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IS AUBURN IN THE WRONG DIVISION?

When there is nothing to talk about on the football field people with involvement in the SEC have to turn their attention to different topics when the media comes calling. This is exactly what happened in May when former Auburn coach Pat Dye was a guest on the Paul Finebaum Show.

The interview was wide-ranging and pretty interesting considering the lack of anything happening on the gridiron, with one particular segment of the conversation making news after the event. Basically, Dye is another of those voices who think that the SEC divisional structure has been wrong since Missouri and Texas A&M joined the league five years ago.

As Dye sees it the main problem is that Missouri, marooned way out in the northwest corner of the conference profile, is currently sitting in the SEC East. This was done so that teams would be able to keep their traditional rivalries while playing an eight-game conference schedule with just one permanent inter-divisional game.

At the time this seemed to make sense, but Dye has a point that this whole system needs a reevaluation.

The simple fix is to switch Missouri and Auburn, but this would hurt the rivalry games that make the conference what it is. The solution then is to add a ninth conference game to the schedule, making two permanent inter-divisional games as part of the deal.

Auburn is in Eastern Alabama, 30 miles from Georgia and in a state that borders Tennessee and Florida. Compare this to Columbia, Missouri, which is over 1,000 miles away from its furthest divisional rival (Florida) and the advantages immediately become clear. Mizzou has not been able to build rivalries with schools it shares nothing in common with in the East, but teams like Arkansas, Texas A&M, and even Mississippi, seem like more natural fits.

Plus we would have the possibility of an Iron Bowl SEC Championship game. Auburn and Missouri should swap divisions for that if nothing else!

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