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Hi, let's move Alabama to the SEC East

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Yesterday in this space, we talked about how the Big Ten should think about moving Michigan State to the Big Ten West to balance out its divisions. Some thus wondered about the other famously lopsided power conference, the SEC.

It wasn't long ago that the SEC East was the more powerful side, with Florida, Tennessee and sometimes Georgia starring throughout the 90s and 00s. The West is 13-11 in all-time SEC Championships, albeit on a 7-0 streak. So we're here to overreact to the East's three powers having relative down cycles at the same time as Bama's historic run, but that's fine.

The most commonly offered solution is to move Auburn to the SEC East and Missouri to the SEC West. That'd fix the geography and mean better historical balance, but it raises the question of how to preserve cross-division rivalries.

Since other conferences are going to nine-game schedules, let's just say the SEC does that as well, and gives each team two cross-division rivals. So, we could move either Auburn or Bama and preserve the three rivalries everyone's worried about (Auburn-Georgia, Alabama-Auburn and Alabama-Tennessee).

As it stands right now, the SEC East's teams rank 11.3 spots behind the West's in average 10-year S&P+ and 20.4 spots behind in all-time average FBS winning percentage.

Moving Auburn might not be drastic enough: over the last 10 years, Auburn (No. 24) and Mizzou (No. 27) have been about equal overall.

Moving Bama would bring the differences much closer, to 3.9 and 7.3 in the West's favor, respectively.

East 10-year S&P+ All-time FBS win pct. West 10-year S&P+ All-time FBS win pct.
Alabama 1 3 Arkansas 16 30
Florida 5 19 Auburn 24 18
Georgia 9 14 LSU 4 13
Kentucky 61 94 Mississippi State 38 82
South Carolina 19 75 Missouri 27 49
Tennessee 28 12 Ole Miss 34 47
Vanderbilt 72 98 Texas A&M 25 25

And the map looks fine, or at least much better than having Mizzou in the East:

Or we could leave it how it is and wait for things to change. What do you think?


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