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43 Years and Counting in a League Divided

Ok here's a  quick offseason discussion question: Since the SEC began divisional play in football, who are the three most "successful" teams in the SEC East? The fairly predictable answer across SEC fanbases is Georgia, Florida and Tennessee. What about the West? Again, the answer is fairly predictable: LSU, Alabama and Auburn.

Now for something which you may not have considered before reading Phillip Marshall's recent blog entry over at the Huntsville Times: These "big six" schools have won every single, solitary, bourbon soaked SEC football championship since 1964. That's 43 years for those of you scoring at home. Since Ole Miss last won one in 1963, eight Presidents have occupied the Oval Office. A ninth will be elected before any of the other somnolent six (Arkansas, Ole Miss, Mississippi State, Kentucky, South Carolina and Vanderbilt) has the chance to hoist a trophy in the Georgia Dome. That last championship came before the parents of many current SEC players were even born. Let's all take a moment to let it sink in. 43 years.

In contrast, every SEC school except Ole Miss has won at least one SEC men's basketball crown since 1990. The same is true in baseball if you go back only one year further to 1989. 11 different schools have won SEC baseball championships in that time.

Now, some talk about the SEC as being a difficult league with incredible parity. A league where every Saturday is a battle. I'm generally included in that group. But this little nugget seems to indicate that there is in fact a perpetual underclass in the SEC that, while it may rise up in revolution  on occasion is a generally servile lot, destined to fight it out for that at-large spot in the Music City Bowl.

Again, kudos to Marshall for bringing attention to this very enlightening statistic. My only disappointment stems from the fact that the article was written on the paper's Auburn blog and uses words in excess of 5 letters. Ergo, it will go unread west of Columbus.* But I ask you Dawgsports readers, what is the explanation? Is there that much less football talent in the state of Mississippi? Do Vanderbilt's stringent academic standards really make that big a difference? What is the deal here?


*Totally not true, but it's the offseason and we're in a Barner-burning mood. There are in fact lots of Auburn graduates who recognize a variety of words in excess of 5 letters in length. Cheeseburger and midget, for example.