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SEC West Historical Series Maps

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A map for each team in the West division. / Year2

Following yesterday's post on the SEC's historical series, I have prepared maps for each of the schools in the SEC West.

A quick note on history. If you're not familiar, there actually have been three schools to voluntarily leave the SEC. The first was Sewanee, which left in 1940 and soon after deemphasized athletics. It's now a D-III school. The second was Georgia Tech, which left in 1964 after football coach and AD Bobby Dodd had some differences with the conference. The third was Tulane, which bailed in 1966 largely because it couldn't keep up.

You won't find Sewanee on any of these maps due to its early exit and subsequent disappearance from major athletics. Thanks to that and also my data source, which only counts seasons in which a program was on a major level comparable to today's I-A, I'd have had to cut things off at 1978 to get the program on someone's map (Vanderbilt's). Georgia Tech and Tulane do show up, however, and you'll see them today.

Finally, here's the same background on these I gave yesterday. I stopped counting at the 2010 season because the thing for which I'm creating these relates to the recent round of realignment that's been going on. The data I got comes from James Howell's database, as queried by Chris Stassen's site. The thickness of the lines corresponds to how many games have happened during the series. A thicker line means more games.

First up, Alabama.

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The school kind of looks like a seven-legged spider sitting in the middle of the league. As you can see from line thickness, Auburn is actually not the most-played series the school has. It has played far more games against Mississippi State, Tennessee, and Vanderbilt. The schools played a few times after the turn of the 20th Century, but the series was suspended after the 1907 game due to a dispute over $34 and scheduling.

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The Razorbacks' roots as a SWC team shine through here with six connections branching down into the state of Texas. It was the only SWC school outside the Lone Star State, though, so its connections aren't quite as exclusive to that state as they are for most other former SWC schools. A couple of decades of SEC West play combined with some older games opened up connections with LSU and Ole Miss, while its nearby neighbor Tulsa has been a familiar foe as well.

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Auburn's thickest line is to Georgia, which is appropriate for the Deep South's Oldest Rivalry. Here we see the first appearance of one of the former SEC members with Georgia Tech, which comes in only behind UGA in game count. Mississippi State overtook Florida in 2010, less than a decade after the AU-UF annual rivalry came to an end. The conference actually had two designated cross-division rivals per team during the first decade of divisional play, and Florida was Auburn's second after Georgia.

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Here we have an appearance of the other former SEC member, the hated (in LSU's eyes) Greenies of Tulane. LSU, being the westernmost outpost of the SEC for many years, made some history with old SWC schools Arkansas and Rice. It also had a long series with Texas A&M that barely missed the cut for this map, but thanks to realignment, it'll qualify in 2020 if they continue to play an annual game. Also, note that LSU and Florida do have some history that goes back beyond the divisional era. It's a cross-division rivalry that some see as forced, and that LSU AD Joe Alleva would like to see gone, but these Tigers have played more games against the Gators than any other East division team. That said, LSU is the only West division team that has a historical series with Kentucky.

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I put up Ole Miss's map yesterday, but I'm reposting it for completeness's sake today since this is about the West division. We see another appearance of Tulane, and the nearby Memphis Tigers find their one and only place on an SEC team's map.

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And here is the third and final appearance for Tulane. The Bulldogs were one of only three SEC schools that had over a century of history with two different schools by 2010 while being on the major level as defined by Howell's database. Those 100-year opponents for MSU are Ole Miss and LSU. The other schools in the same boat are East teams, so we'll see about them later.

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Even though Texas A&M wasn't in the SEC in 2010 and therefore missed yesterday's conference map, I can still make up an individual map for it. Here you can see what I alluded to in Arkansas's section regarding the exclusivity of the old SWC. Connections from its Texas schools to non-SWC members are few and far between, and A&M doesn't have even one. LSU will join its map as of 2022, assuming an annual meeting between now and then. It's a couple years later than LSU's date due to differences in total seasons played.