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Why some SEC teams might not make the cut for football supremacy

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The latest financial statistics should make some programs feel a bit wary about their standing with a super-conference most likely in the works. Some schools need to get their house in order.

Yes, I’m talking to you Mississippi State, Vanderbilt and Missouri. It’s time to get rolling. You have been identified as schools that need to pony up some dollars in order to stay relevant in football. It’s just that simple.

For comparison’s sake, Texas’ athletic budget is $232-million, which is the highest in the SEC. Mississippi State’s athletic budget of $121-million was last in the SEC. The Bulldogs were bested by Vanderbilt and Missouri at $125-million and $141-million, respectively. That might not get it done for those three schools if things don’t change quickly, especially if football powers begin to merge and create some sort of 32-team league of the best football programs in the nation. If so, those three schools don’t look like they’d make the cut – or could even compete financially.

Vanderbilt might get the nod to enter a super-conference due to their academic standing, if that even matters anymore. However, it’s hard to find an argument that any of the three are elite in football.

Ole Miss could find itself in the crosshairs of some sort of deregulation like the aforementioned three, but that seems unlikely. The Rebels are trying and have had success with head football coach Lane Kiffin, who surely won’t leave anytime soon. Ole Miss, which spends just over $150-million trails South Carolina at $160-million.

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The question that needs to be asked of any team that makes a super-conference is simple: Can a team win a national championship in a new, more difficult format? If things broke the right way, Ole Miss could be in that conversation. Missouri? Maybe, based on last season. However, we’ll see if that’s sustainable.

How about Mississippi State and Vandy? Sorry, it’s just hard to see the Bulldogs ever becoming an elite program with the nearby challenges they face with rivals on all sides or Vanderbilt being a contender with its academic restrictions.

Do SEC teams have to be cut to form a super-conference? Not necessarily. However, if that’s the case, the Bulldogs, Tigers and Commodores need to shore things up quickly. A super-conference may seem as if it will be in the distant future, but the same could be said for a 12-team playoff. And that’s taking place this year.

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