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Arkansas AD Long Wants Missouri In The West

Arkansas athletic director Jeff Long caused a bit of a stir soon after Missouri’s entry into the SEC was made official.  When asked about divisional alignment, he said Missouri would be in the SEC East “initially.”

Initially?

We stated yesterday that we frankly didn’t know what the heck he meant by that.  Missouri to the East saves all of the SEC’s current rivalries which was a goal of the league in expanding — change as little as possible.  Why would the league put Mizzou in the East only to move them back out again… especially if the league isn’t looking to expand to 16 (and it isn’t).

Well now Long has shed some more light on his Missouri views… and it sounds like Long’s “initially” comment was grounded more in hope than fact.


“We would like to see Missouri in the West.  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.  Again, that’s one school of 14′s opinion, but I hope we look at that over time.”

For every Arkansas who wants Missouri in the West, there’s an Alabama or a Tennessee who wants them in the East in order to protect already-established SEC rivalries.

Missouri — on a map — should be in the West Division.  But the ACC and the Big Ten paid no attention to the map in their divisional set-ups.  Neither does the SEC now.

If the SEC had used a map in 1992, Auburn would be in the East and Vanderbilt in the West.

Would Missouri and Arkansas be a good rivalry to kickstart?  No doubt.  From a conference perspective, not at the expense of an existing SEC rivalry.

 


82 comments
Stan McCarty
Stan McCarty

I am so happy to be in the SEC I have no problem with any plan the SEC has for Mizzou. East, West, Aggie, or Arky. All is good.

tdfalls
tdfalls

Personally I don't care what division that Mizzou plays in. Us Mizzou fans should just be happy that we are members of the SEC!

CircusIsInTown
CircusIsInTown

John posted it a couple of days ago but any chance goes to a north / south alignment. It preserves Bama-Tenn, the Iron Bowl. the Cocktail Party, etc.... It also makes it easier when/if 16 teams ever comes about for 4 divisions

North: Mizzou, UK, Vandy, UT, USC, UGA, Ark
South: A&M, LSU, MSU, AU, UF, Bama, Ole Miss

Homer
Homer

I have always wondered why there has to be 2 divisions. I think it would be great if each team has 2 other teams they always play and then the rest is a random pick from a hat, and then the 2 best teams go to the championship. This year that might give LSU and Alabama a rematch. It might also keep one division from being considered the weak division and each team would get too play other teams more often rather than play only one new team every 2 years.

nchawg
nchawg

First off, Welcome to the SEC Missouri. As a Razorback fan, I am going to differ from Jeff Long and most of the Hog fans posting on here. Missouri is no more of a "natural" rival for Arkansas than Ole Miss, Mississippi State, LSU or Tennessee. These are all schools in border states with Arkansas. Culturally, Arkansas is a better fit with its SEC border foes. The LSU rivalry, though perhaps one sided in its intensity, means more to Arkansas fans than Missouri will every mean. I think the majority of Hog fans screaming for Missouri are Northwest Arkansas folks who think the U of A is U of NWA. I'm indifferent about playing Missouri in football. It might turn into a rivalry in basketball but I doubt it will ever be one in football. As far as playing them in KC is concerned, not just no but hell no. If we get stuck with Missouri in football as a east west permanent rival then it should be played on the campuses.

GeauxState
GeauxState

Relax Mizzou fans and welcom! I'm sure when the SEC goes to an nine game conference schedule you guys will get Arkansas yearly game. But I think it's important for you guys to play that A&M game for recruiting. Personally I think the division are set up just fine.

Josey Wales Sr
Josey Wales Sr

I say in 24 to 36 months (sooner if necessary) bring in OU and OSU to the West, move Mizzou to West and move Auburn & Alabama to East - keeps current rivalries in place, strengthens East and West ... just my Missourah opinion

jafo220
jafo220

First of all, like other Mizzou fans here, I am also giddy about finally belonging to a real conference that isn't in constant upheavil. The SEC is the premier college football conference in the world!

As far as the rivalry goes, thats the nice thing about being in the SEC, they will do whats right for.......the SEC. Not a particular school. This is the problem the Big 12 has right now and the reason Mizzou wanted out. I like either Ark. or A&M for rivalries. I do think that Mizzou in the East would be the better conference for them. The SEC West is a tough conference, not taking anything away from the East, cause the SEC as a whole is no cake walk to play in.

As far as recruiting goes, Mizzou can still get the same quality players from Texas reguardless whether they play A&M or not. The connections have already been layed there. The challenge for Mizzou will be trying to tapp into the states of Louisiana, Georgia, Alabama and Florida for recruiting. Now that were in the SEC, it may open a few doors that were not open before.

