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Missouri as an SEC Member

DALLAS - JANUARY 1: Head coach Gary Pinkel of the Missouri Tigers looks on against the Arkansas Razorbacks during the AT&T Cotton Bowl Classic on January 1, 2008 at the Cotton Bowl in Dallas, Texas. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
Ronald Martinez/Getty Images
Jake ShoorContributor IJune 14, 2010

Signs increasingly point to the Texas A&M Aggies heading to the SEC, even if the Texas Longhorns opt for allying with CA. A Houston Chronicle headline from this evening declares:"A&M On Verge Of Making an SEC Exchange" ( http://www.chron.com/disp/story.mpl/sports/college/texasam/7051484.html ).

That being the case, I think a few comments on the SEC's 14th team are in order. I have previously made a case for WVU: http://bleacherreport.com/articles/405006-the-value-of-tamu-and-wvu-to-the-sec  If the SEC were to add WVU and A&M, the former would fit snugly into the East division and A&M into the West. 

But would the SEC prefer to add another team from the Big 12 and/or TX? If Texas and Oklahoma both continue on the path to the Pac, taking TTU and Okie ST with them, other Big 12 schools remain. And at least one of them is a much better package, with more potential than TTU and Okie St combined.

Not only has the Big Ten snubbed Missouri, but its has done so in a way that most Missouri people find at least mildly offensive. Even if many Missouri academic and governmental officials would like to access the snob appeal (to Midwesterners) of the Big Ten, many others, especially involved with sports, would prefer the SEC.

MO borders three Big Ten states (now that NE is one), which means if in the SEC, MO would serve the league as another block on the Big Ten as it strives to persuade talent from Southern states to play in the Midwest. 

Also, if the SEC adds Missouri, it will control the west bank of the Mississippi with three states: MO, AR, LA.

The Tigers' Faurot Field seats 71,000 now. It is anybody's guess how large it would be after a decade playing SEC football. An annual border state rivalry with Arkansas would become bigger than the game with Kansas has ever been, and that would make the St. Louis and Kansas City markets extremely valuable.

If the SEC were to add A&M and Missouri, East/West divisions would not make sense. But there is not law that says a conference's divisions must be geographic. The SEC could become innovative.

For example, it could place A&M, Mizzou, Arkansas, LSU, Alabama, Auburn, and Vanderbilt in one division, with Kentucky, Tennessee, Georgia, South Carolina, Florida, Ole Miss, and Mississippi State in the other. Those divisions could have these annual cross-divisional rivalry games:

Alabama-Tennessee

Auburn-Georgia

LSU-Ole Miss

Vanderbilt-Kentucky

Arkansas-South Carolina

Missouri-Mississippi State

Texas A&M-Florida

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