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Birmingham News: Missouri Doesn't Have the Votes to Join SEC

Not sure how we've missed this until now, but Missouri might have overlooked a small detail in its eagerness to bolt for the SEC. The Tigers don't appear to have the votes to do so, according to the Birmingham News.

Two sources familiar with the SEC's discussions about Missouri told The Birmingham News Wednesday that as of now it appears that a majority of SEC presidents and chancellors would support Missouri's application. But the sources said that majority falls just short of the nine votes required to add a new member.

It's not clear from the story from where all the opposition springs, but there are a few hints. And we can probably safely speculate a bit from there.

One source said there's a group of presidents that wants to sit tight, believing the SEC can do better than Missouri and that No. 14 should come from the East. According to both sources, Alabama wants to look East and not risk losing its annual game against Tennessee, while Auburn favors adding Missouri and moving to the Eastern Division.

To have a majority but not the needed majority, Missouri would have to be between four and five votes short of the full conference. It's pretty clear that Alabama is opposed, and if the reason is that it would lose the Tennessee, they've lost the Vols as well. Florida and Vanderbilt are probably on board for academics, and it's clear that Auburn is in support of Missouri.

It's hard to see a groundswell of opposition to Auburn moving from the other members of the West, particularly if it's in exchange for getting Missouri when those Tigers are going to have be adjusting to SEC football. So the opposition could be coming from Georgia, South Carolina and/or Kentucky. (The problem would be that those schools might be concerned about a team from the east that might violate the "gentlemen's agreement.") The most concerned school from the SEC West would likely be Arkansas -- which borders Missouri and might worry about the change disrupting its recruiting patterns.

This also backs up my conspiracy theory about the anonymous Missouri official's quote that the SEC is "what's left." It sounds like a quote from a university official who doesn't want to go to the SEC -- and would love to undermine negotiations between the two. Leaking a quote that backs up fears that Missouri might still like to go to the Big Ten even after migrating to the SEC could erode support among other presidents. If that was the case, it appears to be working.