Could Auburn eventually make the move over to the SEC East? Athletic director Jay Jacobs is open to it...with one significant caveat.
Earlier this week, longtime Auburn coach Pat Dye said that he thinks the school should move to the SEC East, and is willing to lose the annual Iron Bowl against Alabama to do so.
Many have argued for an Auburn-for-Missouri swap to help balance the SEC's two divisions. The major hang-up there is the impact on Alabama, which already has its annual crossover rivalry with Tennessee.
A divisional realignment involving Auburn would mean Alabama losing its annual game against either Auburn or Tennessee, unless there is an additional permanent crossover game added—something that is highly unlikely.
Dye isn't alone in thinking Auburn to the SEC East is a good idea. Athletic director Jay Jacobs embraced the idea during an appearance on WNSP-FM 105.5.
"It makes sense," Jacobs said on WNSP-FM 105.5. "If we ever had the opportunity to geographically realign, it makes sense. It really makes sense for Missouri, because of the travel or other things like that."
Jacobs stops short of Dye, however, saying he is unwilling to give up the Iron Bowl to make the switch.
"Are we willing to give up the traditional rivalries?," Jacobs said. "When you look around the nation at conferences that have done realignment, they've lost some of those rivalries. Has that helped them or hurt them? I don't really know. What it would take to do that was for us to say 'We're not going to play the same traditional rivalries that we have in the past. We're going to go to the East.' Or does that matter? Do you look at a different way of scheduling altogether? We're certainly open to it.
"I would want to preserve the Auburn-Alabama rivalry, however we could do that. ... The Auburn-Alabama game right now, it just means too much to too many people to give that up. I think there are other ways that we could possibly change without having to give that rivalry up."
Flopping Auburn and Missouri does seem like it would balance things out a bit, though obviously the success of those programs isn't guaranteed, and just a few years ago Mizzou was a back-to-back SEC East champion. Still, we're not sure more Tiger fans would want to sacrifice the annual Iron Bowl to do so.