Missouri, Texas A&M prep for SEC tests

Missouri and Texas A&M start their SEC entrance exams in less than a month, Mark Schlabach writes. Are they ready for the challenges they'll face in their new league?

HOOVER, Ala. -- Growing up in Arlington, Texas, Luke Joeckel cheered for the Big 12 and listened to stories about the old Southwest Conference told by his father, David Joeckel, who played at Texas Tech from 1979 to 1982.

A junior offensive tackle at Texas A&M, Luke Joeckel got a crash course on the SEC this summer, as the Aggies prepare to play their first season in the new league.

"It's definitely a little weird," Joeckel said. "I grew up a Big 12 fan and my dad played in the Southwest Conference. It's weird not to be in that region and not playing Texas and Texas Tech and Baylor. It's going to be weird not getting on a bus to go play games."

Instead, Missouri and Texas A&M will be loading onto more airplanes to trek their way through the SEC, which expands to 14 teams for the first time this season.

Indeed, what's old is new in college football this season: another year, another round of expansion. And conference realignment finally touches the SEC, which has produced the sport's last six national champions.

While the Aggies and Tigers will stretch the SEC's footprint farther west, how well they will compete in their new league remains to be seen.

Read the rest of Schlabach's story here.