The adage goes “Offense sells tickets; defense wins championships.” For the Southeastern Conference, where the past seven national champions reside, the stories always seem to revolve around how teams' defenses outclass any other conference's squad.
This year, offense has taken top billing down south. Texas A&M is proving that the team's proficiency on offense in last year's SEC was not a fluke, averaging almost 70 more yards per game in 2013 than the Aggies did in 2012.
LSU, behind quarterback Zach Mettenberger, is gaining 56 more yards per game and 6.5 more points per game than last year. Even Nick Saban's methodical Alabama is marching down the field slightly better in 2013.
Alabama's offense is churning at the same rate while the defense is allowing about 100 more yards per game compared to the 2012 campaign, but other SEC teams are tightening up on defense.
Florida is giving up 67 less yards on average, and Arkansas is allowing just less than 150 yards less than last year while reducing opponents' scoring by 17 points per game.
The rise of prolific offenses isn't that foreign to the SEC. Even during this streak of national titles, four players have won Heisman Trophies for their performance on offense: Tim Tebow, Cam Newton and Johnny Manziel all won for impressive quarterback play, and Mark Ingram took the honor by dominating as a running back.
The conference has seen a few shootouts already this season, and this upcoming slate of games has potential to provide more. No. 25 Missouri heads to Athens to take on No. 7 Georgia. Mizzou put up 51 points in their first SEC game of the season – though to be fair, it was against Vanderbilt, who is winless in the SEC.
Quarterback Andy Murray and the Bulldogs have been in back-to-back shootouts, beating LSU 44-41 and Tennessee 34-31 in overtime. Georgia is averaging almost 40 points a game and the Tigers are even better, scoring 46.6 a week.
In Fayetteville, No. 14 South Carolina is taking on Arkansas. The Razorbacks are No. 12 in the SEC in both offensive yards a game (391) and points scored a game (26), but despite 476 yards each Saturday, the Gamecocks only average 31 points.
Other SEC games have Kentucky facing No. 1 Alabama in Lexington and Ole Miss hosting No. 9 Texas A&M. Kentucky is trying to break Alabama's three-game streak of not allowing a touchdown. Ole Miss is caught between a rock and a hard place, faced with the task of stopping or outpacing the SEC's leader in total offense to avoid losing a third straight game.
Out-of-conference games feature Western Carolina at Auburn and Bowling Green at Mississippi State.