Jim Donnan, in the aforementioned Finebaum interview, believes the East is on the upswing, in significant part because of improved quarterback play. Maybe he’s even right about that, but I’m in a wait and see mode.
That being said, what may level things out more is that the West appears to be in something of a decline. Take a look at this divisional power poll from Roll ‘Bama Roll. There don’t appear to be many strong defensive teams in the West this season (the line about Nick Fitzgerald throwing four interceptions in MSU’s spring game against a Todd Grantham secondary probably deserves an Envy and Jealousy post). I wonder if the shift of several teams in that division to spread attacks — admittedly, to varying degrees — has contributed to a decline on the other side of the ball.
I’m not sure how this all shakes out, to be truthful. Other than 2017 likely being a rerun of 2016’s Alabama and the Thirteen Dwarfs, that is.