Posted on: September 20, 2011 2:32 pm
Edited on: September 20, 2011 3:40 pm
Posted by Jerry Hinnen
If the version of events provided by a booster who has spoken to the Kansas City Star is accurate, Missouri is likely on its way towards becoming the SEC's 14th school.
According to the Star, that booster has spoken directly to a Mizzou official who has told him (or her) that the SEC "has an offer on the table for Missouri to join its league." That offer would be accepted as soon as the breakup of the Big 12 is finally made official--a fate that as Big 12 Board of Directors chairman, Missouri chancellor Brady Deaton has been working to avoid.
After yesterday's vote by the Oklahoma and Texas Boards of regents to allow their presidents to make their schools' final decisions on conference afficilation -- a move widely seen as a precursor to one or both schools jumping ship for the Pac-12, and effectively dissolving the Big 12 -- it seems highly likely that despite Deaton's efforts, that breakup is at hand.
According to the Star report, the SEC approached Missouri in 2010 but was rebuffed as the Tigers pledged their allegiance to the Big 12 and the Big Ten passed on issuing Mizzou an invitation.
However, SEC associate commissioner Charles Bloom stated Tuesday that no invitation -- official or otherwise -- has been issued to Missouri or any other school, this year or last. "The SEC has not extended an invitation to any school beyond Texas A&M since it extended invitations to Arkansas and South Carolina," Bloom said.
Of course, we're not sure if we'd take that at face value; the legal snafus already surrounding A&M's attempted departure show how carefully the SEC will tread whenever legal interference in the Big 12's contracts might be an issue.
If admitted to the SEC, Missouri would potentially force a realignment of the SEC's two divisions, with eight "West" teams and only six "East" teams. The most popular realignment scenario involves shifting Auburn to the East, a move Auburn president Jay Gogue has already said he would not oppose.
Posted on: September 9, 2011 11:50 am
Posted by Jerry Hinnen
With Texas A&M still intent on making the jump to the SEC and the SEC still intent on catching A&M when they do, not even the threat of legal action from half the Big 12 has tamped down the rampant speculation about what might be next step in the SEC's expansion plans.
Much of that speculation has centered on the possibility of Mike Slive adding a second West team along with the Aggies, and Auburn -- the easternmost current West team and a program with more traditional rivalries in the East than West anyway -- shifting to the SEC East. That speculation has become widespread enough that Auburn president Jay Gogue was asked about the possibility Thursday, and told the Birmingham News he'd readily sign off on such a move.
"If that's what it took, if you ever went to 14 [teams] and needed to make it work, that wouldn't be something I would be upset about," Gogue said. "I don't see any real difference. We already play Georgia, a longtime rival."
Gogue added that the move would reestablish his Tigers' annual series against Florida and Tennessee, while the Iron Bowl would be preserved (of course) as the two teams' designated cross-divisional game.
At the same time, Gogue said that he didn't see such a move as necessarily directly around the corner:
"I don't think there'd be any real push to get to 14, at least there wouldn't be from my perspective," Gogue said. "We could really 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."Gogue's hypothetical plan would seem to put off SEC team No. 14 until 2014--at least one year longer than most observers would expect, and closer to two. But given the hurdles the SEC is encountering just in adding A&M and that the Aggies are already contemplating independence for a year as the legal wrangling is resolved, it's possible he's closer to the truth than most would believe.
For more on SEC expansion, check out Tony Barnhart's rundown of potential 14th members and video of former league commissioner Roy Kramer discussing the issue on the Tim Brando Show.
Posted on: February 16, 2011 5:17 pm
Edited on: February 16, 2011 5:55 pm
Posted by Jerry Hinnen
Georgia has the Hedges, Ole Miss the Grove, and at Auburn Tiger fans have the 130 year-old live oaks that sit at famous Toomer's Corner and are "rolled" after Tiger victories. But sadly, thanks to the work of one unknown vandal, Auburn may not have them much longer.
The University announced this afternoon that the trees have been intentionally poisoned with a lethal dose of herbicide, and though every effort is being made to save them, are unlikely to survive. A police investigation has been launched to identify the vandal.
In the biggest twist behind the story, the only-in-Alabama tip that alerted Auburn authorities to the poisoning may also become the lead towards apprehending the culprit:
The university learned that a caller to The Paul Finebaum Show, a nationally syndicated radio show based in Birmingham, on Jan. 27, claimed he had applied the herbicide. As a precaution, soil samples were taken the next day ... and sent to the lab at Mississippi State University in Starkville, Miss., to expedite results.
Though not officially confirmed by the Auburn release, the caller is widely believed to be an aggrieved Alabama fan. For weeks, fan chatter in the state has discussed the possibility of "retaliation" for Auburn fan pranks that included placing a Cam Newton jersey on the on-campus statue of Bear Bryant, later affixing an AU national championship sticker on the statue, and somehow growing this year's Iron Bowl score in the lawn outside Bryant-Denny Stadium (though news of the latter only surfaced after the call to Finebaum). Such is the atmosphere that the release includes a message from Auburn president Jay Gogue asking Tiger fans to refrain from any acts of retaliation of their own:
"It is understandable to feel outrage in reaction to a malicious act of vandalism," Gogue said. "However, we should live up to the example we set in becoming national champions and the beliefs expressed in our Auburn Creed. Individuals act alone, not on behalf of anyone or any place, and all universities are vulnerable to and condemn such reprehensible acts."
Though, again, Alabama isn't mentioned, the reference to other universities makes it clear that Gogue knows where the ire of Tiger fans will be directed.
Whether the motivation for the vandal was indeed revenge against Auburn or not, what's certain is that someone has committed an act of vandalism that will be virtually impossible to repair. With any luck -- for both the feelings of Auburn fans stung by the news and for the efforts to make sure this incident is the last on either side -- that person will be apprehended soon.UPDATE: Finebaum has re-released the audio from the call in question , in which "Al from Dadeville" expresses his anger at the Newton jersey prank and the almost certainly apocryphal story that Auburn fans rolled Toomer's when Bryant passed away. He then claims to have poisoned the trees, and signs off with "Roll Damn Tide." Unless this is an astonishing coincidence, the answer to the question at the top of this post is "yes."