The Missouri Tigers were officially introduced by the SEC as team No. 14 on Sunday -- Sunday, because this is the SEC, and Mizzou had to be brought before the congregation. The primary question: will the Tigers join the SEC West, which makes geographic sense and pairs them with fellow Big 12 evacuee Texas A&M, or the SEC East, which avoids a whole lot of trouble?
(The secondary question: will the SEC have to go to nine conference football games per team per year just to fit everything in?)
If Missouri joined the West, the Auburn Tigers would have to move to the East in order to preserve any sense of geographic order. The two biggest things at stake there would both be Alabama Crimson Tide rivalry games. As it is, the Alabama-Tennessee game is a protected, cross-division rivalry, and the Iron Bowl is an in-division affair that happens anyway. Moving Auburn would jeopardize the Third Saturday in October.
Andy Katz reports the East as the likely spot, confirming various earlier reports, hopes, and assumptions.
Foregoing geography allows the SEC to retain all its rivalries, and presumably fix up Missouri and A&M with an annual event of their own. It also pairs Missouri with fellow J-school Georgia, setting up a media rivalry there as well. Competitively, this might work out just fine for the Tigers, who would get to recruit talent-awash Texas, Florida and Georgia in addition to their home state.
Update: Pat Dooley of the Gainesville Sun reports on Twitter:
High-ranking source in SEC tells me Mizzou definitely going to the East. Gators have a new rival. Bama didn't want to lose UT. Story up soon
We'll see where they wind up.