Columnist suggests SEC should swap Missouri for West Virginia
When the SEC officially announced Texas A&M as an expansion program back in 2011, the move made a ton of sense. The Aggies brought in the Texas market to the league, combined with a rich football tradition, a large and passionate fan base, as well as one of the finest stadiums in all of college football.
Missouri, on the other hand, seemed like an odd choice for several reasons, most notably for its geography and the announcement the Tigers would compete in the East division – despite the fact Columbia is west of both Alabama and Mississippi schools, as well as LSU. However, after Mizzou showed itself to be more than capable of competing quickly in the SEC, those concerns were quickly quelled.
Now that Missouri is struggling in the post-Gary Pinkel era, is it time for the SEC to re-evaluate the addition of the school? As the Tigers prepare for a trip to Rocky Top to face Tennessee this weekend, one columnist from Knoxville states his case for removing the Tigers from the league.
In a recent article, Knoxville News Sentinel columnist John Adams argues the SEC should attempt to trade Missouri back to the Big 12 for West Virginia:
The SEC could send Missouri back to the Big 12 and take West Virginia in return. The SEC could even send a few hundred thousand dollars the Big 12’s way just to make the deal more appealing.
The exchange would make more geographic sense for both conferences. Adding West Virginia to the SEC East also would help balance a league that is tilted decidedly to the West.
Kicking Missouri out of the conference for one of the nation’s best teams this season certainly makes sense in 2016, but it’s a very short-sighted way of comparing the two schools.
Since the 2012 season, when both Missouri joined the SEC and West Virginia joined the Big 12, the two records of the schools are not very comparable. Heading into the 2016 season, Missouri held a 33-19 overall record and a 17-15 SEC record, meanwhile, the Mountaineers struggled to transition to a weaker Big 12 league, going 26-25 overall and 15-21 in Big 12 play – it’s easy to imagine West Virginia’s record would have been even worse in the SEC.
If the SEC kicked out every team that struggled, how long would it take before Vanderbilt and Kentucky got the boot? A move the league should take before swapping schools out with other conferences would be moving a West team to the East side in exchange for Mizzou – likely Auburn with its built in rivalries with Georgia, Tennessee, and Florida.
What are your thoughts on any moves the SEC could make to improve the division balance?