A decade of inferiority

As I mentioned in my last Power Poll post, the SEC East has won the 2018 season series against the West.  Care to guess how long the drought was?

8 Victories for SEC East teams in 13 games against SEC West teams in 2018, giving the Eastern Division a win in the conference’s interdivision series for the first time since 2008. Vanderbilt’s 36-29 overtime victory against Ole Miss on Saturday clinched the 2018 series for the East. Only one interdivision game remains on the regular-season schedule — the Arkansas-Missouri contest on Friday. In 2008, the SEC East had an 11-7 record against the SEC West. Last season, the East won only three of the 14 interdivision games in the regular season. The West won the interdivision series 9-5 in 2016, 12-2 in 2015 and 10-4 in 2014 and 2013. The divisions split the 14 games in 2012. The West won the series 12-6 in 2011, 15-3 in 2010 and 11-7 in 2009.

Shit, that’s like the divisional equivalent of the Georgia-Florida series in the nineties.

The question is, then, whether this is a sign that the divisions are regaining more of an equal footing, or if this was more of a one-off, like, to continue the analogy, the ’97 Cocktail Party game.  It certainly helped that the bottom of the West was worse than the bottom of the East and that’s probably going to continue for at least another season or two.

The medium-term will likely be decided on whether there are any programs in the SEC East that step to a level that’s at least as good as, say, LSU.  The obvious candidates for that would be Florida and Tennessee, but, especially in the case of the latter, both have a little ways to go on the recruiting front before really being able to assert themselves on a consistent basis.

What do you guys think?


Filed under SEC Football

42 responses to “A decade of inferiority

  1. I would be fine if the East went 2–12 against the West every year as long as the 2 wins were ours. I’m not going to pull for Florida or Tennessee (and, to a lesser extent, USCjr) for the East to get wins against the West. That’s just me, but YMMV.


  2. Beer Money

    I just love that during those mentioned dates we still managed to beat the shit out of Auburn most years.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Derek

    I hope we don’t have any LSU’s but in the short term think all 6 of the programs behind us can be better than or equal to Arky, Ole Miss and State.

    I tend to think TAMU and LSU will stay ahead of the East’s bottom 6. I fully expect Jimbo to be a real challenger to Bama in the west and soon. The wild card is Auburn. If they stay equal or lesser than the East’s bottom 6, it’ll be a competitive season series and will lean the east’s way when Auburn goes 0-2 vs. the east. If Auburn regains it’s footing the west will be clearly superior. The west has 4 teams capable of being top 15 year in and year out. The best the east can do right now on that measure is 2.

    If I were a betting man and looking long term, I’d take the west because of their clear advantage at the top end and uncertainty about how the bottom ends will perform over time.

    I tend to think UT OR UF will have its same coach in 4 years and the other will be a tire fire. I don’t think either will be happy with 3rd and will implode into continual mediocrity at facing the reality. UF has advantages in terms of access to talent and because UT gets Bama every year, but my view is Pruitt > Mullen so how that plays out will be interesting.


    • PTC DAWG

      Over the next 4 years, UF will be much more successful than UT. IMHO.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Derek

        Maybe overall but trajectory matters. If Mullen can’t recruit the wheels will come start to come off. If UT can get any kind of reliable productivity from its offense, they’ll start being a tough out for opponents with similar rosters.

        I read UT as more patient having been down and out so long. UF thinks they can just throw money at a new coach and they’ll be set. And I think they ultimately will because we’re going to keep Kirb-stomping them. They can’t accept that but that’s where they’ll be if Mullen isn’t recruiting top-5 classes and right now it’s not assured he can recruit top-15 classes.


        • Brandon

          I read Volnation pretty regularly, the natives are already pretty restless up there. If Pruitt doesn’t beat Vandy, they’ll be very, very restless.


    • Good post, Derek. I would suggest there’s no TAMU equivalent on the eastern side of the league. The Aggies have an upside that USCjr, Missouri and Kentucky can only dream about.


    • Tony Barnfart

      Agreed, Derek. As long as Georgia, Auburn and Clemson are recruiting well, Tennessee has a tough road to hoe. I’m not sure what the growing Nashville populous will ultimately produce for them, but I don’t think it will be quite like Atlanta:UGA. Tennessee would be wise to even attempt a foothold in southern Ohio like Kentucky is doing. Atlanta is tough sledding right now.



    Frankly, I don’t care. If UF and UT never win another game, that’s fine with me.


  5. Aladawg

    I think UF will be able to recruit and raise their level. Not so much with UT. Kirby has got them the hell out of NW Georgia and I don’t see them closing the talent gap at all. Then the inevitable Pruitt -Donut clash will have them starting over.


    • DoubleDawg1318

      Pruitt is a much better recruiter than Mullen even though Mullen has the better talent mine to work with. I actually think Kirby isn’t concerned with putting a fence around Georgia because he has moved on to recruiting the best guys across the country. Other schools are going to get Georgia blue chips because UGA doesn’t want them and that could be beneficial for Pruitt. (UT has a 5 star OT from Grayson right now that we didn’t recruit)


  6. Bulldog Joe

    I will wait until the first week of December to determine if it means anything.


