Early Sunday morning, the Southeastern Conference made it official (no, for real this time). The University of Missouri will join the SEC and compete in all sports for the 2012-13 academic year.
ESPN’s Andy Katz reports that the Tigers will join the SEC East. GatorSports.com’s Pat Dooley reports the same. UPDATE: Dooley’s story is up now. These are credible enough sources to say with some safety that the league chose the least disruptive option in determining conference alignments for the two new members of the country’s premier college conference.
These reports also validate the news from late last month, when it was learned that Missouri had the necessary votes to enter the league barring any legal obstacles and pursuant to the divisional alignment that puts Texas A&M in the SEC West and Missouri in the SEC East.
There were a solid bloc of “NO” votes in the conference if Missouri and Texas A&M both entered the SEC West and it appears that the sanity that bloc insisted on has prevailed.
Eventually, the league may want to consider a nine-game conference schedule, without which teams in the conference might not see members of the other division on their schedule but once ever 426 years, or something. At least for the 2012 football season, it appears an eight-game conference schedule will be in place, with permanent cross-divisional rivalries such as Alabama – Tennessee and LSU – Florida preserved for well into the future.