SEC Championship Game: Why the SEC Should Eliminate Divisions in 2012

Matt SmithCorrespondent IIIDecember 3, 2011

ATLANTA, GA - DECEMBER 04:  Stephen Garcia #5 of the South Carolina Gamecocks is tackled by T'Sharvan Bell #22 of the Auburn Tigers during the 2010 SEC Championship at Georgia Dome on December 4, 2010 in Atlanta, Georgia.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

The SEC East reached a new low this season. Against teams not named Ole Miss, East Division teams were 3-12 against the SEC West. Georgia is only playing for the SEC title because it avoided Alabama, Arkansas and LSU. They did not defeat a team with more than four wins in conference play.

There is little doubt that the three best teams in the league reside in the SEC West and in 2010 the five best teams in the league all were from the West. With the current divisional alignment resulting in significant imbalance, it's time for the best conference in college football to eliminate divisions.

The SEC Championship Game will of course remain, but instead of Auburn-South Carolina and LSU-Georgia the past two years, we could have had titanic showdowns between Auburn and Arkansas in 2010, and LSU and Alabama this season.

A second Tigers' win over the Crimson Tide would give Oklahoma State or Virginia Tech a chance at the national title with the Tide having two losses, while an Alabama win would result in an unprecedented third meeting between the two powerhouses with everything on the line.

Instead, we are likely left with the rematch coming in New Orleans. If Alabama wins, then what do we do? Who's the true national champion? The team that played a tougher schedule and won on the road, or the team that won the game that was deemed the national title game?

If LSU and Alabama were playing in Atlanta, we would be guaranteed that the winner of the BCS Championship Game was the worthy national champion.

Does Georgia really deserve to play LSU for the SEC title?
Does Georgia really deserve to play LSU for the SEC title?Dave Martin/Getty Images



In 2010, rather than having to suffer through a 56-17 blowout of South Carolina by Auburn, Arkansas could have gotten a chance with a healthy Ryan Mallett to avenge its shootout loss to the Tigers on the Plains seven weeks earlier.

The scheduling structure does need to change, outside of the necessary tweaks with the additions of Missouri and Texas A&M. The old West teams will all play each other and the crossover rivalries like Alabama-Tennessee and Georgia-Auburn would continue.

Georgia does not belong in Saturday's SEC Championship Game. Alabama does. They won seven SEC games, none by fewer than 17 points. The rematch of the "Game of the Century" should occur five weeks earlier than it actually will.

There would likely be some legal challenges to overcome to continue the SEC Championship Game without divisions, but it would be in the best interest of the league and college football as a whole.

LSU and Alabama will play for the national title because they're deemed the two best teams in the country, not because they both won a division or conference. Why can't the SEC have the same criteria?

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