Blog Entry

Vol AD: 'Feel strongly we can keep' Tide rivalry

Posted on: October 20, 2011 12:51 pm
Edited on: October 20, 2011 1:12 pm
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Posted by Jerry Hinnen

Thursday is reportedly the day Missouri begins the process of applying for membership in the SEC, an application that virtually no one expects to be rejected--even if the last we heard from the Tigers' conference-of-choice, Mizzou didn't yet have the nine positive votes to join.

The major sticking point for alleged Mizzou-opponent Alabama? The Crimson Tide's cherished "Third Saturday in October" rivalry with Tennessee, which could become a non-annual game if Missouri is added to the (geographically sensible) West division. And with former Alabama athletic staffer Dave Hart now the AD in Knoxville, the Tigers won't get the Volunteers' support, either, if their admission puts the Third Saturday in jeopardy. 

Though Hart doesn't spell that out specifically, it doesn't take a lot of reading between the lines in his Thursday interview with the Birmingham News to see that's the case:

Hart arrived from Alabama as Tennessee's new AD knowing the obvious: Alabama and Tennessee must continue playing football every year.

"The history that rivalry has produced is unparalleled in my mind," Hart said. "I know [Tide AD] Mal [Moore] feels exactly as I do. I feel strongly we can keep it and hope it can go back to the Third Saturday of October where it belongs. It would be a nice cherry on the top if all that would unfold."

By which Hart means returning the game to its rightful place on the calendar on the actual third Saturday in October; the game is currently played on that exact date occasionally (and falls on the fourth Saturday this season).

But first and foremost, the game has to be played at all. If Missouri is added to the West division, one current West team will have to move to the East--and the far-and-away most logical candidate is Auburn, whose president has already stated publicly his Tigers would be happy to make the switch. But that would put Alabama in the position of having both their major annual rivals in the opposite division, with only of those rivalries "protected" as an annual game.

As the News's Jon Solomon points out, the SEC has two options for preserving Vols-Tide: either assign Missouri to the East and keep Auburn in the West (keeping the Vols as the Tide's lone cross-divisional rival), or expand the SEC schedule to nine games and give each team an extra cross-division rival.

Since the latter means unbalanced home-away schedules and a maximum seven home games every other year, don't expect it to get much in the way of support (even if it works for the Pac-12, Big 12, etc.). At this point, the most sensible approach for including Mizzou seems to be to toss the Tigers in with Florida, Georgia and South Carolina, as little geographical sense as that makes.

Because as Hart's comments illustrate, adding the Tigers to the West means push would have to come to shove somewhere--and that somewhere might be Missouri not getting added to the SEC at all.

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Comments

Since: Sep 18, 2006
Posted on: October 21, 2011 3:58 pm
 

Vol AD: 'Feel strongly we can keep' Tide rivalry

ala has most of it's historic rivalries in the east.

That is simply not even close to reality.  The only teams ALA played on a yearly basis in the East were VANDY and UT.  In the West they played LSU, MS ST, and AUB yearly, and MS many more times than either UGA or FLA, not to mention UK, that they played only a handful of times before the divison format in 92.

Mo in the conference needs the ark/lsu/a&m love to help to make the transition.

Why. Before the BIG 12, MO had played TX AM 4 times in the regular season, twice in the 50's and twice in the 90's just before the BIG 12 came into existence.  MO has played 0 regular season games against LSU.  MO has played ARK 3 times in the regular season, once in 1906, once in 1944 and once in 1963.

Contrast that with some games against East division teams.  Mo has played UK 2 times in the regular season.  MO has played VANDY times in the regular season.

MO has played more games more recently against East teams, than the teams you mentioned.  It matters not where they put MO, as far as a rivalry standpoint.  If everyone gets hung up on ARK needing to be their permanent crossover game, trade MO for S. CAR and let TX AM play S. CAR each year. 

Putting MO in the East is far less disruptive than moving a single team from where they currently are. 





Since: Sep 18, 2006
Posted on: October 21, 2011 3:34 pm
 

Vol AD: 'Feel strongly we can keep' Tide rivalry

Besides, there are no divisions in BB. So no worries there

Yes there is a worry.  You are correct that they dont have divisions but look at the teams each is playing.  It is still a H & H with each division team and 1 game against the other 6 division teams for a 16 game schedule.  If VANDY moves to the West, that means no H & H with UT and UK.  Big difference.





