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Sallee: The Missouri Move To The SEC

CollegeFootballNews.com
Posted Nov 7, 2011


Week 10 5 Thoughts - Sallee: Missouri's big move to the big league

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- Cirminiello: Not buying into Oklahoma State yet
- Fiutak: Does Oklahoma deserve to be in the BCS hunt?
- Harrison: Joe Paterno's on-field issues  
- Zemek: Joe Paterno's off-field issues
- Sallee: Missouri's move to the SEC
- Johnson: Weeden deserves the Heisman hype

By: Barrett Sallee
Follow me on Twitter: @BarrettSallee

The worst kept secret in college football became official on Sunday morning, as Missouri was officially added to the SEC. According to the SEC, the Tigers will join the conference in July 2012, and will compete in the SEC East.

I know, I know. The thought of Missouri playing in the SEC doesn’t move the meter for SEC traditionalists. After all, Missouri is hardly a football powerhouse, and football is really all that matters in the SEC.

This isn’t about tradition or football prowess, it’s about money. Television money, in particular.

Missouri brings the St. Louis and Kansas City TV markets along with it, which are No. 21 and 31, respectively. Those markets are in addition to the Dallas-Ft. Worth (No. 5) and Houston (No. 10) markets that the SEC already added with the addition of Texas A&M.

More money means a better television deal, and a better television deal means even better days ahead for the best conference in the country.

Can you imagine SEC commissioner Mike Slive going to ESPN and CBS executives and saying, “hey look, I have four more of the top 31 TV markets?” That sound you hear is the Brinks truck backing up to the SEC offices in Birmingham.

Will it be odd to see Missouri in the East, when it geographically belongs in the West? A little bit. But geography is more of a guideline than a rule. Otherwise, Auburn would have been in the East and Vanderbilt would have been in the West since the divisional split in 1992. The fact that Missouri will be in the East won’t make a big impact on travel. The average distance from Columbia, Mo. to SEC West schools is 610 miles. The average distance to SEC East schools is 685 miles (h/t Dave Matter).

The move to put Missouri in the East tells me that the SEC is done expanding for the foreseeable future.

If Missouri was placed in the West, Auburn would likely move to the East and become Alabama’s annual cross-divisional opponent. The objection to that move is that Alabama and Tennessee’s annual rivalry would come to an end. But if the SEC honestly thought that it could get to 16 within the next two seasons, Alabama and Tennessee could be scheduled as rotating opponents for the next two seasons, and then the conference could figure out how to keep that rivalry in tact after the next round of expansion.

Missouri to the SEC is progress, SEC fans. Big progress. Love it, embrace it and welcome it; because the SEC will be better for it.

- Cirminiello: Not buying into Oklahoma State yet
- Fiutak: Does Oklahoma deserve to be in the BCS hunt?
- Harrison: Joe Paterno's on-field issues  
- Zemek: Joe Paterno's off-field issues
- Sallee: Missouri's move to the SEC
- Johnson: Weeden deserves the Heisman hype