    • Macallanlover

      Yep, I am not crazy about defining things because of the worst among us. Vandy and Kentucky are the swing votes here, and neither are conference members because of their football prowess.

      I think the SECCG match is about even, or a 1 game advantage for one or the other, pretty darned equal. It doesn’t matter to the Division, only that one team each December. I felt no Divisional pride when Florida won the title game, although I have to admit it was embarrassing to have SC playing in the title game that one time as the East winner.


  7. Nobody is talking about Mizzou. They are a fluke rain delay loss to USC and a weird ending vs Kentucky away from a 10-2 season. They will probably take a step back with the QB leaving, but they could very well challenge for 2nd/3rd in the East.


    • Mayor

      Actually historically Mizzou is pretty good. The Tigers won the SEC East twice shortly after they joined the conference and back when they were in the Big 12 won the Big 12 North about every other year for years. They have a winning program.


      • Uglydawg

        Missouri could be in good position from a recruiting stand point. And excellent university, and not another SEC team to the west or north of them..(TAMU is technically to the west but way down south and away). If kids “out there” care about playing in the SEC (some do, some don’t) and being assured of lots of TV exposure, Mizzo would be their closest bet.
        And did they not come into the conference with a bang?


  8. TomReagan

    I’d like the East to return to dominance, which most people forget was the case for the first decade or after the split. I like beating a good Florida and a good Tennessee more than beating up on them when they’re already down. If we want to get to Alabama level dominance then it won’t matter how good those programs are.

    And, yes, I think both Tennessee and Florida will bounce back to a certain extent.

    I don’t see Tennessee ever reaching the peak of Fulmer, but think that they could challenge for a New Year’s bowl in their best years. Playing us, hopefully, and Bama every year will be a real drag on their ceiling.

    Neither do I see Florida returning to Spurrier or Meyer levels, although I do think Mullen could get them a notch below that. So instead of being a national championship contender every year they are at least a contender for the conference championship in most years.

    Keep in mind, too, that no one knows when Saban will leave. Personally, I think he’ll coach until he’s absolutely out of gas like the Bear did, but he’s also at an age where most coaches look at hanging it up. A Sabanless Alabama will change the dynamic of the entire conference.


    • Texas Dawg

      ” A Sabanless Alabama will change the dynamic of the entire conference.” A Sabanless Bama will change the dynamic of the entirety of college football.


  9. UGA '97

    It took for 4 brand new coaches in the West for this to happen. I’ll gladly take 3-0, and also 4-0 for our dogs.


  10. TomReagan

    For what it’s worth, we’ve mostly done our part. Our yearly records against the West since ’08 are: 2-1; 2-1; 0-3; 3-1; 2-1; 1-1; 2-0; 1-1; 1-1; 2-2 and 1-1 thusfar in ’18. That’s 5 seasons on the plus side, 4 even, and one losing record.

    Looking all of that up quickly reminded me just how much the expansion to 14 teams sucks ass. A game against anyone in the West is more fun than playing Missouri.


  11. Biggus Rickus

    I don’t much care one way or the other, but so far, nobody in the East is recruiting at a particularly high level outside of Georgia. The West currently has three teams in the top five classes for 2019, and Auburn makes a fourth with a higher rated class than everyone in the East but Georgia. Until that changes, the West is going to have more good teams at the top of the division most years.


  12. DB

    I think if you compare the quality of the head coaches east vs. west(top to bottom), the east may turn the tide for the next few years.


  13. Hobnail_Boot

    I still can’t believe that Tennessee won in Auburn.


  14. AusDawg85

    What about USCe’s cannon shots?! And to avoid the one-off anomaly, every east team except UGA should do an end zone dance after their first TD on a west opponent next year.


  15. Russ

    I still think the mediocre East teams are better than the mediocre West teams. I think that will continue to play out, and we will eventually catch Bama.


  16. W Cobb Dawg

    Here’s hoping the west teams up their game – mostly to give saban more competition. I would love to see bama with a couple losses on their record and have to fight tooth & nail to get in the secc. Meanwhile, UGA having a cakewalk to the secc is just fine with me.


  17. The Truth

    The baseline for this discussion is the trend in the E/W permanent opponents:

    We are trending toward owning AU
    Bama owns UT
    LSU ahead of UF at this point
    Vandy trending ahead of Ole Miss
    MSU probably trending ahead of UK after the Cats’ seniors leave
    Mizzou ahead of Arky
    aTm ahead of Crackerlina

    The West has a 4-3 advantage as a baseline.


  18. Tony Barnfart

    Still wish we could eliminate the permanency of divisions.


  19. Morris Day

    Ain’t all of them played Bama PAAAAAWWWWLLLLL.