Since: May 10, 2010
Posted on: October 21, 2011 2:29 pm
 

Vol AD: 'Feel strongly we can keep' Tide rivalry

Let me repeat. There is no division format in basketball in sec! This is new as of the coaches meeting this year!



Since: May 10, 2010
Posted on: October 21, 2011 2:03 pm
 

Vol AD: 'Feel strongly we can keep' Tide rivalry

Actually, Vandy makes the sense. It's in the central time zone and ala has most of it's historic rivalries in the east. Besides, there are no divisions in BB. So no worries there. They abolished them inspire of State's objections. Mo in the conference needs the ark/lsu/a&m love to help to make the transition. Vandy would keep it's ut. Ala and state would keep its 82 on 82 game, lsu and aub would survive and give KY to Mo, ga and sc would get a&m and arky. Divisions only matter in football.



Since: Sep 18, 2006
Posted on: October 21, 2011 12:10 pm
 

Vol AD: 'Feel strongly we can keep' Tide rivalry

My hope is that Mizzou's annual rival would be Arkansas but obviously TA&M makes sense as well.

That can be accomplished with MO in the East.  All that would have to be done is swap S. CAR for MO.  TX AM's permanent crossover could be S. CAR.  That is easier to do, than try and reinvent the wheel by moving existing conference teams to the other division.  Far easier.



Since: Sep 18, 2006
Posted on: October 21, 2011 11:47 am
 

Vol AD: 'Feel strongly we can keep' Tide rivalry

Its really quite easy, move Vandy to the west and move AU and Bama to the east.  Keep the UT vx Bama rivalry.  Keep the AU vs GA rivalry.  Keep the Vandy vs Ole Miss rivarly.  Crossover games as follows. Vandy vs UT.  Bama vs MSU.  AU vs Pickem. 



Cross over rivalry would be better as Al v LSU

Its anything but easy 23.  As bama pointed out, trying to preserve 1 rivalry games leads to mayny falling by the wayside. What about, AUB/LSU, AUB/MS, ALA/ARK and on and on and on. 

What about BB? VANDY is not going to vote for admission for MO if they have to move out of the East leaving behind their 2 biggest rivals, UT and UK.  Not going to happen.

The easiest thing to do is to move MO to the East and be done with it.  No SEC team needs to cater to an SEC wannabe.  Why do you think the reports show MO not having enough votes to get an invite?  ALA and UT are not going to agree to anything that changes the way things are, and they are right.  Why should any existing SEC team have to do anything but play an additional division rival?



Since: Sep 29, 2008
Posted on: October 21, 2011 11:27 am
 

Vol AD: 'Feel strongly we can keep' Tide rivalry

The divide gets even larger? That somehow implies that TA&M is a much better football program? I would say they are probably about even with Mizzou having a slight edge in recent years.



Since: Sep 29, 2008
Posted on: October 21, 2011 11:23 am
 

Vol AD: 'Feel strongly we can keep' Tide rivalry

My hope is that Mizzou's annual rival would be Arkansas but obviously TA&M makes sense as well.



Since: Aug 18, 2010
Posted on: October 21, 2011 11:16 am
 

Vol AD: 'Feel strongly we can keep' Tide rivalry

I find it odd that Tennessee would want to continue the annual beatdown at the hands of Bama.  I undstand why Bama would want it as it is an easy victory, but if UT is cancelling series with UNC because they cannot win that one, what makes them think they want to continue with Bama.  The SEC West is already stronger than the East, and if A&M goes to the West and Missouri to the East, the divide gets even larger. 



Since: Nov 19, 2006
Posted on: October 21, 2011 10:02 am
 

Vol AD: 'Feel strongly we can keep' Tide rivalry

This is really stupid.  The SEC can not do a little math here?  A 13 team conference simply will not work.  Odd numbered Conferences rarely do.  The distance from Columbia Missouri to Gainesville Florida is the same as from Los Angeles California to Boulder Colorado.  If Colorado, USC, and UCLA can travel the 800+ miles every year, why can't Missouri and Florida?  If Alabama and Tennessee have a hissy fit about their meaningless rivalry, just put Missouri in the East, and they can match up with A&M every year.



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