Coaches often say things that are in their own best interest but if you get past the rolling of the eyes part sometimes they say things that actually make sense.
While chatting with SEC Network after his podium time during SEC Media Days, Mike Leach of Mississippi State – the self-proclaimed pirate and frequent visitor to the Conch Republic – said almost in passing that he would like to see Alabama and Auburn in the SEC East so he doesn’t have to face those schools, plus Oklahoma and Texas, every year in the West.
Upon further review, it’s a really good idea.
Now that the conference has expanded to the Southwest and already has the Great Plains in Missouri, plus Arkansas, Leach’s comment is logical and makes some geographic sense of today’s wild conference expansions.
Having Alabama and Auburn in the East also somewhat evens things out in that weaker division and it also will give a little more “oomph” into the Third Saturday of October, the Alabama-Tennessee rivalry. It will also rekindle the Auburn-Tennessee games, which for years took place in late September. Plus, having the Tide play Georgia and Florida on an annual basis is something all fans (well with the possible exception of those ‘Tween the Hedges and in The Swamp) and in particular ESPN will relish.
It would also help Arkansas and Missouri. The Hogs have always kind of been on the outside looking in ever since joining the SEC in 1991 and having Texas join the league gives them something of a reunion with an ol’ Southwest Conference opponent. Yeah, Texas A&M was in the SWC, too, but the Aggies for some reason seem to always be lone stars even in the Lone Star state.
As for Missouri, the Tigers have been on an island in the SEC, way out there and hardly a thought to any other school and certainly fans of the other SEC schools. The fact the Tigers twice won the SEC East and played in the conference championship game – longtime SEC member Tennessee hasn’t played in it since 2007 – seems to be forgotten or overlooked. This would give the school some recognition in areas closer to home.
To take Leach’s suggestion one step further, here is PubClub.com’s proposed SEC divisions.
Proposed SEC Divisions After The Addition Of Oklahoma And Texas
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