After those Tennessee and Vanderbilt wins, you couldn’t turn to a media site covering college football without tripping over some resident pundit’s proclamation that we were witnessing the remaking of the order of the SEC. Even Mike Slive chirped in about that.
So how did the new kidz do this week? Welp, the Commodores traveled to College Station, went +2 in turnover margin, recovered an onside kick (and dodged a bullet on a successive onside kick that went out-of-bounds), forced turnovers on four straight possessions by a Texas A&M team that started a Johnny Manziel who obviously wasn’t 100% healthy… and lost by 32. Tennessee looked outclassed literally from the opening kickoff in this year’s version of the third Saturday in October (who was that red team?). Same old, same old, in other words.
The reality is that this story was way overblown. There is some newfound parity in the West, but it’s at the margins. TAMU isn’t as good this year because its defense has taken a step back. Auburn is the most improved team in the conference because Gene Chizik turned out to be the head coach we all thought he was when he came from Iowa State. And Hugh Freeze with that excellent recruiting class has given Ole Miss a puncher’s chance in every game it plays. But the big picture hasn’t changed. LSU is the LSU we expect under Les – great when they put their minds to it. Alabama is just great, period.
The story in the East isn’t that there’s a new sheriff or two in town. It’s that two of the old sheriffs got the crap beat out of them in a bar fight and are in recovery mode. You’d think everyone would have figured out that health is the name of the game in this division after watching Missouri’s return behind a healthy, experienced group this season. If every team in the East were as healthy as the Tigers, does anyone honestly think the division would look like this today?