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Save the date: Tennessee AD wants to keep rivalry with Alabama

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In the mind of Tennessee athletic director David Hart, the Third Saturday in October should continue to be an annual event.

Depending on what happens today and tomorrow with the Missouri Board of Curators, the Tigers could end up being the SEC’s 14th member, meaning some internal shuffling between the two divisions could be required. Some of that shuffling could be done out of interest in protecting long-standing rivalries.

The history that rivalry has produced is unparalleled in my mind,” Hart said. “I know Mal (Moore, Alabama’s AD) feels exactly as I do. I feel strongly we can keep it and hope it can go back to the Third Saturday of October where it belongs. It would be a nice cherry on the top if all that would unfold.”

Alabama has already made it known that if the Tigers join the SEC, that they want the newest member to move over to the East division. The reasoning behind that move revolves around protecting rivalries with Auburn and Tennessee, while simultaneously preventing the former from gaining any potential recruiting advantage in talent-rich states like Georgia or Florida.

But even if Missouri goes to the SEC West — provided they move to the SEC, of course — a nine-game conference schedule with six divisional games, two permanent partners and one rotating cross-divisional game.

Would the SEC agree to adding another conference game in what is already considered one of the most brutal conference slates in the country just to protect Alabama-Tennessee?

“I would think you would try as hard as you possibly can to maintain those kinds of rivalries,” former SEC commissioner Roy Kramer told the Birmingham News. “When we did expansion 20 years ago, that was one of the factors we looked at very significantly when looking at scheduling and divisional alignment. They may have to alter that to make it work.”

But conference realignment has already destroyed certain rivalries and threatened to terminate others. Trying to preserve tradition over the last three or so months has been so low on the list of priorities for conference commissioners and university athletic directors, it makes one wonder why they’re all complaining about it now.

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21 Responses to “Save the date: Tennessee AD wants to keep rivalry with Alabama”
  1. editordon says: Oct 20, 2011 10:29 AM

    Tennessee-Alabama is “The South’s Greatest Rivalry.” It must be preserved at all cost and I believe that is exactly what has happened. I predict Missouri gets in the SEC because it has agreed to be in the Eastern — not the Western — Division. Missouri’s two annual games with Western opponents are sure to be Texas A&M, which Missouri wants so it can continue to recruit Texas, and Arkansas, a natural border state rivalry.

  2. ugabugkiller says: Oct 20, 2011 10:31 AM

    Screw Bama.

    If Bama moves to the East, they will disrupt GEORGIA’S rivaly with Auburn.

    A rivalry with MORE meaning and a rivalry that has lasted far LONGER than their one with Tennesse.

    Georgia-Auburn is The Deep South’s Oldest Rivalry.


    Screw you, Bama. You’re not getting your way, here.

  3. lgmccoll says: Oct 20, 2011 10:33 AM

    The SEC is not going to 9 conference games and lose that extra money game with podunk college.

  4. Christopher Hessenflow says: Oct 20, 2011 10:43 AM

    The answer should be for Vanderbilt to move West.

    East: Auburn, Alabama, Georgia, South Carolina Florida, Kentucky, Tennessee

    West: Missouri, Arkansas, Texas A&M, LSU, Ole Miss, Mississippi State, Vanderbilt

    Vanderbilt and Tennessee can be an annual rivalry game.

  5. southernpatriots says: Oct 20, 2011 10:44 AM

    Hopefully, it won’t be the established and especially the founding SEC teams that switch conferences but the new schools should be the ones to be flexible.

    Certainly, Tennessee wants to keep their rivalry with Alabama…and Alabama wants to keep their rivalry with Tennessee. There won’t be a problem there. The SEC computer whizs in Birmingham ought to be able to arrange that, especially if they can arrange a 13 team schedule that is equitable (if Missouri will not come in until 2013 or if they are just trying to make the Big 10 jealous?).

  6. editordon says: Oct 20, 2011 11:50 AM

    Missouri is not playing games with the SEC or the Big Ten. They have moved beyond the Big Ten’s rejection, which by the way, remains in place.
    That said, polls in Missouri are running 80-20 percent in favor of joining the SEC. The only real oppposition are pockets in downtown Kansas City, which may lose being the host city, in all liklihood when Mizzo bolts for the SEC Friday, for the Big 12 hoops tourney.

  7. southernpatriots says: Oct 20, 2011 12:40 PM

    editordon: That is good news to hear. So much rumor and yet not much actual verifiable action on the part of Missouri and on the part of the SEC to Missouri. Hopefully, this Friday will give all clarity. We love KC, especially the bbq!!!! but hopefully they will not have an influence on what Missouri does and announces on Friday.

