HOOVER, Ala. – Consider Gus Malzahn a fan of the SEC West.
On Thursday, the Auburn coach called the division “a man’s league” at SEC Media Days after he was asked about recent realignment talk started by former Tigers coach Pat Dye, who said Auburn should move to the SEC East and Missouri to the West.
In May, Malzahn agreed with Dye that a move for Auburn to the SEC East makes “common sense” geographically. But on Thursday, Malzahn embraced playing in the SEC West.
“I think Coach Dye said something about the map and all that. And I just confirmed that, yeah, if you look at the map, that does make sense,” Malzahn said. “But I like the way it is right now. The West right now is the best [division] in college football. It’s a man’s league. You’ve got Alabama right now that’s the top of the deal. I like playing in it. I like playing against them every year. I like playing against LSU, Ole Miss and Mississippi State, Texas A&M.”
On Wednesday, Missouri coach Barry Odom and some of his players addressed the realignment topic by offering mixed opinions about what a division change would do for their program. On Monday, SEC commissioner Greg Sankey said realignment “has not been an agenda item.”
Auburn kicker David Carlson said it’s “special” to be part of the Tigers’ current situation.
“I don’t know much about that,” Carlson said of the realignment talk. “But there are a lot of good teams in the SEC, in the SEC West. We have a lot of good competition. So I’m enjoying it. And it’s a lot of the teams I grew up watching play. So it’s special to get to be a part of this.”
Auburn offensive lineman Braden Smith shot down the realignment discussion.
“Honestly, I really didn’t pay that much attention to it,” he said. “I mean, it’s not going to affect anything for a while. So it’s kind of irrelevant. … [Playing in the SEC East] would be a tough challenge just like it is playing in the West.”
Malzahn would be fine if the status quo were preserved for a long time.
“I think it was probably a little bit blown out of proportion,” he said. “I like the way it is.”