The SEC West's dominance has become too boring
The SEC has become as predictable as crimson flooding Tuscaloosa in the fall.
Don’t get me wrong, each season offers personality. We wear our colors and watch with anticipation each week. We trade barbs with rivals over beers and bandwidth online. We can’t wait to see how a delightful, dramatic story unfolds as the fall months pass, with each Saturday serving as a soap opera.
Still, the ending has become too familiar.
For crying out loud, can someone other than the SEC West champion win the conference for once?
Better yet, can someone outside the state of Alabama rise up and offer the SEC crown a new home?
This is too boring. The SEC West champion has claimed the conference title in each of the past seven seasons. Alabama has danced in confetti in Atlanta four times in the span, Auburn twice and LSU once.
Someone find an extra year of eligibility for Tim Tebow, stat!
Yes, we live in Sir Saban’s kingdom. Alabama’s run since 2009 has been stunning. It’s not the Crimson Tide’s fault that others have failed to place tar on the tracks of their dynasty. It’s not the Crimson Tide’s fault that the SEC East has become the little kids’ table since Urban Meyer bolted from Gainesville. At least Auburn offered a break from the monotony in 2010 and 2013. LSU did the same in 2011.
But there’s something about the Crimson Tide’s reign of pain and the West’s overall dominance that makes the SEC seem stale. The conference aches for an influx of new flavor.
Specifically, SEC East programs must be stronger. Believe it or not, the SEC West champion has outscored the SEC East champion 292-138 in the past seven years. Only one SEC title game in the span has been decided by fewer than 14 points, Alabama’s 32-28 victory over Georgia in 2012. That’s crazy.
There have been some recent doozies at the Georgia Dome worthy of a wood chipper. How about Auburn’s 56-17 laugher over South Carolina in 2010? Or what about LSU’s 42-10 steam-roll job of Georgia in 2011? Or what about Alabama’s 42-13 spanking of Missouri in 2014?
The SEC has become too top-heavy with a large tilt toward the West. The faster things change, the better.
Perhaps help is on the way. Tennessee appears on the brink of making noise under Butch Jones. Florida looks to have snapped out of its Will Muschamp malaise after going 10-4 last year in its first season under Jim McElwain. Georgia should find footing under Kirby Smart in short order.
Here’s hoping more power shifts to Knoxville, Gainesville, Athens and other starved SEC East locations. Here’s hoping others can enjoy a taste of the ridiculous bounty that has been mostly contained to the state of Alabama since 2009.
Good grief, it’s about time.
There’s something to be said for variety. The Big Ten hasn’t had anyone win the conference in consecutive seasons since Wisconsin did so in 2011 and 2012. And it would be silly to argue that Clemson winning the ACC last year was bad for the league after Florida State claimed the previous three titles.
Understand that the SEC West’s depth beyond Alabama in recent seasons has been fun to follow. Auburn, Ole Miss, Mississippi State, Texas A&M and LSU all have wrestled their way into the national conversation at various moments.
It’s beyond time more SEC East programs do the same. Other than Georgia in 2012 and Missouri in 2013, none of the SEC East champions throughout the past six years were ranked in the AP poll’s top 5 leading into the conference title game. The division has lived in the West’s shadow for too long.
The SEC East must be better and create a championship memory of its own. The conference as a whole would benefit from a larger power base.
Here’s to a more competitive season ahead in which the SEC East punches back with more muscle.
Perhaps then a different ending will be written at last.