According to Saturday’s column by the Birmingham News’ Jon Solomon, Missouri has the necessary nine votes it needs to be accepted as the Southeastern Conference’s 14th member. Barring any financial or legal SNAFU’s along the way, Mizzou is set to join the East Division of the conference.
Placing the Missouri Tigers in the East and Texas A&M in the West preserves a divisional alignment for existing conference members that’s been in place since the SEC expanded to 12 teams in 1992 and became the first major conference to begin divisional play.
Dismissed was the utterly preposterous notion of Auburn moving to the SEC East to “accommodate” the addition of Missouri and A&M to the SEC West. That “accommodation” would have included wrecking traditional rivalries like the Iron Bowl and today’s storied Alabama – Tennessee showdown and forcing conference members Florida and Georgia to reschedule their traditional rivalries with Florida State and Georgia Tech. It would also have upset the balance of divisional power by sending one of the six schools in the top half of conference competitiveness to the other side.
That idea was a non-starter when it was floated and its support went straight downhill from there. Had Missouri’s application proposal included membership in the SEC West, support for adding the 14th conference member would have resulted in a coin flip vote—a prospect that the SEC front office would never have put before the membership for a vote.
An even more idiotic notion included moving Auburn to the East and developing a nine-game SEC schedule, a proposal dreamed up by someone who is really bad at math. Nine, being an odd number, means half of the conference plays five games at home and four away while the other half plays four at home and five away. If you think an SEC school is going to give up the revenue boom of a conference home game every other year to “accommodate” an Auburn escape to the SEC East, not only are you bad at math, your business acumen sucks, too.
Some in the national media have scoffed at the bloc of SEC schools who were adamant about preserving traditional SEC rivalries and power balance. They point to the likely end of the Texas – Texas A&M and Missouri – Kansas rivalries and cry “hypocrisy.”
Give me a break. The SEC and its member schools should be looking out for what’s in the best interest of the SEC. The SEC brand is so marketable because of the rivalries between the member schools. Destroying those rivalries harms the brand. Protecting them enhances it and establishing a new divisional rivalry among the newest members makes perfect sense. It’s not the SEC’s job to preserve Big 12 rivalries. If the Big 12 can’t keep its conference members together, then their failure isn’t the SEC’s cross to bear.
So please stop the whining.