ENGSTER: SEC should consider switching Tulane for Vanderbilt

By JIM ENGSTER | President, Tiger Rag Magazine

In the 85 year history of the conference, there have been 95 teams to claim SEC football titles. LSU has done it eleven times (1935, 1936, 1958, 1961, 1970, 1986, 1988, 2001, 2003, 2007 and 2011) to place fourth among league powers in this category. Ironically, LSU has the same number of basketball titles in the SEC, ranking second only to Kentucky with 48. Despite periodic spurts from basketball, the Ole War Skule is a football first institution.

Alabama boasts 26 SEC football titles while Tennessee has 12 and Georgia is third with 11. Florida and Auburn are tied for fourth behind LSU with eight championships and Ole Miss claims six. Thus, six schools have possession of 84 of the 95 conference championships in the sport that pays the freight for all others on college campuses.

Five SEC members have never won a conference football crown. Vanderbilt is winless in 85 seasons while Arkansas and South Carolina are without championships in 26 years of membership. Texas A&M and Missouri have gone six years with no titles.

Kentucky has captured two league banners while Mississippi State has one that was awarded in 1949.

Georgia Tech and Tulane left the SEC in 1966 and have five and three championships, respectively. Out of the conference for more than a half-century, Tulane has as many football titles has seven SEC members combined or half  of the 14-member conference.

Tulane is worthy of consideration for re-admission to the SEC. The Greenies posted a 12-0 season as recently as 1998 and finished seventh in the nation that season. SEC also-rans are not finishing seventh in the nation.

Tulane is a better fit for the league than Vanderbilt, which is feasting from the harvest produced by its conference brothers.  Should the SEC expand or change its membership, Vanderbilt should be sent elsewhere.

In the last 80 seasons, Vanderbilt has posted just five winning records in SEC competition. The Commodores have won a grand total of 142 conference games since joining the league in 1933 with a puny winning percentage of 26.7 in the conference. This is big government in reverse. All of the state supported institutions are keeping the private school’s athletic ship afloat.

Teams in the SEC East benefit from having Vanderbilt on the schedule every year. Perhaps it’s time for the SEC West to have fun with Tulane until the Greenies rebuild. The guess here is that Tulane would quickly improve its football stock with the resources of the SEC and be far more worthy of SEC membership than the school in Nashville.

Because Vanderbilt is a private institution, it does not submit the same financial records that other members of the conference do. The SEC should at least require all schools to release the same information about their athletic programs.

A good move by the SEC would be to boot Vandy, move Auburn to the SEC East and welcome Tulane to the West. The University of Alabama is much closer to Starkville than it is to Auburn, so there is no necessity to have the two Alabama schools in the same division.

The move would also revitalize the LSU-Tulane rivalry and ensure the Tigers play in New Orleans at least once every two years. LSU would still dominate Louisiana recruiting wars, and the state would prosper with a pair SEC powers 80 miles apart.

Alabama and South Carolina are only a few hundred thousand residents larger than Louisiana, and those states have two major football factories within their borders. Louisiana has plenty of talent to field two SEC titans.

Talent is not reason for slow LSU start

Some skeptics are claiming the LSU talent is inferior and that is why the last two games have produced disappointing results. The Tigers are young, but so is Alabama. The Crimson Tide continue to roll while LSU is concerned that a seventh straight loss to Nick Saban is coming soon. Saban has dominated LSU and the rest of the league despite producing fewer NFL stalwarts at Tuscaloosa than LSU has in the same period that Nick has towered over his cohorts.

Before arriving in Alabama on Nov. 4, LSU has a glorified scrimmage vs. Troy followed by SEC tests against Florida, Auburn and Ole Miss.

If the Tigers win two of their next three conference games, they will be 6-2 heading to Alabama and should be competitive against Saban’s crew.

If LSU is as flat as it has been in the last two weeks that have produced a 63-42 deficit against Mississippi State and Syracuse, the Bengals will likely stagger into Bryant-Denny Stadium with a 0-4 conference mark and be easy pickings for a team that opened SEC play with a 59-0 rout of Vanderbilt.

The talent is sufficient for LSU to finish second to Alabama in the West. This is the adjustment year for Ed Orgeron. The historical equivalent is that Saban was 7-6 with a loss to ULM in his first season at Bama.

Since the 7-6 start for Saban in 2007, Alabama is 116-13 overall and 65-8 in the SEC.

In the last nine seasons, Alabama is 80 points from perfection in 115 games. When Saban took the job as the latest heir to the Bear, the LSU post was a superior position. LSU won seven of eight games against the Tide from 2000-07.

In the decade since LSU won its last BCS trophy in January of 2008, Alabama has claimed four national championships, but no SEC West rival has been a stronger competitor to the Tide than has LSU.

Here is a look at SEC football records in conference competition in the last decade.

SEC Football 2008-2017

[table]

Team, SEC Record, Percent

Alabama, 65-8, 89.0

Florida, 51-23, 68.9

Georgia, 48-25, 65.8

LSU, 47-26, 64.4

Texas A&M, 22-19, 53.7

South Carolina,38-36,51.4

Auburn, 36-37 ,49.3

Missouri,19-23,45.2

Mississippi St., 32-42, 43.2

Ole Miss, 29-43, 40.3

Arkansas, 29-44, 39.7

Tennessee, 25-47, 34.7

Vanderbilt, 21-52, 28.8

Kentucky,18-56,24.3 [/table]

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