SEC Commissioner Greg Sankey has repeatedly said division realignment isn’t on the agenda right now.
Any talk — mostly fueled by Auburn officials, pundits and fans — of Missouri swapping divisions with Auburn amounts to nothing more than idle chatter.
Auburn football coach Gus Malzahn told ESPN in April he expected that “there will be a discussion” about his Tigers changing divisions.
But Malzahn backpedaled a bit when asked about the issue — or, perhaps more accurately, nonissue — during his appearance Thursday at SEC Media Days.
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“I think our commissioner already answered that the first day,” he said. “I think it was brought up, (former Auburn) coach (Pat) Dye said something about the map and all of that. I just confirmed, yeah, if you look at the map, that does make sense.”
However, Malzahn said he isn’t looking to escape the SEC West.
“Hey, I like the way it is right now,” he said. “The West right now is the best league in college football. It's a man's league. You got Alabama right now that is the top of the deal, and I like playing against them. I like playing against them every year. … I think that was probably a little bit blown out of proportion, but I like the way it is.”
That suits Mizzou’s Barry Odom.
“Commissioner Sankey has already given his comments on realignment,” he said. “It’s not been on any agenda item that I know of. He addressed it pretty well, and it’s not there. Right now, I need to focus on making sure that Mizzou football is as good as we can get on the schedule we play and the division we play, so I’m excited where we are and we’ll stand with Commissioner Sankey on our conference stance on that.”
Mizzou’s Frazier makes another watch list
Missouri senior defensive end Marcell Frazier landed on the preseason watch list for the Bronko Nagurski Trophy on Thursday.
The award goes to the top defensive player in college football.
Frazier, who is one of 25 defensive ends on the list along with Kansas’ Dorance Armstrong Jr. and Kansas State’s Reggie Walker, also was picked for the Bednarik Award preseason watch list earlier in the week.
Kansas State defensive tackle Will Geary and defensive back D.J. Reed also made the watch list for the Nagurski Trophy.
The Tigers begin training camp Aug. 1 in Columbia.
Freeze addresses bowl ban
Mississippi coach Hugh Freeze tried to sell a self-imposed bowl ban — part of the fallout from an NCAA investigation that uncovered 13 rules violations by the football team — as an opportunity Thursday.
“This has the potential to set up our staff to have our greatest hour,” he said. “… We can model for a lot of people what it can look like for people that genuinely care for one another and look at what we do have as a blessing, and then set an example of how you go through difficult times.”
Freeze, who said he’s felt unwavering support from Mississippi’s administration despite the NCAA infractions and now a defamation lawsuit filed by former coach Houston Nutt, said the 12-game regular season still provides a chance to “prove a lot.”
“Certainly, we wish we had it where we could have some carrot at the end of those 12 games, but right now that’s not reality for us,” he said. “So, what is reality and how do we deal with it? I get to set the tone for that.”
So far, the players don’t seem fazed by knowing the season will end in November.
“Adversity tends to crumble people apart or brings guys together,” Ole Miss sophomore quarterback Shea Patterson said. “I have never been around a group of guys and coaches that have worked as hard as we have in the spring in the summer. I think we are going to take that chip on our shoulder going into the season.”