Mike in TX
Mike in TX

I'm happy to have Mizzou in as #14, but I don't see why they should get to choose / demand a particular rival.

Clearly the best solution for the conference as a whole is Mizzou to the East with Arkansas as their permanent rival. Mizzou-Arky would quickly turn into a great natural rivalry, would be a shame not to let that be born. About the only person who doesn't like this is Gary Pinkel.

SEC-MIZ
SEC-MIZ

MIZZOU fan here....First, I am absolutely giddy about being in the SEC. The amount of love already received from our new conference has been amazing! Haven't experience anything remotely close since the Big 8 was our home.

I would love for Arkansas to be a yearly game. The East makes sense considering the proximity of Vandy, Tenn and Kentucky. They have discussed the cross-divisonal rival...I understand why its A&M for now, but I hope that changes to Arkansas in the near future. I don't buy the Texas recruiting/A&M thing. Those pipelines are open and will remain as most players would love to play for an SEC team.

MIZSEC
MIZSEC

East, West, North or South, I'm just psyched to be reading articles about what is next for Mizzou in the SEC instead of whether it's going to happen. From a Missouri perspective the East works great. A little map work shows that Lexington, Knoxville and Nashville are relatively close to Missouri. In the Western Division, the only school that's somewhat close is Arkansas. Look forward to lots of future road trips. Just glad to be a member of the SEC!!!

Otto
Otto

The success of the SEC has been on keeping the most important rivals together. Aub/UF was the only game that could routinely get high TV ratings that was split. UF still has UT, UGA, and LSU Auburn still has UGA and the biggest rival matchup in CFB the Iron Bowl.

The BigXII was dead the moment OU and Nebraska were split. The B1G will not split tOSU and UM. The ACC will not split FSU and the U. We'll see if Texas lawmakers allow Texas to cry and break off TAMU/Texas.

This site posted an article on the distances from Mizzou to the other campuses. yes Mizzou does travel a little more for the east but in most instances not much. Mizzou also gets help in getting up to speed in the SEC by having games in Texas (assuming TAMU is their rival), Florida and Georgia, the most fertile recruiting grounds in the SEC.

Is Mizzou and Arkansas meeting yearly worth giving up The 3rd weekend in Oct? In my opinion not even close and I have no ties to UT or Bama. Keep Bama/UT. Arkansas can be thankful they are not at the mercy of Texas wims. Arkansas also gets major help with their program with the addition of TAMU.

Stone
Stone

Why not go back to two cross division rivals like it was several years ago. Texas A&M and Missouri in the West and Auburn goes to the East. Everybody is happy.

Statesman
Statesman

Mizzou has 35 players from Texas on the roster and needs to play A&M every year to keep some presence in Texas for recruiting. Those saying just schedule games against schools in Texas. It is not that simple, nor does it serve the purpose. Playing SMU or Houston with their 30,000 fans is not the same enviroment as playing A&M and 80,000 plus. Recruits want to play the bigger schools in their home state. Would Fla. St. tell a kid out of Tenn. come play for us and we will schedule Vandy?

In addition I see right through the Arkansas AD. He wants his cake and to eat it to. Making Mizzou Arkansas permanent cross rival removes Mizzou from Texas on a regular basis. We have competed with Arkansas for players in Texas recently and if we are visiting Texas once every 6 years then we lose the Arkansas recruiting contest. Also Arkansas continues to come into Missouri and attempt to recruit. Telling Missouri players that they can play their home state school once a year is a nice recruiting tool.

Jamie Thornton
Jamie Thornton

THis is really easy if you make Missouri-Arkansas cross-rivals. They would play each season. THe USC-Arkansas game isn't some great rivalry game.

Andy
Andy

The Alabama vs Tennessee rivalry should not trump what is best for the conference. Arkansas and Missouri should get their #1 rivalry game before Alabama gets their #2 rivalry game.

Now, didn't Coach Saban state when he was questioned about Missouri a couple weeks ago and the potential effect on the rivalry with Tennesse say something like "When does that happen . . . 2025?". Are you sure there is no "deal" struck for a future change? I also thought it was the USC prez that stated Mizzou would be in the East "initially", not Arkansas. Did I get that wrong? If both are true, it seems like a deal was struck.

Milo Moon
Milo Moon

Mizzou to the east is an easy fix for the next two years. After that the SEC will have time to actually examine the schools and schedules and can plan on the best course to go forward from there. So while Mizzou to the east might be the first option, it might not be the long term option.

