How have SEC teams fared vs. No. 1-ranked opponents all-time?
How have SEC teams done against the best of the best throughout history?
One way to look at it is to see the schools’ marks against teams ranked No. 1 in the AP Poll. The longest-running poll that still awards national titles at the end of the season, the Associated Press Poll has been around since 1936.
Each SEC school has only gotten a few cracks at the top team in the land over that 80-year stretch. Here’s how they’ve fared in those games, sorted by winning percentage.
|SCHOOL||GAMES vs. AP No. 1||W-L||Win pct|
Not surprisingly, Alabama leads in winning percentage, but it is surprising to see just how comfortably they lead in this department considering no other school is even close to .500.
Under Nick Saban, the Crimson Tide are an astounding 5-1 against the top-ranked teams. The only loss came to LSU in 2011 before the team avenged that loss later in the season with a 21-0 win over the Tigers to win the national title.
Arkansas is tied with Auburn for the second-most wins vs. top-ranked teams. The Razorbacks’ last taste of victory came in a 50-48 triple-overtime win over LSU in 2007. That’s the same season Kentucky enjoyed its last, also a triple-overtime win over the Bayou Bengals.
Rival Auburn is next-best with a 4-9 record. Two of those wins have come since the turn of the century with the Tigers beating Florida 23-20 in 2001, and then the Kick Six victory over Alabama in 2013.
Florida started out 0-4 in those games before breaking through with an emphatic 52-20 win over rival Florida State for its first national championship in 1996.
Georgia‘s only win came against the Gators in 1985 by way of a 24-3 win. Vince Dooley led the Bulldogs to the win over the previously unbeaten Gators, who had picked up wins over Miami, No. 8 LSU, No. 14 Tennessee and No. 6 Auburn entering that contest.
Kentucky has notched three wins, the last coming against LSU in that aforementioned 43-37 triple-overtime win over Les Miles’ team in 2007. That game saw the Wildcats stop the Tigers on a fourth-and-2 to seal the win.
Speaking of that LSU team, the last victory for the school came that same season against Ohio State to win the national championship.
Mississippi State‘s lone win came in a 6-3 slugfest with Alabama in 1980 under second-year head coach Emory Bellard, who guided the Bulldogs to a nine-win season, the most for the school until 1999.
Missouri has yet to snag a win and holds the dubious distinction of having the most losses (14) without a win among the SEC’s current members. Mizzou has played two AP No. 1 teams since joining the league, and both were blowout losses to Alabama in 2012 and 2014.
Ole Miss is one of three SEC teams without a win in this category. However, it’s worth noting the Rebels have recorded victories over a No. 2 Alabama in 2015 as well as a No. 3 Alabama and No. 4 Mississippi State in 2014.
South Carolina fans surely remember their school’s only win over a No. 1 team. That came in 2010, the season that saw Stephen Garcia, Marcus Lattimore and the rest of Steve Spurrier’s Gamecocks take down Alabama 35-21 on the way to the program’s only SEC East title.
Tennessee has a couple wins under its belt, but it’s been a long time since the last. Coincidentally, the Vols’ last win came the same season Georgia got its last win. Johnny Majors’ unranked UT squad took down Auburn 38-20 in 1985. The Vols would go on to beat a loaded No. 2 Miami team in the Sugar Bowl. Tennessee, led by QB Daryl Dickey, took down Vinny Testaverde, Michael Irvin and the Hurricanes 35-7.
Likewise, Texas A&M has a pair of wins, but those have come more recently. Both of the Aggies’ victories have come since the turn of the century: 2002 vs. Oklahoma (30-26) and 2012 vs. Alabama (29-24).
Vanderbilt is 0-7 all-time. The Commodores actually haven’t played an AP No. 1 team since losing 27-3 at Florida in 2009 during a stretch of back-to-back two-win seasons for the Commodores.