Remembering the Best Season of the 2010s for Every SEC West School

by Mike Ferguson
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Photo courtesy of LSU athletics

The National Championship on Jan. 12 officially wrapped up the decade of the 2010s in college football.

The decade saw the sport undergo numerous conference changes and switch from the BCS formula to the College Football Playoff. There were schools who had dominating runs and others who left much to be desired.

During the decade, teams from the SEC claimed five national championships. All five of those titles were won by teams from the SEC West.

Those titles were won by three different teams. The four others however, also had noteworthy seasons throughout the decade. Here’s the best season of the 2010s for each SEC West school:

Alabama (2015)

Record: 14-1, SEC champions, defeated Clemson in National Championship, 45-40
Final Ranking: No. 1 AP; No. 1 Coaches
Key Players: Derrick Henry, RB; Jonathan Allen, DE; Reggie Ragland, LB
Overview: Alabama won four national championships during the 2010s. Each time, the Crimson Tide had a loss. The 2015 team however, gets the nod. That season, the Crimson Tide bounced back from a loss in the SEC opener to win the next 12 games. Eight of Alabama’s 14 wins came over ranked teams, including five over top-10 teams. In the title game, Alabama held off Clemson in a 45-40 shootout.

Arkansas (2011)

Record: 11-2, beat Kansas State in Cotton Bowl, 29-16
Final Ranking: No. 5 AP; No. 5 Coaches
Key Players: Tyler Wilson, QB; Jarius Wright, WR; Jake Bequette, DE
Overview: Arkansas might have closed the 2010s by going 8-28 over three seasons, but the decade began with a bang. After playing in a BCS bowl in 2010, Arkansas tied a school record for wins in 2011 and finished in the top 5 for the first time since 1977. The Razorbacks’ two losses came to the teams who participated in the BCS National Championship.

Auburn (2010)

Record: 14-0, SEC champions, defeated Oregon in BCS National Championship, 22-19
Final Ranking: No. 1 AP; No. 1 Coaches
Key Players: Cam Newton, QB; Ryan Pugh, C; Nick Fairley, DT
Overview: The first national champion of the 2010s, Heisman Trophy winner Cam Newton and Auburn knocked off six ranked opponents during a perfect season. The Tigers had half of their wins come by one score, including a 22-19 victory over Oregon for the national title. Kicker Wes Byrum kicked a field goal as time expired to lift Auburn to its first title since 1957.

LSU (2019)

Record: 15-0, SEC champions, beat Clemson in National Championship, 42-25
Final Ranking: No. 1 AP; No. 1 Coaches
Key Players: Joe Burrow, QB; Ja’Marr Chase, WR; Grant Delpit, S
Overview: The highest scoring team in college football history, LSU cruised to its first national championship in 12 years. Heisman Trophy winner Joe Burrow threw for an FBS-record 60 touchdowns as the Tigers knocked off seven ranked teams. Each of those teams were ranked in the top 10. Among those wins, only victories over No. 7 Florida and No. 9 Auburn were at home.

Mississippi State (2014)

Record: 10-3, lost to Georgia Tech in Orange Bowl, 49-34
Final Ranking: No. 11 AP; No. 12 Coaches
Key Players: Dak Prescott, QB; Josh Robinson, RB; Preston Smith, DE
Overview: The 2014 season saw Mississippi State ascend to No. 1 for the first time in program history. The Bulldogs won three straight games over top-10 teams during a 9-0 start. Unfortunately, Mississippi State dropped three of its final four games. Still, Mississippi State had its first 10-win season in 15 years and finished with its highest AP ranking since 1940.

Ole Miss (2015)

Record: 10-3, beat Oklahoma State in Sugar Bowl, 48-20
Final Ranking: No. 10 AP; No. 9 Coaches
Key Players: Chad Kelly, QB; Laquon Treadwell, WR; Robert Nkemdiche, DT
Overview: In 2015, Ole Miss enjoyed its first 10-win season since 2003 and first top-10 finish since 1969. The Rebels knocked off five ranked opponents throughout the course of the season and handed eventual national champion Alabama its only loss. Ole Miss blasted Oklahoma State in the Sugar Bowl for its first major bowl victory in 46 years.

Texas A&M (2012)

Record: 11-2, beat Oklahoma in Cotton Bowl, 41-13
Final Ranking: No. 5 AP; No. 5 Coaches
Key Players: Johnny Manziel, QB; Luke Joeckel, T; Damontre Moore, DE
Overview: In its first year as a member of the SEC, Texas A&M recorded its first 10-win season in 14 years and finished in the top 5 for the first time since 1956. Under Kevin Sumlin and with Heisman Trophy winner Johnny Manziel at quarterback, the Aggies knocked off four ranked teams. They also handed eventual national champion Alabama its only loss.

Mike Ferguson is the associate editor for Fifth Quarter. Be sure to follow Mike on Twitter at @MikeWFerguson. Follow all of Mike’s work by liking his Facebook page.

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