People who worry about Mizzou being a fit for the SEC are generally myopic. They prefer the old rust-belt conference but fail to realize that Mizzou is a better academic fit among SEC schools. They also fail to realize what SEC football will bring to the state of Missouri. Mizzou will always be somewhat divided because of where it sits geographically, but a couple of years of SEC football will bring an Arrowhead type atmosphere to Faurot Field.
Your guess is as good as anyone else’s at this point. Rumors are swirling at a fast pace… almost as fast as they swirled last summer. Of course, most of the rumors from last summer turned out to be just that — rumors.
Here’s an early morning look at what’s being said and written about Texas A&M, the SEC and all the other conferences. Pay close attention to all of the leagues rumored to be courting specific schools. Take note of just how many people are saying that the Big 12 can’t survive in its current form. Then remember how the SEC and Texas A&M have been abused and afronted for (supposedly) raiding the Big 12 in the SEC’s case and destabilizing the Big 12 in A&M’s.
The stories making news:
1. The Houston Chronicle believes the SEC’s recruiting footprint in Texas will grow if/when Texas A&M enters the league.
2. According to The Fort Worth Star Telegram: “As Monday night progressed, one (Big 12) source described the situation as ‘utter chaos’ on the realignment front, with a lot of ‘wonky’ scenarios being floated as other conferences prepare to respond to A&M’s impending move to the SEC.”
3. Over the weekend, Oklahoma State mega-booster T. Boone Pickens said he doesn’t believe the Big 12 will be in existence in five years. ”I think this discussion (of switching conferences) is going to come up every year as long as the conference is not equal, so you have an equal deal.” He thinks Oklahoma and OSU will head to the Pac-12.
4. Orangebloods.com — the Rivals site covering Texas — now says you can forget about lawsuits if Oklahoma heads west. ”It will be a free for all.” Sources have told the site that the SEC, ACC, Big Ten, Big East and Pac-12 have all been contacting Big 12 teams. The site claims that the ACC might be interested in landing Texas, Syracuse, UConn, and Rutgers in an effort to reach 16 schools. With ESPN owning the ACC’s media rights, it’s suggested that Texas could keep its Longhorn Network if it chose to move so far east. Also, Orangebloods — as well as several other sites — believes that A&M and the SEC will make an announcement today or tomorrow.
5. ACC commissioner John Swofford said last night that the ACC’s targeting of Texas, Syracuse, UConn and Rutgers was news to him. “I need to read more to see what we’re doing,” Swofford joked. He also said that the ACC — like all other successful leagues — believes in equal revenue sharing among its members and has since the 1980s.
6. Larry Scott of the Pac-12 says: “Any suggestion whatsoever that our conference is being predatory, that’s just wrong.” Yeah. That was last summer.
7. Bob Stoops of Oklahoma says super-conferences seem to be “the direction that the world’s going.”
8. Texas’ Mack Brown shared his thoughts on the Longhorns’ future yesterday: ”We were told last year we could join any league in the country we wanted to if it changed. We’ve been told we could go independent, so there’s going to be something really good for Texas at the end of this. Our school will be OK regardless of what happens, and that’s not the case for everybody. … We’ll end up where we want to end up.”
9. This writer says bigger isn’t necessarily better for the Big Ten. Indeed, Jim Delany said over the weekend that his league would not react to expansion moves by other leagues. ”Our view, really, is that it’s about quality, not quantity.”
10. Ah, but The New York Post — a trusted paper if there ever was one — reports that the Big Ten is eyeing Maryland (and that the Big East is interested in grabbing Kansas, Kansas State and Missouri).
11. This writer for The Kansas City Star wonders if Missouri would be a cultural fit in the SEC. He also says no other national power “acts on its arrogance as destructively as Texas.” (Too bad then that many in the national media are blaming A&M for the Big 12′s demise.)
12. Ray Ratto of CBSSports.com takes it to Texas pretty hard in his latest blog post, too.
13. Over the weekend, a Virginia Tech official once more shot down Tech-to-the-SEC talk. ”No one’s approached us. We haven’t approached anyone.” And just for good measure: “When push comes to shove, when this institution sits down and talks with each other, there’d be absolutely no reason for us to go in the Southeastern Conference. This really is a non-issue for us. It comes to the fact that it’s not about money. It’s about fit, it’s about the kind of schools that you want to be associated with. It’s about what’s right for our region, our state, our students. The president and [athletic director Jim Weaver] will tell you they are just happy as a clam to be in the Atlantic Coast Conference.”
14. This writer for The Chicago Tribune tosses out his views on which schools might land where should the Big One really hit this week. (Naturally, he’s got Virginia Tech, Florida State and Missouri ticketed for the SEC.)
Two quick thoughts from those of us here at MrSEC.com:
* If Texas winds up in the Pac-12 or the ACC or the NHL’s Northeast Division, for that matter, the big winner in Expansionpalooza 2011 will be… Texas A&M. Not only will the Aggies have gotten out of the Longhorns’ shadow and joined the premier football conference in the country, but they will be playing their games a whole lot closer to home base than Texas will. Sure the administration in Austin would be thrilled to connect with outstanding academic institutions to the west, north or east, but from a sports perspective, the Aggies will get the last laugh. ”Hey, Mom and Pop of Recruit X, you can watch Junior play against the best competition in the nation with at least seven league games per year played in Texas, Arkansas and Louisiana. Or, you can let Junior head to the Pac-12 where you can catch his game with Washington State on FSN when it kicks off at 10pm Central Time. Your call.”
* The more the entire conference landscape blows up, the better the options for the SEC. If the Big 12 goes bye-bye, Missouri would seem to be the best leftover for Mike Slive’s consumption. If the Tigers feel the Big Ten won’t someday knock on their door. The trouble here is that the SEC would like to find a school that desperately wants in… a la A&M, South Carolina and Arkansas. If Missouri enters with some amount of longing for the Big Ten, what happens if Jim Delany — or his successor — someday comes calling on Mizzou?
The best case scenario for the SEC is for the ACC to shatter. Slive doesn’t want to be the cause of a rival league’s demise, but if the ACC were quaking to the point that North Carolina or Virginia Tech or Florida State gained interest in moving, you can bet the SEC would be waiting with open arms. We include FSU as a potential mate because — as we’ve stated time and again — we’ve been told by solid SEC sources that there is no “gentleman’s agreement” to lock out specific teams. The SEC’s goal is to conquer new territories, sure, but if the Seminoles were to ask for an invitation — and extending such an invitation made monetary sense for Florida — the Noles would be welcomed. After all, Florida, Georgia, Alabama and Auburn didn’t blackball FSU when the SEC offered them a slot in the league 20 years ago.