Parity Restored?

For the last few years it's been said that the Western division of the SEC is where it's at - that the East is trash, and yet. This year the East squads beat the West 9-5 in the regular season. Two squads (Florida and Vanderbilt) beat both their West foes while all the others split with the West 1-1. Meanwhile Mississippi State, Auburn, Arkansas and Ole Miss all struck out against the East. The final top 25 ranking prior to the bowls has 4 teams each from each wing of the SEC.

This sort of thing is always in flux, but for the moment it's hard to make the argument with a straight face that the West is the dominant division. They have the largest elephant in the room of course, but Georgia isn't that far behind.

Looking at the tiers is also telling.

S tier (1st place finish) - Georgia and Alabama. There's a huge gap between them and the rest of the conference, or the nation.

In A tier (winning conference records) we have Kentucky (surprisingly), Florida, LSU, and TAMU. All 4 are 5-3 in the conference, the difference in both divisions between 2nd & 3rd place is the head to head game. As mentioned before Florida was 2-0 across the divisions, and the other three teams split.

In B tier (.500 ball) we have South Carolina, Missouri and Mississippi State. Mississippi State struck out against the East and the east schools split their West games.

In C tier (Losing conference record but bowl eligible) Auburn and Vanderbilt check in. Here we see where the strongest case for a balance of power between divisions - Vandy beat both it's west foes and Auburn lost to both it's east foes.

At 5-7 each D tier has Tennessee and Ole Miss. Tennessee at least split their west slate, but as long as Alabama is their permanent west rival they're going to keep splitting here for awhile.

Only one school in F tier this year, which requires a winless conference slate. Keep trying Arkansas.

So, based on this I'd say that the West is no longer superior to the East, especially when the S tier schools aren't included in the conversation. I think we've reach parity, at least for this year. Who knows what the future holds though...

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