  8. vols84 says: Oct 20, 2011 1:01 PM

    If OU’s David Boren hadn’t upstaged Mizzou’s Brady Deaton by holding his press conference 15 minutes before Mizzou’s, then we might not be having this conversation. It was reported on PowerMizzou that Deaton was supportive of staying in the Big 12 (even after Texas had bullied the league for years in revenue sharing, the conference screwed Mizzou over by pushing KU to the Orange Bowl and by Mizzou being leaped over in bowl selections the past few years). Once Boren did that, Deaton had enough.

  9. alligatorsnapper says: Oct 20, 2011 1:52 PM

    vols84: So Senator Boren threw his weight around and upstaged Deaton. The slighting of Missou’s bowl aspirations was just background. That is the first I’ve heard of this, but given that, it makes sense for Missou to want out. I am surprised they waited that long~!

  10. frug says: Oct 20, 2011 2:11 PM

    If the SEC wants to continue the protected crossovers (and UF and LSU have said they do not) in a 14 team conference, they are going to have to adopt a 9 game conference schedule, otherwise you looking at only playing your non-divisional opponents 1 year out of 6.

  11. southernpatriots says: Oct 20, 2011 2:23 PM

    frug: Looks like this could be quite a debate between respective presidents. Slive will need to work to get them in unisom. If the existing or founding conference teams are re-oriented and/or the protected crossover rivalries not continued, it will really upset some teams and fans.

    This is an occsasion where the folks at headquartgers in Birmingham may actually earn their big money…ha.

  12. dickroy says: Oct 20, 2011 2:37 PM

    Tennessee vs Alabama must be protected and I hope still played the 3rd week in October. It is the greatest rivalry in football.

  13. thompgk says: Oct 20, 2011 2:43 PM

    Updykes claim this rivalry as the greatest when they are kicking the hell out of Tennessee and struggling with Auburn. Nevermind that they probably don’t care enough to go poison or destroy a beautiful area of campus if they were to lose to Tennessee.

  14. southernpatriots says: Oct 20, 2011 2:51 PM

    dickroy: We are glad to see you posting on this topic. We had hoped to see you here. We agree. There are some other rivalries which would likely be cross-division once the re-orientation happens which also need to be protected.

    We HATE to see the historicity of long term rivalries ignored to accommodate new arrivals in the conference. Wouldn’t it be so much more respectful to existing SEC teams and most especially the founding teams, to respect their long rivalries?

  15. harveyballwanger says: Oct 20, 2011 5:24 PM

    Updykes claim this rivalry as the greatest when they are kicking the hell out of Tennessee and struggling with Auburn. Nevermind that they probably don’t care enough to go poison or destroy a beautiful area of campus if they were to lose to Tennessee.

    Actually, the Updykes will not struggle with the Newtons this year. Alabama didn’t struggle with the Newtons last year either as the Newtons were supposed to win.

  16. BadaBingBadaBama says: Oct 20, 2011 10:01 PM

    @ harveyballwanger
    The Tn vs Al rivalry is real. You don’t know what you are talking about. Who is your team?

  17. BadaBingBadaBama says: Oct 20, 2011 10:32 PM

    you are an idiot.

  18. dickroy says: Oct 21, 2011 8:26 AM


    Thanks for the comment. I agree with you 100%. Long rivalries of long time members should be top priority. I am an SEC fan, and have long been a Tennessee supporter. I have always attended this match up in Knoxville and never missed it on TV when at Alabama. This October match up has always been special to me and my wife and daughters, and I know many others as well.

  19. southernpatriots says: Oct 21, 2011 10:08 AM

    dickroy: We completely understand. This is not isolated to the Volunteers and the Tide. Families are involved, history, generations. It is important to us. We are working out a letter to Slive and his staff.

    We know Slive won’t actually crunch the numbers or arrange the schedules but his staff will, but he will oversee and he will either be praised or be criticized. Just in case Slive and his staff are pre-occupied with other things or are a little isolated from the actual historical rivalries, we just want to remind them. We should have our letter, all t’s crossed and i’s dotted and mailed out today.

  20. dickroy says: Oct 21, 2011 11:21 AM


    That sounds great!

  21. southernpatriots says: Oct 21, 2011 11:50 AM

    dickroy: We have it all about completed. We’re just checking grammar, my poor typing skills, etc. We don’t want someone there in Birmingham to reject the letter because it does not appear proper. We thought, what will it hurt to let them know how fans feel, who treasure the long lived rivalries? Don’t think it can hurt.

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