Starting next fall, the Tigers of Missouri and the Aggies of Texas A&M will be leaving the Big 12 in favor of the SEC. Both teams made the switch to the nationally renowned conference for two reasons: 1. Better Competition 2. More Money (A LOT more money actually). A&M will transition to the SEC West with Missouri settling into the SEC East Divison. (which geographically makes no sense, by the way) So, the question is asked: Who’s better suited for success in the toughest conference in America?
The Case for Missouri: Any true Missouri fan knows what is meant by the initials DGB. For those who don’t, it stands for Dorial Green-Beckham, the consensus #1 wide receiver recruit in the country who decided to stay home and play for the Tigers. Green-Beckham, along with returning quarterback James Franklin, slot man T.J. Moe, and an experienced offensive line gives Mizzou a great deal of talent on the offensive side of the ball. The majority of a young defense from last year returns as well, and the 2013 conference schedule, void of Alabama, Auburn, and LSU, is far from grueling. Coach Gary Pinkel and his staff do a great job of evaluating talent and developing players, many who had been overlooked by other schools. Moving to the SEC will also allow the Tigers to broaden their recruiting base and go after better players who previously would have had little interest in Missouri.
The Case for Texas A&M: Texas A&M better fits the mold of an SEC program. Their stadium and athletic facilities are state-of-the-art, their fan base is massive, and the University administration designates a large portion of the budget to the football program. Recruiting at A&M has always been a relatively easy task, as the Aggies have talent pipelines existing throughout Texas, Louisiana, and Oklahoma. The newfound prestige of the SEC will make attracting talent even easier. While a disappointing 7-6 season last year led to the firing of Mike Sherman, new coach Kevin Sumlin brings a high-powered offense and tradition of winning to College Station. While losing star quarterback Ryan Tannehill, tailback Cyrus Gray, and receiver Jeff Fuller hurts, the return of running back Christine Michael, along with linebackers Sean Porter and Jonathan Stewart shows that the cupboard is far from bare for Sumlin.
Edge: Texas A&M
While Missouri looks prepared to experience immediate success in the SEC next year, Texas A&M is definitely in better shape for the long haul. The Aggies lose a ton of firepower off last years squad, and their 2013 schedule is brutal with games against LSU, at Alabama, at Auburn, and at Mississippi State. Missouri, on the other hand, avoids most of the traditional SEC powers, and brings back more of their key players. However, Texas A&M has a recruiting edge over Missouri that will be hard to overcome. College Station is located in the talent hotbed of east Texas, and the shorter distance to other fertile southeastern states puts A&M in great position with top prospects. Missouri is not blessed with a ton of talented in-state prospects to choose from each year, and surrounding states such as Kansas, Iowa, and Arkansas are nothing to write home about either. Dorial Green-Beckham did play his high school ball in Springfield, Missouri, but he is more of an exception to the rule. Look for Missouri to have a solid season next year and Texas A&M to struggle. Down the road, though, the Aggies should have the edge.