Monday marked the one-year anniversary of Texas A&M and Missouri officially becoming the 13th and 14th members of the Southeastern Conference. It has been quite a ride since the preliminary reports of the two being offered membership in the league surfaced in late 2011.
Missouri finished the 2012 football season with a 5-7 overall record, which included an SEC record of 2-6. The only two wins came against Tennessee and Kentucky. There is plenty of room for improvement for the Tigers in football.
It was a different story in basketball. Frank Haith’s Missouri squad went 23-11 (11-7), which was easily enough to achieve a solid seed in the NCAA Tournament. As a nine seed, the Tigers were ousted from the big dance by Colorado State. In baseball, Missouri finished with a 18-32 overall record (10-20 in SEC play).
Here is how the Texas A&M Aggies fared in their first SEC season in major sports:
In football, the Aggies surprised the college football world when they started the 2012 season 7-2 before upsetting top-ranked Alabama in Tuscaloosa. After a 10-2 record in the regular season, the Aggies destroyed Oklahoma 41-13 in the Cotton Bowl. A&M’s first year of SEC football, which was also Kevin Sumlin’s first season as head coach, was an astounding success.
While the Aggie basketball squad did not make the NCAA Tournament, the 7-11 SEC record included some solid victories against the likes of Kentucky in Lexington and tournament-bound Missouri and Ole Miss. The baseball squad compiled a 34-29 record, which was good enough to secure a two seed in an NCAA Tournament regional.
So here is how the two SEC additions finished in relation to the entire conference:
Texas A&M finished third in the SEC West, and Missouri finished fifth in the East. That averages to a combined fourth place finish for both of the schools in year one. That’s right in the middle of the pack in the toughest conference in football.
Missouri finished sixth and A&M finished 11th in the SEC. Combined, that’s an eighth-place average finish.
Missouri finished fifth in the SEC East, and Texas A&M finished sixth in the West. That’s an average 5.5-place divisional finish in what is considered the preeminent league in college baseball.
So we can see that while Missouri and Texas A&M have not won the SEC Championship in any of the sports, neither program has been bulldozed since entering the league. In Texas A&M’s case, the football program has gone from one in constant mediocrity to what is becoming a top brand in college football.
In the long run, the addition of these two programs will benefit the league. In time, they will become further woven into the fabric and tradition of the SEC. After the first year, I’d say they are off to a good start.