MIZZOU has always been seen as a sleeping Giant during those comatose 80's and 90's. The opportunity of the SEC affiliation met the preparation of this MU administration/AD/Coaches and has this fan base at a level of interest and support not seen before, It is wresting attention even from the Chiefs, Rams, Blues and especially the Cardinals first fans. You can literally feel the excitement and expectations building and have begun to see the evidence of support most recently in the overwhelning response to season tickets. I can't wait to see the plans revealed for the expansion of the stadium. Looking forward to welcoming Georgia and their fans to our first SEC weekend in September. Welcome to the jungle, the ZOU will be roarin' and rockin'!
In an attempt to further spread the brand name of Missouri — I’m sorry, “Mizzou” — the SEC’s newest member has placed two billboards near the city of Atlanta. Another is just outside Valdosta, Georgia, not far from the Florida state line. They’ve put them up in Birmingham, Dallas, Jacksonville, Memphis, and Tampa, too. In all there are sixteen billboards, including the eight out-of-staters mentioned.
You can click the headline above — or this link — for a bit bigger look at the artwork and message.
Tiger football coach Gary Pinkel tells The Atlanta Journal-Constitution that there’s a reason nearly a quarter of the new signs are in the state of Georgia:
“It’s to market Missouri. We’ll be in Georgia recruiting. We’ve got great respect for the high school football in Georgia, especially in the Atlanta area. We’re just marketing our brand name a little bit. We’re going to get there and actively recruit … and we’re excited about it…
We’ve done a complete analysis of players that sign with BCS schools out of Georgia, and certainly out of the Atlanta area. The size and production of SEC and BCS is parallel to the Metroplex area in Dallas. The numbers out of Atlanta and Dallas are nearly identical. Both have great high school football.
What you do is go down there and figure out how many players from Georgia stay in the SEC and stay in the ACC, and how many leave the state and go elsewhere to play. We’ve got data on these kinds of things. And, if anything, it’s about identifying good players and selling Missouri.
We want to go down there with a good reputation of winning football games and graduating our athletes. It’s about marketing and developing trust … and slowly and slowly working ourselves into Georgia. We’re excited about doing that.”
The takeaway? Even if Pinkel loses the recruiting pipeline he’s set up into Texas — and many think that could happen if Missouri trades Texas A&M for Arkansas as its permanent cross-division football rival — the coach has already found a new target zone for a brand new pipeline.
Each February we point out to you that more SEC players come from Georgia than Florida. That’s a surprise to many, but Florida has umpteen FBS-level football programs. Georgia has just UGA and Georgia Tech with Georgia State on the way.
Missouri’s targeting of Georgia and — the Atlanta-area specifically — just means that schools like Auburn, Alabama, Kentucky, South Carolina, Tennessee and Vanderbilt will have even more competition when it comes to convincing kids to leave the Peach State to play ball at their pad.
Pinkel also explained the pitch he’ll use to differentiate his program from those new SEC rivals: “The facts are, in the last six years, we’re eighth in the BCS with winning in the nation. Those are facts. We’re certainly one of six teams that have won eight or more games in the last seven years. So we win at Missouri, and we consistently win. Over the last six years, we’ve graduated 96-percent of our players. Missouri is a great place and it’s a great college town with 33,000 students. Kids love to go to school here. We’ve got a lot to sell.”
And they’re already selling it via billboards across the Southeast. We’ll say this once more with feeling — Despite the doubters, Mizzou will end up being just as good a fit for the SEC long-term as Arkansas has been.