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Defensive Pass Efficiency: The Stat To Watch In The SEC

For years the Southeastern Conference was a run-first league.  Then came Steve Spurrier.  His Fun ‘N’ Gun offense at Florida change all that.  Suddenly it was alright to put a team’s best weapons on offense and fling the ball all over the yard.  Enter quarterbacks like Danny Wuerffel, Peyton Manning, Tim Couch, Eli Manning, and David Greene and the league was transformed.

Now, late in 2012 the most important statistic — aside from turnovers — in the SEC is defensive pass efficiency.  Basically, it’s just “reverse quarterback rating.”  A team’s ability to defend itself against opposing gunslingers is more closely tied to winning and losing than a team’s own ability to move the ball through the air.  In other words, forget pass efficiency and study defensive pass efficiency instead.

Here’s why:


  School   Def. Pass. Eff. Vs SEC   SEC Record
  Florida   88.7   7-1
  Alabama   103.5   6-1
  LSU   105.4   4-2
  Vanderbilt   112.3   4-3
  Texas A&M   122.5   5-2
  S. Carolina   123.5   6-2
  Georgia   125.0   7-1
  Miss. State   140.4   3-3
  Missouri   140.4   2-5
  Ole Miss   145.6   2-4
  Kentucky   154.1   0-7
  Arkansas   154.5   2-4
  Auburn   159.0   0-7
  Tennessee   182.0   0-6


Amazingly, those teams that hold opposing SEC passers below a 140 passing efficiency rating are a combined 50-12 in SEC games this fall (80.6% win pct.).  Those defenses that allow opponents to post pass efficiency numbers of 140 or higher are a combined 9-36 in the SEC this year (25.0% win pct.).

Turnovers are massively important as we’ve pointed out many times, but if you’re looking for another stat to watch that ties directly to SEC wins and losses, defensive pass efficiency is the number to keep an eye on.  Shut down the other guy’s passer and your team will most likely win.

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Saban Not Ready To Pick A Starting Quarterback

Alabama has been slotted in the #2 spot in the AP’s preseason football poll.  Several publications have projected the Tide to finish one slot higher than that come January.

Yet Alabama’s starting quarterback will have limited experience when he takes over in two weeks.  And, more importantly, no one even knows who that starting quarterback will be.

This weekend, Nick Saban said that AJ McCarron and Phillip Sims have played “pretty evenly” during preseason camp.  He also hinted that the quarterback competition isn’t likely to end soon:

“These two guys are probably a couple of the best players on our team.  It’s no out of the question that both have roles on our team in some kind of way.  I know that’s not what everybody wants to hear, but both of those guys have done a good job in what we’ve asked them to do.”

When a team has two completely different types of quarterbacks — David Greene and DJ Shockley, Chris Leak and Tim Tebow — it’s possible to have great success with some sort of QB rotation.

But McCarron and Sims are similar.  “We’re both pocket passers,” Sims told The Dothan Eagle.

With that being the case, we’ll simply toss out that old, old adage one more time: “Show me a team with two good quarterbacks and I’ll show you a team with no great quarterback.”

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