While I believe Arkansas has a chance to contend for the SEC championship next season, there’s no question that the Hogs have to get better on defense.
Recent history tells us so.
Of the last 10 SEC champions, only two have been ranked lower than 18th nationally in total defense at season’s end. And the last four SEC champions have all finished in the top 10 nationally in total defense.
The Hogs were 89th nationally a year ago in total defense and were 72nd during Bobby Petrino’s first season in Fayetteville.
It wouldn’t be unprecedented for a team to finish in the lower half nationally in total defense and still win the SEC championship, but it is extremely rare.
In 2001, LSU had the 75th-ranked defense nationally (and was ranked 10th in the SEC), but upset Tennessee 31-20 in the SEC championship game.
In 2000, Florida finished 42nd nationally in total defense, but led the country with 40 forced turnovers and won its sixth SEC championship under Steve Spurrier.
Here’s a look at where the past 10 SEC champions have ranked nationally in total defense:
2009 –- Alabama (2nd)
2008 –- Florida (9th)
2007 –- LSU (3rd)
2006 –- Florida (6th)
2005 –- Georgia (18th)
2004 –- Auburn (5th)
2003 –- LSU (1st)
2002 –- Georgia (15th)
2001 –- LSU (75th)
2000 –- Florida (42nd)