The guys at the SEC blogging site got together again and answered another question concerning the addition of Texas A&M and Missouri into the SEC. Here is what everyone had to say for the next question…
How long will it take for Mizzou and A&M to be competitive in football?
Tennessee: I doubt that either will be very competitive next season as far as championships go. Texas A&M will be rebuilding under Sumlin, so 2012 could be very rough in College Station. Missouri will have solid standing, but they will not be in contention for the East title, even if the division is down again next year. I could see them sneaking up and upsetting a team like Georgia or South Carolina, but other than that, they will struggle as well. I think it will take at least 4-5 years for these teams to begin competing on the SEC level, and even then they will only beat teams like Alabama and LSU every couple of years.
Ole Miss: Both schools have a competitive football program and with that being said, I believe it will take both programs a while to situate themselves in the toughest conference in football. Coming into the East, Missouri may win some games but I don’t believe they will come in right off them bat and get big SEC wins. Texas A&M drew a tough straw coming into the West with Alabama and LSU. Although I think that they could beat a rebuilding Ole Miss this season, A&M will need to get some SEC experience under their belts in order to compete with Arkansas, Bama, LSU, and State.
Missouri: That’s a tough question for A&M, because they’re losing their quarterback and moving to a tougher division of the SEC. Missouri looked more like an SEC-style team last year – the Tigers ran the ball extremely well both with and without Doak Walker finalist Henry Josey, and they were much better at defending the run than the pass. For that reason, transitioning to the SEC – especially the East division – will be easier for Missouri. Playing Alabama will be tough, but the one advantage in Missouri’s favor is that Faurot Field is open and lower than the surrounding area, so a windy October weekend could be tough on SEC players who aren’t used to the cold. South Carolina and Georgia are, at this point, tossup matches. Fans and various media sources have been extremely critical of Tigers quarterback James Franklin, but there’s a reason why coaches and people who actually understand the quarterback position and Missouri’s offensive system see how much Franklin helped the offense as a true sophomore last year. He almost singlehandedly matched Heisman winner Robert Griffin blow-for-blow in Waco last year, and is going to develop into one of the top players in the game by the time he’s a senior. Weak division, improving team, and a strong run game sound to me like a recipe for early success.
Alabama: It will take Missouri longer than A&M to compete in football. Both land in the middle third of their conferences, though, so they are both in the deep end of an absurdly deep pool. Treading water — i.e. bowl berths — will be the first step. A&M will be there immediately. Missouri might need 2-3 years of “recruiting to the SEC” to get the talent necessary to play consistently well against conference opponents on the road.
Florida: A while…if ever. That’s not to discount what either can do, but look what they’re getting into. The East was nothing to write home about the last couple of seasons with the big three going through some painful years for fans, but they are still big programs that will rebound, and now we’ve added a competitive South Carolina team to the mix. The West, well, remember the national championship participants? I do. Missouri and Texas A&M aren’t bad programs and they will have their up seasons from time to time, but realistically they’re probably middle of the road in the SEC for the foreseeable future.