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The Pac-12 vs. the SEC

Oregon and Auburn squared off the national championship last season. Photo by Kirby Lee-US PRESSWIRE

EDITOR’S NOTE: This is the sixth installment of our 24 Hours of Arizona Football Blogging — one post at the top of every hour. Keep checking back at TucsonCitizen.com through Friday at 11 a.m. or follow the entire series with the “24 hours of blogging” tag.

Oregon vs. LSU is the premier game of the glorious first week (aren’t they all?) of college football, picking up where last season left off.

The SEC vs. the Pac-10 … or, as we should say now, the Pac-12.

The conferences don’t often play against each other, magnifying the bragging rights for each such matchup. Last season’s BCS national championship game between Auburn and Oregon was the first time the leagues had played in the postseason since the 1989 Freedom Bowl.

Starting with the 2000 season — isn’t that a large enough sample size? — there have been a smattering of regular-season meetings, including five pitting ranked teams against each other (plus the BCS title game).

The biggest regular-season game, by the rankings: No. 8 USC at No. 6 Auburn to start the 2003 season. The Trojans won 23-0 and went on to win the AP national championship.

This week’s game is bigger: Oregon is ranked third, LSU is fourth.

Who has fared better in the head-to-head matchups between the leagues?

Probably to the surprise of those in the South, the correct answer is the Pac-12.

There has been a disconnect between perception and reality when it comes to the two leagues. They have met 22 times since 2000, with the Pac-12 winning 12 of them.

Let’s look deeper.

The SEC was favored to win 13 of those 22 games … but won only nine times as the favorite.

Overall, the Pac-12 is 14-6-2 against the spread in its last 22 games against the SEC.

Head-to-head or against the spread, the Pac-10 comes out ahead.

Here is the breakdown of those 22 games:

Year Matchup Result Spread
2000 No. 3 Alabama at UCLA UCLA, 35-24 Alabama by 7
2001 No. 17 UCLA at No. 25 Alabama UCLA, 20-17 Alabama by 2
2002 Auburn at No. 19 USC USC, 24-17 USC by 7
2002 Mississippi State at No. 15 Oregon Oregon, 36-13 Oregon by 13
2003 No. 13 LSU at Arizona LSU, 59-13 LSU by 11
2003 No. 8 USC at No. 6 Auburn USC, 23-0 Auburn by 3
2003 Oregon at Mississippi State Oregon, 42-34 Oregon by 3
2004 Oregon State at No. 4 LSU LSU, 22-21, OT LSU by 18
2005 No. 5 LSU at No. 15 Arizona State LSU, 35-31 ASU by 1
2005 Arkansas at No. 1 USC USC 70-17 USC by 30
2006 Arizona at No. 8 LSU LSU, 45-3 LSU by 15
2006 No. 9 Cal at No. 23 Tennessee Tennessee, 35-18 Cal by 2
2006 No. 6 USC at Arkansas USC, 50-14 USC by 7
2006 Washington State at No. 4 Auburn Auburn, 40-14 Auburn by 14
2007 No. 15 Tennessee at No. 12 Cal Cal, 45-31 Cal by 6
2008 No. 18 Tennessee at UCLA UCLA, 27-24 (OT) Tennessee by 7.5
2008 No. 3 Georgia at Arizona State Georgia, 27-10 Georgia by 7
2009 No. 11 LSU at Washington LSU, 31-23 LSU by 17.5
2009 UCLA at Tennessee UCLA, 19-15 Tennessee by 8
2009 Arizona State at No. 21 Georgia Georgia, 20-17 Georgia by 7
2010 No. 7 Oregon at Tennessee Oregon, 48-13 Oregon by 10.5
2011 No. 2 Oregon vs. No. 1 Auburn Auburn, 22-19 Auburn by 3
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