By Jimmy Hyams
The SEC West has dominated the East for the better part of a decade.
Last year, the East (Georgia) won the SEC Championship for the first time since 2008 (Florida). During the West’s eight-year run of SEC titles, five championship games were decided by at least 29 points and two others by at least 14 points.
Since 2009, the East has had 11 teams that had only one or zero SEC wins in a season; the West has had five.
And since 2009, every team in the West has been ranked in the top 5 of the AP poll at some point; the West has had four.
Heck, Tennessee has NOT defeated a team from the West since Ole Miss in 2010.
While the West has ruled the SEC roost, the East is catching up.
It might surprise you to know the East is 3-1 against the West with wins by Florida over Mississippi State and LSU, and Kentucky over Mississippi State.
The only East loss was by Kentucky in overtime against Texas A&M.
So the East is that close to being 4-0 against the West so far this season.
This weekend will tell a lot about how much ground the East has made up against the West as Tennessee plays at Auburn, Missouri at Alabama, Georgia at LSU and Texas A&M at South Carolina.
If the East goes 2-2 that would further illustrate how the gap has closed.
Let’s recap our SEC picks from last week:
The hits: We nailed some of the tougher games: South Carolina over Missouri, Texas A&M over Kentucky, Florida over LSU. … We said take the over on Alabama-Arkansas at 55; they combined for 96 points … We got Florida taking 3 against LSU and Kentucky getting 7 against A&M … We had the Tide winning by 38 and it won by 34
The misses: We picked Auburn over Mississippi State. Tigers’ offense continues to struggle … We had Ole Miss scoring 40 against Louisiana-Monroe, the Rebels scored 70 … we took Auburn giving 3 points against Mississippi State yet the Bulldogs won outright.
Last week: 6-1 (3-1 on SEC best bets)
My picks for this week:
Auburn 27-13 over Tennessee. In a game featuring two teams struggling on offense, Auburn does a better job in the run game and converts more third downs.
Florida 23-17 over Vanderbilt. Potential for big letdown for Gators after beating LSU. Noon ET kickoff means both teams could sleep walk through first half.
Georgia 24-20 over LSU. Bulldogs continue march toward SEC Championship game. Tigers have been very good this season but could still be a four-loss team.
Texas A&M 27-23 over South Carolina. Aggies defense didn’t allow a Kentucky snap past midfield until overtime. Gamecocks were lucky to beat Missouri, being outrushed by 180 yards.
Alabama 51-13 over Missouri. Tide continues to role and Tua Ton&%@0#loa doesn’t play a snap in fourth quarter once again. Tigers and QB Drew Lock don’t play well on the road.
Ole Miss 38-27 over Arkansas. Wow, have the Hogs declined. Rebels have an offense. Arkansas has been offensive.
SEC best bets:
Take LSU and 7 ½ at home against Georgia. Hard to give the Tigers more than a touchdown at home.
Take under 50 ½ on Georgia-LSU. This should be defensive struggle along the lines of LSU-Florida.
Take under 51 on Florida at Vanderbilt. Noon ET start will lead to little offensive execution in first half.
Take under 47 on Tennessee at Auburn. I don’t see UT’s offense scoring more than 13 points or Auburn scoring 30.
Take Alabama and give 28 against Missouri. I hope Nick Saban doesn’t get mad because I can’t think of anything negative to say about his team.