5 SEC records that could fall this year
Before the ink can dry inside the freshly-printed media guides at the SEC offices in Birmingham, another quarterback breaks a record.
And then another.
Remember when #SECspeed and #SECdefense were popular hashtags in the social media world? With high-powered, tempo-driven offenses, times are changing.
Records are made to break broken during the spread era in college football, evidenced by what’s transpired over the last decade of SEC football. Few thought Tim Tebow’s magical 2007 Heisman season would ever be matched, then came Cam Newton three years later.
After him, it was a redshirt freshman directing a league newcomer in College Station who took down an SEC titan at Bryant-Denny.
This is why we love this game.
As for this season numbers on offense? The league has a considerable talent disparity at the quarterback position, but several individual program marks are in jeopardy and the SEC’s strength within the front seven may lead to a new single-season best in one particular defensive category.
Let’s look at SEC and program records in danger of falling this season …
5.) Total offensive plays (635)
Who holds it: Johnny Manziel, Texas A&M, 2012
Why it’s breakable: If you’re buying into the hype that Auburn’s offense could be the best it has ever been under Gus Malzahn’s teaching with Jeremy Johnson at the helm, is it too much of a stretch to think the Tigers could run more plays than any team in the SEC this season? Last fall, Malzahn’s uptempo attack actually dropped down an octane, but don’t expect that to last. And if Texas A&M’s defense doesn’t improve under John Chavis, quarterback Kyle Allen may find himself in several shootouts during league play leading to a plethora of snaps.
4.) Forced fumbles single season (7)
Who holds it: Jarvis Jones, Georgia, 2012
Why it’s breakable: Sacks didn’t become an official NCAA statistic until 2000 and forced fumble numbers are even more hazy, but according to Sports Reference, Georgia’s Jarvis Jones at least holds the SEC’s most recent calculated figure for forced fumbles in a season. Looking at the league’s monstrous pass rushers heading into August, including but not limited to Myles Garrett, Derek Barnett and Leonard Floyd, I’d say this record’s in serious jeopardy. Alabama linebacker Derrick Thomas’ 27 sacks in a single season feels unbreakable, but forcing eight fumbles over a 13 and sometimes 14-game season, could happen if one of these guys gets hot.
3.) Rushing yards single season (1,891)
Who holds it: Herschel Walker, Georgia, 1981
Why it’s breakable: If there’s a year an SEC running back could challenge Walker’s all-time mark, it’s this fall thanks to at least four ballcarriers who have Heisman odds entering the season. Leonard Fournette and Derrick Henry are the frontrunners over Nick Chubb in my opinion and here’s why: The backfield depth at LSU and Alabama isn’t on the same level as Mark Richt’s current crop of talent in Athens. Fournette has plenty of tread left on his tires as a true sophomore while Henry’s been considered the second option in Tuscaloosa each of his first two years. I’d suspect both backs get more carries — and as a result, more yards — than Chubb, despite Georgia’s sophomore proving, at least thus far, to be more productive than both.
2.) Receiving touchdowns single season (18)
Who holds it: Reidel Anthony, Florida, 1996
Why it’s breakable: Have you seen Texas A&M’s star-studded cast of wide receivers? In his first season in the SEC, transfer Josh Reynolds took the league by storm last fall with 13 trips to the end zone, second only to Biletnikoff winner Amari Cooper. Another player in contention for the crown, and perhaps a more likely choice, would be South Carolina’s Pharoh Cooper. The Gamecocks nearly all of the production off last year’s team at the wide receiver spots behind Cooper, who hogged the field with 69 receptions for 1,136 yards and nine scores. He’s the focal point of an offense this season breaking in a new quarterback and several new starters at wideout. And we haven’t even mentioned potential Top 5 Western Division studs Duke Williams and Laquon Treadwell. The SEC’s loaded at wide receiver this fall.
1.) Mississippi State offensive records (career yards, career TD passes, etc.)
Who holds it: Wayne Madkin, yards (1998-01); Tyler Russell, Pass TDs (2010-13); Anthony Dixon, Rush TDs (2006-09)
Why it’s breakable: If you’re a season-ticket holder at Mississippi State this season, chances are you’re going to see Dak Prescott rewrite the record books as he closes out a brilliant career in Starkville. Prescott could tie or break as many as seven career, single-game or single-season offensive records this fall. He needs two touchdown passes to become the Bulldogs’ all-time leader in that category, 12 rushing touchdowns to step past Dixon and 754 yards through the air to set a new career passing mark. The program’s all-time leader in touchdown responsibility, Prescott needs only 28 total scores to reach triple-digits. Well done, Dak.