 2011, including five in the top eight nationally. But just two SEC defenses (Alabama and Florida) rank inside the top 20 this season.
* In 2012, five SEC defenses allowed fewer than 200 yards per game through the air (Alabama, Georgia, Florida, Vanderbilt and South Carolina). In 2013, only Alabama and Florida can make that boast.
* In 2012, Alabama and Florida allowed fewer than 100 yards rushing per game. In 2011, Alabama and LSU turned that trick. This year, not one SEC squad can make that claim.
Most of you get the picture by now. But for those doubters out there, look no further than this weekend’s Alabama/LSU game. Whether it’s sports gambling in Las Vegas or sports betting online, this year’s Tide/Tigers matchup is expected to be a high-scoring affair.
The over/under for this year’s showdown opened at 54 and is currently at 55.
What’s interesting about this high over/under line is just how far off it is from the total points scored by these same rivals the last time they met in Tuscaloosa. In November of 2011, LSU won an all-field-goals overtime slugfest by the laughably low score of 9-6. Just two years later the over/under line is whopping 40 points higher.
A 29-26 win would be a push. Even last year’s game finished with a relatively low total of 38 as Alabama best LSU in Baton Rouge, 21-17. Now the over/under is a full 17 points higher than that total.
There’s just no way around it at this point, folks. SEC defenses — as well as the reputation of SEC defenses — ain’t what they used to be.