Records were set by a few schools in the SEC in the fall of 2016. No, we’re not talking about the gridiron. We’re talking about enrollment. The SEC is growing.

Four SEC schools set enrollment records at the start of the current school year. According to each school’s website, Alabama, Arkansas, Mississippi State and Texas A&M set records for enrollment last fall.

How does that translate to the football field? Well, there are a couple of ways to look at it. A good football program does have its advantages when it comes to attracting students. However, bigger isn’t always better when it comes to results on the football field.

SEC schools by enrollment

  1. Texas A&M (66,426)
  2. Florida (49,827)
  3. Alabama (37,665)
  4. Georgia (36,574)
  5. South Carolina (33,575)
  6. Missouri (33,266)
  7. LSU (31,414)
  8. Kentucky (29,727)
  9. Auburn (28,290)
  10. Tennessee (28,052)
  11. Arkansas (27,194)
  12. Ole Miss (24,248)
  13. Mississippi State (21,622)
  14. Vanderbilt (11,834)

Nearly every school in the SEC reported increases in enrollment. Only Missouri, Tennessee and Vanderbilt saw decreases.

If bigger is better, then Texas A&M would reign in the SEC. They have more students than the two Mississippi schools plus Vanderbilt put together. There are over 16,000 more Aggies than Florida Gators, the next closest school by enrollment.

Maybe bigger is better? Florid and Alabama rank No. 2 and 3 in enrollment. Those football programs have advanced to the last two SEC championship games. So what’s Texas A&M’s excuse?

But Tennessee is way down the list in enrollment figures at No. 10, and Ole Miss is even farther down the list at No. 12, yet both have competed over the past few years for the top spot in their respective divisions.

Auburn is way down at No. 9 and it has a national championship and another title game appearance under its belt in this decade.

So, yes, the SEC is growing, and thus expanding its already huge fan base, if enrollment figures are any indication. And that’s a good thing.