SEC Football: Why the East Division Is Still Sagging Behind the West

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SEC Football: Why the East Division Is Still Sagging Behind the West

After producing the last six national champions, the SEC is without question the best conference in college football. It also has five of the the Top 10 teams in the latest BCS rankings.

In the conference itself, however, there is an imbalance. The SEC West has been widely considered the toughest division in college football. But earlier this season, the SEC East appeared to have narrowed that gap. But it is still the West that deserves to be the king of the SEC.

While you wouldn't want to play any of these divisions on a weekly basis, here is why the SEC East is still playing catch-up in the conference.

 

Florida Isn't There Yet

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Florida should be able to blow teams out like Louisiana-Lafayette.

There was a time this season when people were making a case for why the Florida Gators should be No. 1. That seems like a century ago, as the team hasn't been the same since beating South Carolina 44-11 in late October.

The Gators turned the ball over six times in a frustrating loss to Georgia, nearly lost to Missouri a week ago and needed a blocked punt to knock off Louisiana-Layfette on Saturday. Florida will remain a Top-10 club in the BCS rankings, but championship-caliber teams don't struggle to beat teams in the Sun Belt or newbies in the SEC.

One of the reasons it appeared the SEC East was gaining ground was because of the emergence of the Gators, but it looks like Will Muschamp's team is still a year away from fully competing with the big boys.

 

Georgia and South Carolina Haven't Done Anything

Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images
One of these programs needs to get over the hump before the SEC East is on the same level as the SEC West.

When you combine the Georgia Bulldogs and South Carolina Gamecocks wins and losses, you end up with a 16-3 record, which is nothing to sneeze at. However, neither team has been able to take that next step to become a powerhouse that the rest of the country should fear and respect.

Georgia is a combined 3-9 against ranked teams since the beginning of the 2010 season. That record includes getting demolished by South Carolina and needing all six turnovers to beat Florida.

The Gamecocks, on the other hand, just had their first double-digit winning season last year for the first time since 1984. They have yet to reach a BCS bowl game and just won their first bowl game since 2006 last year.

Both of these programs are quickly improving and have the talent to hang with the best of them, but until there is a little more consistency from both squads, you can't side with the SEC East just yet.

 

SEC West Is Proven and Getting Better

If you throw away two of the Gators' national championship victories, four of the last six championship trophies have been hoisted by an SEC West program. What makes things even more remarkable is that three of those championships have been won by three different teams, showing parity in this powerhouse division.

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I mean, we did just have two teams from the division play in last year's national championship.

And while the East leads in SEC Championship victories 11-9, the West is 7-4 in the conference title game since 2001.

Things are also looking up for the SEC West, as teams such as Mississippi State and Texas A&M are quickly on the rise. Arkansas and Auburn should overcome disappointing seasons after this year, but seeing the Aggies compete the way they are in their first season in the league shows that this division is only going to get even stronger.

That's a scary thought for the rest of college football.

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