Prior to the 2014 season, the last eight college football national championship games featured SEC teams. In six of those games, at least one team came from the SEC West.
Yet this is a different season, and times have changed.
The top five teams in the seven-school division all lost their bowl games this season, highlighted by No. 1 Alabama’s letdown against No. 4 Ohio State in the Sugar Bowl. The results weren’t pretty, either — Mississippi State fell 49-34 to Georgia Tech in the Orange Bowl, Ole Miss was demolished 42-3 by TCU in the Peach Bowl and LSU fell to unranked Notre Dame 31-28 in the Music City Bowl.
As former Fighting Irish quarterback Brady Quinn points out, though, this late-season implosion wasn’t exactly an aberration. In breaking down key games of SEC West schools, Quinn finds that many teams in the division were more or less paper tigers riding the coattails of their perceived elite status in the college football world.
“In the end, SEC West teams never should have been ranked as high to start 2014,” Quinn writes on FootballByFootball.com. “Past accomplishments were thought to be an indication of future success. These programs were missing key components to their successful squads of the previous year.”
Thumbnail photo via Derick E. Hingle/USA TODAY Sports Images