Expansion continues to be top of mind across the SEC and the country today. Jon Solomon of The Birmingham News caught up with a couple of SEC power-brokers to discuss what the future might hold nationally… and locally.
New Tennessee AD Dave Hart believes it’s time for fans to strap in, because realignment is on the way:
“If it’s A&M or if the Pac-12 moves, somebody is going to push the start button. I can’t predict the timing of it. But it’s potentially coming quicker than people would have imagined a couple yeas ago.
Everybody’s posturing right now, as you can well imagine. They better be. They’ve got to have ducks in a row. They’ve got to play out the contingencies.”
One contingency is that the SEC will expand to the West for the two teams — with Missouri possibly joining Texas A&M — which might force Auburn into the SEC East (where it almost landed when the league initially expanded 19 years ago).
AU president Jay Gogue says his school would be willing to do what’s in he best interest of the conference:
“If that’s what it took, if you ever went to 14 and need to make it work, that wouldn’t be something I would be upset about. I don’t see any real difference. We already play Georgia, a longtime rival.”
Historically speaking, Auburn has played Florida, Georgia and Tennessee more often than it has played Ole Miss, LSU and Arkansas.
But Gogue also said that he does not expect the SEC to make “any real push to get to 14.” That’s a different stance than several other league presidents and ADs.
“We could easily say, ‘Texas A&M, we want you to meet all the schools in the Southeast, so this year you’ll play in the West, next year you play in the East.’ If a 14th came around and everybody was all excited, that would be fine.”