If the SEC were to expand and add Texas A&M and another member from the Big 12 (Oklahoma or Missouri, for argument’s sake), the big question would be: How will the league divvy up its 14 schools?
The simplest plan — and a plan that we believe would be A-1 on top of Mike Slive’s list of options — is one that Kevin Scarbinsky of The Birmingham News writes of today.
Auburn would move to the SEC East.
That’s not far-fetched, folks. There was debate when the SEC split into divisions 19 years ago over the placement of Auburn and Vanderbilt. Grab a map and you’ll see that Auburn is actually a good bit east of Nashville.
Also — as Scarbinsky points out here – the Tigers have a deeper history with teams in the SEC East than with many of the teams in the SEC West.
Here are the five league schools Auburn has faced most often in football:
1. Georgia — 114 games (the oldest rivalry in the Deep South)
2. Mississippi State — 84 games
3. Florida — 82 games
4. Alabama — 75 games
5. Tennessee — 51 games
The Tigers have played Georgia, Florida and Tennessee more than they’ve played Ole Miss, LSU and, obvisously, Arkansas. For that reason, moving Auburn east would be quicker and less painful than just about any other scenario.
The Iron Bowl game would become the permanent non-divisional game for both Auburn and Alabama. And, yes, that could mean two AU-UA games each year if both schools won their divisions. (Sidenote — If the SEC wanted to preserve the ancient Alabama-Tennessee rivalry, it might consider going back to having two permanent non-divisional rivals for each school.)
Either way, if the SEC adds just two teams and both come from west of the Mississippi River, we at MrSEC.com would fully expect the league’s divisions to shakeout as follows:
|Missouri or Oklahoma
As we’ve said time and again, however, we believe we’re still a long way from the SEC announcing any new editions to its roster of schools.