Hollowhawg
Hollowhawg

So developing new rivalries is not important ? Seems like a Texas point of view. Protect the old powers that be at the expense of the newer "partners"? I am all for traditions but if you want to expand and grow revenues, then everyone has to participate in the compromise.

hog
hog

Move Alabama to the east.

Mark
Mark

First off, as a Missouri fan I am proud as hell to be in the SEC. I never thought I'd see the day we would join the best conference in the country. Believe it or not there are some of us in Missouri that live and die college football. I listen to 94.5 The JOX out of Birmingham every day. Anyhow, I'd love to have Arkansas as a yearly opponent, but I understand the desire to keep the traditional rivalry games. MU to the East is cool and A&M as our cross over rival is fine. The rivalry between Arkansas and MU in other sports like basketball should be great. Love this web site btw. Great job whoever runs it.

Minnemo
Minnemo

I now hate all things Penn State and will even root for Texas or anyone else when they play them (that includes Kansas) in anything. They have disgraced themselves and college athletics.

Rob
Rob

I'm just guessing, but I think Long was probably having fun with Arkansas fans, more then anything. He seems to do that a lot and I believe you even mentioned his tweet hinting that Arkansas might wear black uniforms for the South Carolina game, but they didn't. Some Arkansas fans want to add black to the uniform and he was teasing them. Similarly, some Arkansas fans want Missouri in the West. Long probably would like them in the West also, but he's probably sending a message to Arkansas fans that he's doing what he can, which as noted here, probably isn't much.

one90
one90

bpa_kc is right on the money. Missouri - Arkansas as common opponents makes all the sense in the world. There is no rivalry per se with USC - Arkansas. The only reason they were paired with each other in the first place was because they were the new kids on the block and other teams in the conference had established rivalries. Pair Missouri - Arkansas and Texas A&M - USC. Case closed.

JDS
JDS

First, let me say that this MU Tiger is THRILLED to be in the SEC. Thrilled!

But I won't lie - I'm a little disappointed that it looks like we're going to be coming into the conference, but won't get to play our most natural rival - Arkansas - on a yearly basis. No matter what has been said, there is no "existing rivalry" between MU and A&M. We've simply been conference mates in the Big XII for the last 15 years, but only played twice every 4 years - most of which were pretty unremarkable games.

I know Pinkel and the Missouri coaches actually want A&M for the recruiting aspects in Texas, so that we can maintain our pipelines there - and that's a valid concern and a lone positive to keeping the annual game with A&M. But from the perspective of the fans, alumni and supporters, most of us would have preferred Arkansas, or maybe Ole Miss, as the cross division rival.

Glenn
Glenn

Yes Missouri should be in the west . It makes sense on a map but....? Good grief everyone either laughs or is indifferent to the silliness that the Big 10 and ACC have come up with as far as splitting their divisions . The SEC should be above that . I'm glad the Arkansas AD didn't bring up that map thing or God forbid mention the Missouri is the gateway to the west blasphemy .or that the state is bigger than any SEC state and entirely sits west of the Mississippi . Auburn should be in the east . This is where I step all over toes and mention again .......Tennessee vs Alabama shouldn't trump what is best overall for the conference .

I love your site John but I strongly disagree with you on this one . If rivalries trump all why was there an expansion ? Yeah I'm a UGA grad and I guess if Auburn was off our schedule I would moan but gees atleast UGA vs Auburn is an entertaining game . Throw UT a bone .

John
John

I think a North-South division makes the most sense, but will never happen.

North: Mizzou, UK, Vandy, UT, USC, UGA, Ark
South: A&M, LSU, MSU, AU, UF, Bama, Ole Miss

CircusIsInTown
CircusIsInTown

you have to have divisions to have a championship game - thats NCAA rules

nchawg
nchawg

Love the screen name BTW "Josey Wales". I have no interest in seeing the Big 12 recreated in the SEC West. OU and OSU are fine schools and OU is one of the top 5 football power houses, but they need to stay put. If Arkansas wanted to play a Big 12 schedule then we would just move to the Big 12, which if that happened, I would probably shoot myself.

bamahead
bamahead

Pinkel might soften up a bit once he realizes that FL and GA are just as fruitful (if not more) of a recruting ground as Texas.

deltaboy
deltaboy

Amen & amen! The pattern that addresses almost all of the concerns is Missouri to the East, Ark.-Mo. and A&M-USC as permanent cross-divisional rivals, & a nine game conference schedule [6-1-2, not 6-2-1].

one90
one90

Gamecock fan here and I agree with your rationale 100%. Welcome to the SEC. We'll see you in Columbia every year.

