Yeah, if you could've stopped this series after the third installment, Vol fans would've loved you eternally.
All week long, we at MrSEC.com have been trying to use data, some real numbers to determine which SEC football programs are currently best… and worst. For an overview of this project, you can click right here. You’ll find — among other things — that we are ranking all 14 schools in four categories: Recruiting Base, Tradition, Campus Life and Recent History.
Under each of those four umbrella categories there are 20 sub-categories.
Part 1 of our series — Recruiting Base — can be found here.
Part 2 of our series — Tradition — can be found here.
Part 3 of our series — Campus Life — can be found here.
In this space, we look at the most important aspect of a program: Recent History. The memories of today’s recruits can only go back so far. So what a program has accomplished in the last decade is incredibly important. Because of that, there are more sub-categories in this section.
As part of Recent History, we’ve included stadium size as a representation of a school’s current facilities. Typically, the bigger the stadium from a capacity standpoint, the better the football complex and practice fields on a specific campus. So that’s where we’ll start today.
Using the 2013 SEC Football Media Guide and the data provided by the schools, below is a listing of each school’s stadium size. We use only a school’s main stadium, meaning a program like Arkansas’ grade comes from the facility in Fayetteville, not Little Rock. Let’s get started:
Recent History: Stadium Size
There is a pretty clear division between the SEC’s traditional haves and have-nots. The six “power” programs that were split evenly across two divisions when the league expanded in 1992 — Alabama, Auburn, Florida, Georgia, LSU and Tennessee — all have stadiums seating at least 87,000.
SEC additions Texas A&M and South Carolina have stadiums with capacities over 80,000. No other SEC schools top that mark.
The smallest facilities — currently — belong to Ole Miss, Mississippi State and Vanderbilt. MSU is currently involved in a stadium expansion project that will eventually give the Bulldogs a slight boost in this category.
Now we will look at each school’s win total over the past decade. We have included the actual gameday records for all of the schools. Vacated wins have not been deducted because today’s recruits would still remember those games as they happened. In Alabama’s case, for example, we don’t think recruits would pay much attention to the fact that the school had to surrender some wins in the record book due to a scandal involving text books.
With that said, here are the win totals for the last 10 years:
Recent History: Wins Over Last 10 Years (2003-2012)
LSU leads the way in victories. In fact the Tigers are the only SEC program to top the 100-victory plateau.
Ole Miss, Kentucky, Mississippi State and Vanderbilt bring up the rear.
Next we’ll look at recent conference championships. Below is a breakdown of conference title winners for the past decade:
Recent History: Conference Championships Over Last 10 Years (2003-2012)
Once again, LSU is the leader. In this instance, the Tigers have won three titles in the last decade. The remaining SEC crowns were secured by Alabama, Auburn, Florida and Georgia.
In case you’re wondering, SEC newcomers Texas A&M and Missouri did not win Big 12 championships over the past decade, thus the zeroes beneath their names.
Next, we breakdown the national championships won by current SEC members. Again, we focus only on the past decade:
Recent History: National Championships Over Last 10 Years (2003-2012)
As you can see, the SEC has collected eight national titles over the past 10 years. Three of those were captured by Alabama. Florida and LSU each have two and Auburn has one.
Some will point out that we’ve already included these championships (as well as the conference championships and total wins listed above) in our project under different category headings. We have. We have counted all-time wins and all-time championships under the Tradition category and we’ve included these most recent wins and titles here. While schools will push their tradition to recruits, recent history — what recruits have seen with their own eyes — has even more value. For that reason these sub-categories are, in effect, scored twice in our system.
Up next, we look at each SEC school’s recent bowl participation. This is a simple listing of the number of bowl invitations received by each member program over the last decade:
Recent History: Bowl Appearances Over Last 10 Years (Postseason 2003-Postseason 2012)
LSU (again), Florida and Georgia are your leaders in this area. Each has gone bowling in every postseason for the past decade.
And once again, Mississippi State, Ole Miss and Vanderbilt rank at or near the bottom of the list.
The next category is short and sweet. Below we show you how many Heisman Trophies each school has won over the last 10 years:
Recent History: Heisman Trophy Winners Over Last 10 Years (2003-2012)
Alabama, Auburn, Florida and Texas A&M are the only league schools to score in this sub-category.
We now turn our attention to a topic that’s extremely important among today’s recruits — “Can your program get me to the NFL?” Below is a listing of the total number of drafted players from each school over the past decade:
Recent History: NFL Draft Picks Over Last 10 Years (2003-2012)
First-place goes to LSU in this category, as well. The Tigers have averaged six NFL draft picks per season since 2003, more than any other SEC program. Georgia, Alabama and Florida rank second, third and fourth in this area.
The bottom four should look familiar: Ole Miss, Mississippi State, Kentucky and Vanderbilt.
SEC newbies Missouri (21) and Texas A&M (24) score rather poorly in this area as well.
Finally, we look only at the first-round draft picks produced by each school. Ultimately, becoming a first-rounder is the goal of darn near every high school football player who signs with an SEC school. With media coverage of the NFL draft at an all-time high, those players considered first-round possibilities are shown and mentioned repeatedly on ESPN and the NFL Network leading up to the draft. That’s additional exposure for those players’ schools as well.
Below is a listing of the total number of first-rounders produced by SEC schools over the most recent decade:
Recent History: 1st Round NFL Draft Picks Over Last 10 Years (2004-2013)
There’s no shock here as Alabama and LSU lead the way with 14 first-rounds each. Florida, Georgia and Tennessee round out the top five.
Texas A&M, Mississippi State and Vanderbilt find themselves near the bottom of the list, but Kentucky — with zero first-round selections since the ’04 draft — sits in the basement alone.
With that, we’ve now shown you all four categories and the 20 sub-categories we’ve examined in our effort to rank the SEC’s football programs from best to worst. Later today, we’ll show you our scoring method and provide you with our final rankings from #1 all the way to #14.
Please stand by…