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New SEC Permanent Rivals? That’s News To Mizzou

Last weekend, South Carolina president Harris Pastides said that the SEC’s ADs “were in favor of a change for Arkansas to be Missouri’s permanent opponent and for us to get Texas A&M.”  After eyeballing the results of an online fan poll the prez gave a thumbs-up to that proposal.

On Monday afternoon, Texas A&M president R. Bowen Loftin took to Twitter to apparently verify the new A&M-USC union:

“Just had a great conversation with the South Carolina president about our permanent SEC rivalry.  Will make this very special!  #SEC #WHOOP”

So end of story, right?  A&M draws Carolina and Mizzou picks up Arkansas and the rest of the league’s permanent rivals stay intact.  Well, not according to the folks in Columbia.  The one to the West.

The Kansas City Star reported last night that when football coach Gary Pinkel was asked about Missouri’s loss of A&M and gain of Arkansas, he said he had no idea where the process stood:

“I talked to (athletic director) Mike Alden and never in any meeting he’s been in has it even been discussed.”

Hmmm.  Best guesses:

1.  If Carolina and A&M’s presidents are flapping their gums about a new partnership, it’s hard to believe that marriage isn’t on the way.  (Then again, Pastides announced last fall that the SEC would be going to a nine-game schedule ASAP and that did not occur.)

If Alden has not been present for any meeting in which these moves were discussed then it means either a) he wasn’t present in Nashville last week — and we believe he was — or b) there’s some backdoor dealing going on in the SEC… and Mizzou’s future is being impacted by other voters.  Part of the one-for-all, all-for-one SEC mindset requires the occasional self-sacrifice from league members.  And losing Texas would be a sacrifice for MU.

Which brings us to possibility…

2.  It could be that Alden is delaying — until things are finalized — telling Pinkel that he’s about to lose his strongest tie to the recruiting base he’s milked to rebuild the Tigers.  If Pinkel had a vote, you can bet he’d pick keeping Texas A&M on the table.  With a Lone Star pipeline built and new yearly battles with Georgia and Florida, Mizzou might have some work to do, but no one in the league would boast better ties to the SEC’s three best recruiting zones.

Perhaps rival SEC ADs aren’t in favor of giving that kind of aid to a conference newbie. 

If the Carolina-A&M marriage comes to pass, then it will be the Gamecocks who’ll have the best recruiting ties in the league with guaranteed games every other year in Georgia, Florida and Texas.

(And, yes, we realize getting prospects out of those states and into other more distant schools is easier said than done.)

But there’s also possibility…

3.  Pinkel is simply keeping his mouth shut and playing it coy.  It’s not his fight, why talk about it?

Either way, it’s odd that A&M and USC officials went public with talk of their new rivalry earlier this week, yet Missouri’s coach said yesterday he’d been told there had been no discussions on that topic whatsoever.

UPDATEThe St. Louis Post-Dispatch has provided Pinkel’s full comment on the matter when asked about losing A&M for Arkansas:

“I have no idea.  I talked to Mike (Alden), and every meeting he’s ever been in, it’s never even been discussed.  That’s what he said to me.  And at the head coaches meeting, that wasn’t even discussed.”

As we suspected, Pinkel admitted to not wanting to get into the matter:  “Since I don’t have any control over it, it doesn’t really matter.”

Meanwhile, The Post-Dispatch reports that a Mizzou spokesperson said he’d heard nothing official of the switch.  Ditto an Arkansas spokesperson.

UPDATE #2 – Asked about the comments made by Pastides and Loftin, SEC commissioner Mike Slive said:

 ”I’ll wait until our league makes a final decision before I make such pronouncements.”



It appears that the SEC misled Mizzou.  The SEC & Mizzou benefit from the move, but it appears that Mizzou will pay a heavy price.  Texas recruiting is what has allowed the program to step-up.   If Mizzou does not play there, then the kids will stay away.  Also Arkansas benefits most w/. the new arrangement.  Arkansas has been competing w/ Mizzou for kids in Texas.  Playing in the west gives Arkansas an advantage and in addition it allows them to recruit Missouri.  Only the hogs benefit from the new rival.


I think the recruiting for Texas is being overblown. Mizzou will still be able to tap the Texas pipeline to get the kids that want to play top level ball in the SEC. Pinkel has shown that the can develop players. Now that they will be on TV every week through out the state of Texas, the playing in Texas will not be as important. In the B12, living in Houston, I can promise you that you never saw Mizzou on TV. It was TU, TAMU, and SEC games being aired. The B12 north never was shown unless it was that rare week that the two ranked B12 north schools were playing and the Texas schools were playing dogs.


I think most Mizzou people, including Pinkel, knew that this - annual rivalry game with Arkansas, either cross-divisional or by winding up in the same division - is where it would eventually wind up, but thought that it would take a while and during that period Mizzou would keep the A&M games and be able to establish itself recruiting-wise in the rest of the SEC footprint.  It is the prospect of this change happening sooner rather than later that is a surprise.


From a fan perspective, I really like having Arkansas as a permanent, yearly game. That will be fun. The recruiting aspect is not good but I have faith in Coach Pinkel --- he will find a way to make it work.

John at MrSEC
John at MrSEC moderator



I realize that you believe too much is made of the Missouri-Texas recruiting thing.  Trouble is, it's Missouri football coach Gary Pinkel who's expressed an interest in continued games in Texas.  This from the above St. Louis Post-Dispatch story:


"Pinkel had been interested in keeping A&M as Mizzou's cross-division rival so that Missouri could keep a closer tie with the state of Texas for football recruiting."


TVs are great.  Many kids are looking to leave home.  


But there's no denying that playing a game inside a state helps recruiting.  There's a reason Arkansas and LSU keep going to Arlington, Texas and why Alabama keeps going back to the Georgia Dome in Atlanta.


Thanks for reading,



 @MiloMoon Johnathan Williams certainly disagrees, but maybe Mizzou will be able to recover.


Mizzou will try to scrape by without him.  Thanks for the concern.


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