Is the SEC catching up to Gus Malzahn?

When Gus Malzahn was brought in to coordinate an Auburn offense that had been sub-par for 4 straight seasons, many fans had visions of the Auburn Tigers finally fielding a competent offense. At the aggregate level, Malzahn succeeded in 2009. The Tigers went from having the 9th best offense in the SEC (SDPI ranking) to the 3rd best. Overall, they went from averaging 302 yards and 17.3 points per game (both figures ranked below 100 nationally) to averaging 432 yards and 33.3 points per game (both figures ranked in the top-20 nationally). However, a keener investigation may reveal that SEC defenses caught up to Malzahn’s pedal to the metal attack. In their first 2 conference games, Auburn faced Mississippi State and Tennessee. The Tigers averaged 524 yards in those 2 games (breaking 400 both times) at a robust 6.3 yards per play. Not surprisingly, the Tigers won both those games.