Otto
Otto

The pipelines are open but exposure helps. I would point to Clemson/UGA ending their series and S. Car entering the SEC at the sametime. http://www.cfbdatawarehouse.com/ has the records. Clemson has not won an ACC championship since they stopped the yearly series with UGA. S. Car. had not won a bowl game before joining the SEC.

GeauxState
GeauxState

Columbia is a great town ( Shakespears Pizza is great and the whole district is nice). I have family there and always been a fan of Mizzou when they're not playing another SEC school and have been to some baseball and football games when there. Looking forward to tailgaiting with you guys and bring our tailgating tradition towards you guys. M-I-Z-Z-O-U!!!

Otto
Otto

Not a fan of 2 cross division rivals and 1 on rotation with 9 game SEC schedule. The rotation would take 12 years to get the rotation around to games like Bama/UGA or Aub/UF rather than 6.

Ark and Mizou have no history. Why try to create a rivalry at the expense of existing games?

Andy
Andy

I agree. This is the solution with a 9 game season. Then you could also put some new match ups that would drive some true national attention: Texas A&M vs Flordia or Georgia or Tennessee, etc. Need to leverage the large markets available throughout the conference to increase visibility even more.

Jones
Jones

Should of thought of that b4 ya left the b12

Andy
Andy

Problem is that Texas A&M and USC as a rivalry game doesn't make sense either. Mizzour and Texas A&M at least has some history. However, I agree that Mizzou should play Arkansas every year. It will eventually take a division realignment.

David
David

There are ways to get that without sacrificing Tenn-Alabama, it's not the sole thing "standing in the way"

You're probably going to see something that amounts to every single president and AD putting in their 2 cents on what changes in scheduling they want to see (mainly for their schools)

David
David

....you might be stretching all that a bit

David
David

Won't happen; just as many problems

johnmrsec
johnmrsec

Glenn...

No problem. I just said what would happen (Mizzou to the East with A&M as cross-divisional rival) and it happened. Folks can like it, dislike it, that's up to them.

The next trick will be working out the schedule... and the SEC will go with nine-games in part to make sure Arkansas/Missouri play twice every six years.

As for the map thing, the league believes competitive balance is more important -- as do most leagues -- and that has proven to have worked pretty good so far. Vandy in the East and Auburn in the West has worked... no way around it.

Thanks for reading the site and for the kind words,
John

David
David

Terribly unbalanced, unfortunately (even with consideration towards the rotational nature of programs going up while others go down, etc)

You also lose either The Deep South's Oldest Rivalry (UGA-Auburn) or the World's Largest Outdoor (Cocktail) Party (UGA-UF), two longstanding rivalries.

And of course you make Tennessee have to choose between giving up the Third Saturday in October (UT-Bama) and the UT-UF game...not that it'd necessarily be an overly difficult choice, it just puts them in a possible position to be viewed as "at fault" for whatever decision was made towards rivalry preservation

StevenBrew
StevenBrew

Thanks one90. And congrats on your recent success in baseball and football. I hope joining you folks will help out our baseball recruiting enough to get back to Omaha. I believe it will.
M-I-Z!!

one90
one90

By the way. Agreeing with SEC-MIZ's post.

MIZSEC
MIZSEC

Look forward to welcoming the whole SEC family. Loving it.

Hog Fan
Hog Fan

That's true. Despite the proximity of the schools, they've only played each other five times.

David
David

USC-Arkansas doesn't make that much sense either - it was essentially "the new guys"

In fact the original setup to further integrate these teams (for the first 10 years) was two non-rotating cross-divisional opponents across the conference

Arkansas played Tennessee & Carolina

South Carolina played Arkansas and Mississippi State

Glenn
Glenn

Switching Vandy to the east and putting Auburn in the west is nothing . Is Nashville even forty miles west of Auburn ? That is a simple tweak . Putting Missouri in the east is forcing a round peg into a square opening . Its not a natural fit . Now that the west has gained power with Arkansas , LSU , and Alabama all top ten teams putting Auburn in the east would now restore the competitive balance that you have mentioned . Granted there will always be a power shift from time to time . Yes the SEC should work on a 9 game schedule so Alabama and Tennessee can still play each other every three years not Missouri ans Arkansas .

John Blair
John Blair

It is just as unbalanced in basketball but in the other direction. Thus it does work out. You can also create a waiver for the AU-GA game. GA would be able to waive playing MO.

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