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SEC Football: Missouri and Arkansas to Become New Cross-Division Rivals

Arkansas fans will be chomping at the bit for revenge on Missouri.
Arkansas fans will be chomping at the bit for revenge on Missouri.
Dan IrwinCorrespondent IIMarch 8, 2012

When the idea first surfaced in Columbia that the Tigers might be heading south to join the SEC, one of the first things that came to the minds of Mizzou fans was the possibility of a new "Border War" against Arkansas.

But the SEC had other ideas. When the announcement was made that Missouri would become the league's 14th member, SEC Commissioner Mike Slive revealed that the Tigers would be in the East division.

Even Arkansas Athletic Director Jeff Long weighed in on the situation.

“We would like to see Missouri in the West,” Long said when Missouri was announced in the East on November 6th. “We think that makes sense from our standpoint, having them in the West, playing them on a regular basis. ...Long-term I hope there is an opportunity to look at Missouri in the West."

But with the excitement that has already been generated over having teams like Georgia, Florida and South Carolina as regular opponents for Mizzou, Long's wishes matter little.

But having Missouri and Texas A&M as cross-division rivals made about as much sense as cooking a frozen pizza for Thanksgiving dinner. Leaving the closest SEC school to Missouri off their schedule just wasn't adding up.

South Carolina president Harris Pastides, has recently indicated that SEC rivals may be shuffling up for the 2013 season and beyond.

"Arkansas is a long way off," Pastides told ABC Columbia in South Carolina. "Arkansas and Missouri have kind of buddied up because they are neighboring states and wanted to play each other. That left the opportunity for us to think about Texas A&M, I'd love to know what the fans think."

Arkansas basketball coach Mike Anderson will receive quite the reception when he steps back into Columbia.
Arkansas basketball coach Mike Anderson will receive quite the reception when he steps back into Columbia.Wesley Hitt/Getty Images

South Carolina fans overwhelmingly approved playing Texas A&M every year in a poll.

The Tigers and Razorbacks have twice played each other in football in the last 10 years, most recently with Missouri winning a historic Cotton Bowl confrontation that saw Missouri running back Tony Temple set a new Cotton Bowl rushing touchdown record.

And by the way, there just might be a little bit of a rivalry on the basketball court with Arkansas basketball coach Mike Anderson coming back to Columbia.

Anderson's classless exit from Columbia, in which he continually voiced his allegiance to Missouri, yet days later bolted for the school of his former mentor Nolan Richardson, has still left a bitter taste in the mouth of Missouri athletics.

Which makes for an interesting future basketball series.

Fans will be waiting while SEC athletic director's votes are taken, which happens after the SEC basketball tournament ends. As of today, nothing is 100 percent official.

Don't tell that to Missouri fans though—or Arkansas fans for that matter. Both are just as eager to begin a new rivalry that is sure to show everyone in the SEC what rivalries are all about.

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