There can be little doubt that college football in the 21st century has belonged to the West Division of the SEC.
The Deep South’s corner of the college football world has had a hand in a staggering 10 of the 23 national titles given out since 2000—six for Alabama, three for LSU and one for Auburn. Each of the division’s other four members—Arkansas, Mississippi State, Mississippi and Texas A&M—has appeared in at least one New Year’s Six-equivalent bowl game as well.
That’s what makes the statistic shared by Josh Dubow of the Associated Press on Saturday evening so staggering: 2023 is the first year since 2002 in which every SEC West team has incurred a loss before October.
The division’s final remaining unbeaten team, the No. 15 Rebels, lost 24-10 to the No. 13 Crimson Tide on Saturday afternoon.
In 2002, the SEC West’s head coaches included Nick Saban at LSU, future U.S. senator Tommy Tuberville at Auburn and Dennis Franchione at Alabama. The Razorbacks won the division, but lost 30-3 to Georgia in the conference championship game.