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Report: Missouri Has An SEC Offer

Mike DeArmond of The Kansas City Star reports that — according to a source — the SEC has made official offer for Missouri to join the league.  The source is “a Mizzou booster who spoke directly to a MU official.”  Hardly gospel, but that doesn’t make the report wrong.

The source also told The Star that Mike Slive has told Missouri that he and the SEC are willing to wait for the Tigers to figure out the future of the Big 12 before committing.

“Apparently they’ve come to us,” the booster told the paper.  “I’ve been told there is an offer on the table… After the Big Ten things started falling apart (last summer), they wanted to talk to us.  We didn’t talk to them.”

When word leaked that WVU had already been nixed, we wrote that that suggested the SEC already felt pretty good about School #14… why else nuke a fallback option?

So, reading the tea leaves, we believe it’s likely that the SEC has a tentative yes from Missouri.  And that’s a good get.  Oh, Missouri doesn’t carry the name value of Oklahoma, Texas or Florida State, but it is a very good school, it’s location makes sense, and it brings in lots of new eyeballs and new recruiting territory.

(Some sites will tell you that they’ve been pushing Missouri this summer, we began making the case for Mizzou in May, 2010.  At the time, Missouri was viewed as a ridiculous suggesion.  Not anymore.)

But here’s what doesn’t look good:

1.  The SEC still seems to have a greater interest in Missouri than vice versa.  That’s not been the case with Texas A&M, Arkansas or South Carolina.  It makes one wonder how loyal Mizzou would be if the Big Ten started batting its eyes in the direction of Columbia.

2.  Missouri is a very smart “secondary” choice.  Unless the SEC raids the ACC and announces the landing of Florida State, North Carolina or Virginia Tech… it’s clear that Slive believed the lure of the SEC to be greater than it actually turned out to be.  No knock on Missouri, but if Slive could have landed a bigger name school or an even better geographic fit, he would have.  For now, it appears he didn’t.

If Missouri and the SEC eventually marry, the results should be fine.  If the league stops at 14 schools, we expect Auburn to move to the SEC East and the league to switch to a 9-game in-conference schedule with two “protected” cross-divisional games.

There’s nothing wrong with Texas A&M and Missouri if that’s the SEC’s final pull.  It’s solid and smart and it will work.  It’s just not A&M-FSU or A&M-Virginia Tech in terms of branding.


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