SEC West Dominance Impressive, Unprecedented

This is the 19th year that the SEC has been divided into Eastern and Western Divisions, and for the first 18 years, the competition between the two sides has been pretty consistent. But not this year.

The SEC West takes a 14-2 record into this final weekend of East/West games with Ole Miss at Tennessee and Auburn hosting Georgia. Even if the Eastern team wins each of those games, this will be the most one-sided year in the history of SEC Divisional play.

Remarkably, Vanderbilt has one of the two Eastern Division wins with its victory over Ole Miss in September. South Carolina toppled Alabama on October 9 and that's it. The Gators did their part to contribute to the humiliation by dropping its three inter-divisional games to Alabama, LSU and Mississippi State.

Historically very competitive --- Over the previous 18 years, the Western Division enjoyed a slight edge on the East, winning 167, losing 156 with one tie. The best year for the West was 1994 when it posted a 12-6 record. The West won 11-of-18 games in three other seasons: 1993, 2003 and last year. The SEC East has twice been able to win 11 games against its Western rivals, posting 11-7 records in 2008 and 1998.

For the purpose of this analysis, I ignored Alabama's forfeiture of three wins over Eastern teams in 1993 and counted them as wins. If you switch those results around, the Western edge is even smaller (164-159-1).

The SEC East does get a measure of pride back when you look at the SEC Championship Game where the East has 11 titles and the West just seven. The Gators (7-3) are primarily responsible for that edge with Georgia (2-1) and Tennessee (2-3) splitting the eight games Florida did not play in.

Turning it around --- Obviously, the SEC East would like to get this thing back on an even keel ASAP and it just might happen. Ole Miss and Alabama will be replacing starting QBs next season and it seems likely that Auburn and Arkansas will be as well. In the East, however, only Kentucky starts a senior and there's little to no chance anyone will be leaving for the NFL from other schools. Veteran signal callers are often the key to success for many college teams. The SEC East should have a significant advantage in that regard in 2011. If so, perhaps the embarrassment of the 2010 season will soon be forgotten.


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