Let's look at Tre'Vour Simms' highlight film again.
PM: I know you're aware that there are some depth issues on the offensive line. Does that change your mentality at all, knowing that there may be even more of an opportunity for you to play as a freshman?
TS: I look at it as, even if we didn't have depth issues, I would still be going in and working to start. It just so happens that we need it more.
Oh fun, an SEC story line that ISN'T satellite camps!
Realignment is expected to be a topic at this week’s SEC spring meetings in Destin, Fla. Auburn coach Gus Malzahn mentioned the possibility earlier this spring, though an SEC official later squashed the topic. [...]
Should Auburn’s contingent recommend a move to the East, the most logical partner to flip divisions figures to be Missouri. A move to the West would mean some shorter trips for the Tigers in football but a far more rigorous league schedule. The SEC doesn't figure to make any major moves this week, but coaches and administrators could start to align themselves with different division scenarios if the conversation escalates in Destin.
So the party line shared by Matter here and many, many others is that a move to the West makes more geographic sense for Missouri. And I'm assuming that, if you were to just average out the mileage of road trips to each state, that's the case. But I'm not going to lie: I like being with a semi-easy drive of four conference opponents in a given year. While being associated with the word "east" doesn't make sense, Missouri currently borders half the schools in its primary "conference" -- the six East schools and permanent rival Arkansas.
It's about 5 hours to Fayetteville, 6-7 to Nashville, 6-7 to Lexington, and 8-9 to Knoxville. Yeah, Athens, Columbia East, and Gainesville are a long way. So is College Station.
Depending on the assigned permanent rival, moving to the West would mean getting rid of at least two of the three easy East trips. And while Oxford is only 7-8 hours away, Starkville is 8-9, Tuscaloosa is 9-10, Baton Rouge is 11-12, and College Station is 11-12. So the longer trips are slightly shorter ... but the shorter trips are potentially longer.
Meanwhile, I'm shaky about rearranging divisions based on competitive balance simply because the East of the last few years isn't what the East has always been. Florida has won two national titles in the last decade, Georgia nearly played for one as recently as 2012, Tennessee should be a top-15 caliber team this year (my numbers are agreeing with the conventional wisdom on that one), and South Carolina is just two years removed from a string of top-10 seasons.
On the flipside, yeah, Alabama is great. But Nick Saban will retire one day, and here's your reminder that the guy Bama hired before Saban was Mike Shula. Ole Miss was as good as it's been in 40 years over the last couple of seasons and could be feeling the weight of NCAA sanctions soon. Mississippi State was as good as it's been in somewhere between 20 years and ever last year. Auburn and Texas A&M have been mediocre for a year and a half. LSU is ... confusing.
Yes, the West is much, much better than the East and has been for a couple of years. That isn't permanent. Hell, before the run of about 2006-15, you could make a pretty good case that the East was quite a bit better from 1996-05, when Florida and Tennessee were by far the conference's most consistent teams.
And besides that ... uh ... you want to trade Auburn for Missouri, and you think that will restore competitive balance?
Missouri's record over the last 5 years: 41-24.
Auburn's record over the last 5 years: 38-27.
(Yes, that's a selective sample -- six years, for instance, would put Auburn ahead by a half-game. Yes, that includes Auburn playing in the tougher West. Just saying ... it's not guaranteed to restore any sort of balance whatsoever. Might, might not.)
There are worse things in the world than signing up for more trips to Baton Rouge, College Station, The Grove, etc. I would only complain so much if Mizzou got flipped to the West. But the idea is that this would make more geographic sense for Missouri and make more competitive sense for the conference. Neither is necessarily true.
This year stunk for the bigger sports...
...the lower-revenue sports, however? Potentially as good as ever.
A top-10 track & field team is not something I can say I ever expected to see in Columbia. Really damn well done, Brett Halter and company.