Final SEC West Standings
1. Alabama, 7-1
2. Mississippi State, 6-2
3. Ole Miss, 5-3
4. Auburn, 4-4
5. LSU, 4-4
6. Texas A&M, 3-5
7. Arkansas, 2-6
The 2014 SEC West will go down as one of the greatest divisions in college football history. It should go down as the greatest. While some national pundits will try to say the division lost some of its luster through the course of the year, that is simply not true. Call a spade a spade – the SEC West cannibalized itself to create losses among its teams which pushed some of them out of the top 25. But we all know every one of those seven teams are within the top 25 teams in the country.
Here is how ESPN’s FPI (power ranking metric) ranks the teams:
- Alabama: #1
- Ole Miss: #3
- Auburn: #6
- Mississippi State: #10
- LSU: #14
- Arkansas: #18
- Texas A&M: #23
When Las Vegas evaluates teams, they rank the entire division in the top 30.
Alabama would be favored against any team in America, regardless of the game location. This is a team that, within the SEC West, lost to 3-loss Ole Miss, needed a missed PAT by 6-loss Arkansas to win by one point, needed overtime to beat 4-loss LSU and only beat 2-loss Mississippi State by five points. They also trailed 4-loss Auburn by nine points in the second half before winning by 11. Those teams may have accrued a number of L’s, but they were no scrubs for sure.
The SEC West is a beast.
The teams combined for a 38-4 record outside the division. The only losses came to SEC East teams – Missouri and Georgia, who finished 1st and 2nd in their division respectively and are in the AP top 15. Two of those losses came from Arkansas, who finished last. One was from Texas A&M and another from Auburn. None of the top three teams lost outside the division.
The West defeated Kansas State who is still alive for the Big 12 championship, and Wisconsin who is still alive for the Big Ten championship. In total, West teams defeated non-conference opponents by an average of 33.5 points.
All SEVEN Western division teams will be going to a bowl game.
Auburn and LSU have averaged a top 10 recruiting class over the last 5 years, but they lost seven combined games within the SEC West.
When the first ever College Football Playoff rankings came out, it featured THREE teams from the West.
The SEC West is a war zone. You could make a pretty good argument that Alabama, MSU, Ole Miss and Auburn are all equal. You could also make a good argument they are the four best teams in college football. They had different schedules which led to different records, but they are all highly elite teams.
LSU isn’t far behind. The way Arkansas finished the year had people believing they could beat anyone – the last place team in the division could beat ANYONE. Texas A&M was by far the most inconsistent team but they showed flashes of brilliance at times in a rebuilding year of seven wins.
For Mississippi State to come out of the division with only two losses, finishing in 2nd place, is a remarkable year.