Bored in the house? 7 random facts I've learned about the SEC
I grew up in North Carolina. The college teams played football, just not well enough to spark a real interest in the game or its history. We’re basketball people.
I’ve been at Saturday Down South for 5+ years — longer than 10 SEC coaches — but there’s still plenty I don’t know about the league. Names, numbers, oddities, historic moments in rivalries, etc.
Learning is fun. And with more time than usual this spring, I’ve scanned through the SEC record book, media guides and NFL Draft database in search of odd nuggets. Here are 7 completely random facts I’ve learned that you might not know.
1. Nick Fitzgerald has more career rushing yards than every Alabama running back
That, alone, is surprising. But Fitzgerald isn’t even Mississippi State’s career rushing leader.
So Mississippi State’s No. 2 career rusher — who is a quarterback — has more yards than Derrick Henry, Trent Richardson, Mark Ingram, etc., etc.
Fitzgerald actually would be the leading rusher at 3 SEC programs.
That bet will win you a few Snake Handler DIPAs at Good People Brewing.
2. South Carolina doesn’t have a 3,000-yard rusher in the SEC
George Rogers set the program record with 5,204 yards, but South Carolina was an independent. Rogers’ total is only 55 behind SEC career leader Herschel Walker’s magic number of 5,259. (Rogers played 1 more year, but Herschel still had 40 more career carries.)
Brandon Bennett is 2nd on the Gamecocks’ career list with 3,055 yards, but 700 of those yards came as a freshman, the season before they joined the SEC.
Marcus Lattimore is the Gamecocks’ leading rusher as an SEC member. He finished with 2,677 yards.
3. Auburn has never had 3 consecutive 10-win seasons
Frankly, this was a bit stunning, considering the Tigers have won national titles and produced Heisman Trophy winners.
4. Alabama and Florida are the only SEC programs to post at least 5 consecutive 10-win seasons
Georgia hasn’t done it. Neither has LSU or Tennessee or Texas A&M. Their longest streak stopped at 4.
5. In 2020, Nick Saban can match Bear Bryan for most 10-win seasons at Alabama
I know, I know, they play more games now.
Bryant won 10 games 13 times at Alabama. His longest double-digit streak was 5 consecutive years.
Saban has won at least 10 games for 12 consecutive seasons.
As for the game discrepancy? Bear lost 3 or more games 6 times. Saban has only lost 3 or more games twice.
(Whispers: So it isn’t simply a matter of Saban having more games.)
6. Steve Spurrier has the longest 10-win streaks at 2 schools
Florida had never enjoyed a 10-win season until Spurrier arrived in 1990. He matched the program record with 9 wins in Year 1. He broke the program record with 10 wins in Year 2.
He then reeled off 6 consecutive 10-win seasons from 1993-98.
Later, Spurrier had 3 consecutive 10-win seasons at South Carolina, a program that has just 4 10-win seasons in its history.
7. Chase Daniel should be the posterboy for “It Just Means More”
That’s the SEC slogan, of course.
And Daniel left Missouri 3 years before the Tigers joined the SEC. Therefore, there is no real reason for SEC fans to know who Daniel is. He was a prolific Big 12 QB in a league full of prolific QBs. He finished 4th in the 2007 Heisman race, which I didn’t know. (Tim Tebow won that year, which we all know.)
Daniel has had an amazing journey, but did you know he made $34.3M as a backup QB in the past 11 seasons? I didn’t. This caught my attention when he recently signed a 3-year deal with the Lions worth a guaranteed $13 million.
If you’re keeping score, after the 2022 season, the undrafted free agent will have earned more than $47 million in his career.
He has thrown 7 career TD passes — and 6 of those came in the past 2 seasons.
Not including future earnings, that equates to about $5M per TD pass. Which is why we are grandfathering him in as the SEC’s new posterboy.
Just for fun, here’s how much a few notable SEC QBs would have made at Daniel’s rate, which technically is $4.9 million per TD.
Two takeaways: It must be nice to be a backup. And Peyton Manning was a heck of a bargain.