By Keith Antigiovanni
The 2011 Southeastern Conference opens this weekend.
In 2010 the SEC West was the dominant division going 30-18 against the SEC East after the SEC East spent most of the 1990's and 2000's as dominating the series.
The defending SEC and BCS champion Auburn will not have an easy time repeating with powerhouses Alabama, Arkansas and LSU all in the West. Alabama finished 10-3 but blew a huge lead against Auburn in the "Iron Bowl" as Coach Nick Saban sets his sights on getting back to the BCS title game after winning the BCS title in 2009.
Arkansas had a surprising 10-3 season which helped them get to their first BCS Bowl. LSU also had another outstanding season going 11-2 after they won the Cotton Bowl. Mississippi State finished 9-4 and beat Michigan convincingly in a New Yeras' bowl game. Ole Miss went 4-8 and finished last in the SEC West.
Meanwhile the story was different in the traditionally competitive SEC East. The South Carolina Gamecocks finally broke thru and won their first SEC divison title but were annihilated by the Cam Newton and the Auburn Tigers in the 19th annual SEC title game in Atlanta (56-17).
The three traditional SEC East powers (Georgia, Florida, Tennessee) also struggled despite winning every SEC East title since the conference split into two divisions in 1992. Georgia and Tennessee both had to win their final games to qualify for a bowl and both struggled in the low level bowls.
Meanwhile Florida had a tougher time than expected without Tim Tebow as they finished 8-5. The season ended on a positive note when they beat Penn State in their bowl game. Despite the bowl victory Coach Urban Meyer decided to step down after only 6 years at Florida.
Kentucky finished the regular season at 6-6 and dropped their bowl game as well and Vanderbilt had a terrible year at 2-10.