Alabama Football: A new normal power shift or more of the same across the SEC

(Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
(Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images) /

Did 2019 bode an SEC power shift or will 2020 follow recent win patterns for top teams?

For all the winning Alabama football has done in recent years, the 2019 season proved there is nothing constant or stagnant about SEC football. Most changes are caused by unpredictable ebb and flow. Teams rise and fall. No team stays on top every season and few are stuck on the bottom season after season.

For college football fans, offseasons are fueled by new-found hope. Fans from every school, except maybe Vandy, believe their team will improve in the coming season. Optimism abounds even though it is mathematically impossible for 13 SEC teams to have improved records in any one season.

LSU can justifiably crow it is the current SEC ‘Cock of the Walk.’ Given LSU’s head man’s demeanor, bellow might be a more accurate verb that crow. In whatever form, Coach O should make that exact claim, if only to anger South Carolina fans.

How good is LSU’s footing at the top of the college football mountain? Instead of looking forward by doing a Bama Hammer FPI for next season’s SEC games, looking back has merit.

Not every program can openly state coming season goals include a National Championship. But around half of the league can aim for winning an SEC Championship. In the case of both championships, odds for success mirror winning patterns over multiple seasons. Even Coach O would likely agree, the seeds for a 2019 undefeated season were sown by finishing 9-4 in 2017, followed by 10-3 in 2018.

Looking at win patterns over the last six seasons shows only five SEC teams can realistically contend for an SEC Championship. To be in contention requires winning more than eight games in a season (including out-of-conference games.) In the six seasons, 2014-2019, 12 SEC teams have won more than eight games in at least one season.

Winning more than eight games only once out of the six seasons are Kentucky, Missouri, South Carolina and Texas A&M. Doing it twice are Tennessee and Ole Miss.  At three seasons are LSU, Auburn and Mississippi State.

Florida has four, eight-plus win seasons, with Georgia having five. Alabama football is the only program to reach that milestone all six seasons. The last time the Tide won eight or fewer games in a season was Nick Saban’s first Crimson Tide season, 2007. Will any future Crimson Tide head coach ever match such winning consistency?

Six seasons is a long time in the world of college football. Coaches come and go. Attracting elite players is an annual challenge no one team dominates every season. What happened in 2014-2016 may no longer matter.

Instead, let’s look at win averages over the last three seasons. Any average below nine, annual wins is suspect. Florida and Kentucky have averaged 8.33 wins in the three seasons. Because of Dan Mullen’s upward trend, the Gators can be considered a championship threat while the Wildcats are not. The average for the Aggies is eight wins. Auburn is next with nine. Only Alabama football, LSU and Georgia have averaged more than 10 wins. The Tide’s average is 12.66, followed by Georgia at 12 and LSU at 11.33

There is little reason to believe any team other than Florida, Auburn, LSU, Georgia and the Crimson Tide have a realistic chance to become SEC Champions. All five will have a bigger goal. The surest path to a CFB Playoff is winning the SEC. And contending for National Championships is what the SEC is about.

Next. 3 Sneaky Storylines for 2020 Tide. dark

The stats in this post are from the excellent site, A fair complaint from Aggies’ fans could be, like Mullen, Jimbo is building a winner, as soon as 2020.