A little bit of this and a little bit of that as we point toward Week 10 in the SEC:
Over the last 40 years, the Alabama-LSU series has been dominated by the road team. Alabama is an impressive 16-3-1 in Baton Rouge during this stretch, and to make matters worse for the Tigers, two of their three wins came when Nick Saban was LSU’s head coach.
LSU, coming off a loss to Auburn in its most recent game, has lost consecutive games only once under Les Miles. The Tigers are 14-1 after a loss under Miles.
During the last two seasons, LSU is 16-5 (.762) despite averaging just 309.7 yards per game. That ranks 110th nationally over that span. The 10 teams that are worse -- Army, Eastern Michigan, Vanderbilt, Ball State, New Mexico, Washington State, Wyoming, San Jose State, Akron and New Mexico State -- have a combined record of 42-166 (.202).
Last year’s Heisman Trophy winner, Alabama's Mark Ingram, missed the first two games of the season with a knee injury, looked outstanding in the next two games (154 rush yards per game), but has been held in check ever since. Ingram has been under 90 yards rushing in each of the last four games, although he’s averaged only 13 carries during that span.
LSU’s passing game has been awful on third down this season, mustering a pass efficiency rating of only 87.5, which ranks 112th in the FBS. LSU must avoid third-down passing situations against an Alabama defense that has been great on third down this season, ranking third in the nation with a rating of 75.1.
Auburn’s Cam Newton added a new wrinkle last week when he caught a touchdown pass against Ole Miss. He has now accounted for 30 touchdowns this season. There are 67 FBS teams that haven’t scored 30 touchdowns this season, including LSU, Tennessee, Texas, Penn State and Notre Dame.
Oregon’s LaMichael James and Newton are tied for the lead nationally in rushing touchdowns this season, each with 14. Mississippi State’s Vick Ballard isn’t far behind, tied for third in the nation with 13 rushing touchdowns.
The SEC has four of the nation’s top eight quarterbacks in pass efficiency rating. Newton is third with a 172.61 passer rating, South Carolina’s Stephen Garcia fifth at 167.95, Arkansas’ Ryan Mallett seventh at 163.37 and Alabama’s Greg McElroy eighth at 163.35. Boise State’s Kellen Moore leads the nation with a 188.30 passer rating.
Of the four teams in college football with the best overall record since 2008, Alabama is the only one from a BCS conference. Boise State leads the way at 33-1 (.971). Alabama is second at 33-3 (.917). TCU third at 32-3 (.914) and Utah fourth at 31-3 (.912).
Alabama has lost just four turnovers in five games against SEC opponents, which leads the league. Vanderbilt is second, losing just five turnovers in five SEC games.
Tennessee is 118th (out of 120 teams) nationally in red zone offense. The Vols have scored 14 out of 21 times when they’ve moved inside the 20-yard line, and only nine of those scores have been touchdowns.
South Carolina can clinch its first Eastern Division title in school history with a win over Arkansas and a Florida loss at Vanderbilt. If Florida wins Saturday, then the East winner will be decided next week as the Gators host South Carolina. In South Carolina’s history, it has won only one conference title, coming in 1969 as a member of the ACC.
South Carolina has won six straight and 13 of its last 14 home games.
Arkansas is second in the nation in passing offense, averaging 360.3 yards per game. Meanwhile, South Carolina is 105th in the nation in pass defense, allowing nearly 260 yards per game.
Arkansas’ Ryan Mallett has 21 pass completions that have gone for 30 or more yards this season, which is tied with Baylor’s Robert Griffin for tops in the nation. Over the last two seasons, no quarterback has hit more long passes than Mallett, who has 53 passes of 30 yards or more since 2009. San Diego State’s Ryan Lindley is second with 41.