Why the SEC Will Experience a Major Shift in Power

Robert MatthewsContributor IFebruary 10, 2009

This is all my opinion and nothing more.


For the past few years the SEC East has been the powerful half of the conference. Sure, there were LSU in '07 and Auburn in '04, but the majority of the time the East has dominated most with Georgia and Florida. However, the momentum is swinging back to the West.


Several reasons from the East

1. Despite a nice recruiting class, Georgia loses its major offensive playmakers Matthew Stafford and Knowshon Moreno.

2. Tennessee—two words: Lane Kiffin.

3. Steve Spurrier could take Georgia, Alabama, LSU, or Florida to the title game easily. But his job is at South Carolina, and with the talent he acquires there, he will be left in the dust thrown up by the big boys.

4. Does anyone actually believe Vandy or Kentucky will challenge Florida?


Reasons against from the East

1. A few words here: in, Tebow, Chris, Jeffrey, Meyer, spread, Tim, Spikes, second, returning, all, addition, Rainey, are, complete, deep, Urban, to, offense, defense, starters, of, Brandon, Demps, has, and, the, string, especially.

Translation: Urban Meyer has Tim Tebow, Chris Rainey, and Jeffrey Demps returning, and the defense has all the starters returning, especially Brandon Spikes, in addition to the returning of the complete second string.


Reasons for from the West

1. Alabama, I think, is every bit as good if not better than last year. The majority of the defense returns, including that monster of a tackle known as Mount Cody. Sure, Andre Smith and JPW aren't returning. But of the two, only Andre was really all that special.

JPW's only really great achievement in my opinion is learning to manage the game and not screwing up. His replacement will either be Greg McElroy or Star Jackson. Both are fully capable.

A second No. 1, 2, or 3 recruiting class, depending on where you look, will only add to the talent already in place. This class includes seven linemen. Replacements for the leaving players are already on campus or will be by the fall.

2. LSU—While I believe Les Miles is about as horrible a coach as you could ask for at a top tier SEC school, he has managed to win and recruit. The only thing that really hindered the Tigers last year was the absolutely horrible QB play. A top-end recruiting class will only add to the capabilities of LSU.

3. Ole Miss—Houston Nutt did an amazing job at Ole Miss last year with what he had in place. With defeating Florida, giving Alabama a run for the money in the second half, and tearing apart LSU, Nutt had a great first season.

Jevan Snead is probably the best QB in the SEC behind the obvious (if you need help with this one, God have mercy on your soul) and is without a doubt the most experienced in the West. A top 20 recruiting class will no doubt help fill in any holes that Nutt has found.

While I don't feel Arkansas needs special mention, I think they will be better in the next couple years than they were last year.


Reasons against from the West

1. Mississippi State? Give 'em a couple years and maybe, but as of right now they are the worst team in the West.

2. Auburn—a question mark. Bobby Lowder (otherwise known as the owner of Auburn) fired a good coach who had taken the team to a 13-0 season in '04 and hadn't really had a bad season until this one.

Tommy Tuberville's first mistake was not allowing Tony Franklin to pick his own assistants, and they didn't have a QB for the spread. Second was firing Franklin after the new system didn't work right away. While they will probably have a 5-7 if not 4-8 season in '09, they will likely improve if Gene Chizik is worthy of his job.


Overall it seems the momentum is swinging in favor of the West. Tebow will not be in college forever, and Florida will have to learn what it is like without Superman. Alabama appears to be here to stay, while Ole Miss is on the way up.