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SI’s Staples Weighs In On A&M, Mizzou Moves

missouri-texas-am-logoSports Illustrated’s Andy Staples has today ranked all of the major conference realignment moves that have taken place in the past three seasons.  The best move?  Texas A&M’s to the SEC.  Among the many reasons the Aggies’ move got an A grade from Staples:

 

“… this union was a perfect cultural fit.  Fans at other Big 12 schools considered the buzzcut-sporting, whooping Aggies a tad odd.  Most SEC fan bases believe there’s something wrong with a school if its fans aren’t odd.  The Longhorns, who have the quietest 100,000 fans in America on fall Saturdays, look down on the Aggies.  Florida, LSU and Alabama fans just said, ‘Welcome to the Party.’”

 

But Staples’ take on Missouri — he gave the Tigers’ move a C — is a bit more interesting:

 

“One bad football season does not make this a terrible move.  Remember, in the preceding five years, Missouri was much better at football than Texas A&M.  The Tigers certainly need to get better on the football field — because their new rivals in the SEC East aren’t getting any worse — but calling this move a mistake because of one lousy football season is premature.  If, in 10 years, Missouri has not moved out of the SEC’s cellar, then feel free to say that the Tigers traded a world of pain for the financial security of the SEC.

As far as the SEC goes, Missouri was the only choice everyone could agree upon in the situation the league faced in 2012.  Some presidents and athletic directors wanted Florida State, but they faced fierce opposition from a bloc led by Florida and Georgia.  The most logical additions would have been Virginia Tech or NC State — which would have been geographic fits that opened new television markets — but neither wanted to leave the ACC.  Missouri was geographically contiguous and added two decent-sized television markets (St. Louis and Kansas City).  It also gave the SEC another AAU member.  Of course, if (former Ohio State president) Gordon Gee is to be believed, the Big Ten will try to snatch Missouri down the road.  That would be interesting, but it seems highly unlikely.”

 

Technically, Gee said that he would have liked to have added Missouri and Kansas already and that he could see that “potentially” happening in the future.  Gee is also known for making bizarro comments from far out in left field.  We at MrSEC.com don’t believe he was anymore speaking for Jim Delany and the Big Ten with regards to Missouri than he was when he made a poor joke about Catholics.

To a more interesting topic, the SEC’s expansion plans post-A&M were and are still shrouded in mystery.  Word leaked out quickly that Missouri and the SEC were playing footsie (as we had suggested might happen way back in the summer of 2010).  As for all the other schools mentioned, well, that depends on each writer’s sources.

Oklahoma was mentioned as a potential candidate because Mike Slive had spoken with Sooner brass a year earlier.  We don’t believe there was much to that.

Folks close to West Virginia University will tell you that Slive and Mountaineer AD Oliver Luck were secretly hoping Missouri would pass on the SEC and leave the door open for WVU.  The problem there?  If the SEC wanted the Mountaineers why didn’t Slive and company just invite them in the first place?

NC State and Virginia Tech were kicked around by several websites as potential targets should the SEC drive toward 16 schools at some point.  But at MrSEC, we never heard much talk about the two — aside from fan chatter — during the push to 14.

Several sources have said that Slive has longed for North Carolina and Duke for ages.  One ACC source even claimed to The Sporting News that the SEC commissioner had been wooing those schools for several years.  Obviously, if wooing went on, that wooing did not work.

Florida State would have been a brand name “get” — much like the Big Ten’s addition of Nebraska — but the SEC was more interested in growing its footprint in 2011 and adding cable households to its portfolio.  Only this offseason have we learned that FSU officials approached SEC officials — in 2013, according to reports — to see if the league Florida State once spurned might still have an interest in the school.  That answer was no.

The fact of the matter is we’ll likely never know for sure just who the SEC did speak with — either officially or unofficially — during the summer and fall of 2011.  What we do know is that Texas A&M and Missouri were the final choices.  And it will take a number of years to determine whether or not the SEC, A&M and Mizzou are a good match long-term.

 

 


19 comments
GeauxState
GeauxState

A&M clearly had the better first year but I think Mizzou will have some success later on. Hopefully, they'll be able to stay on the same level of recruiting with all their sports like our other members, really upgrade their facilities to SEC caliber...especially their baseball stadium. But overall Columbia is a nice college town and will fit in at some point. My family and I made the trip there for the LSU baseball series....loved the Shakespeare's Pizza and that Addison's Nachos! Welcome to the family Mizzou and good luck!

jMIZh
jMIZh

@MizzouMule Actually, I'm from little town in mid-Missouri that's known to the locals as "Columbia." You might have heard of it. 

MizzouMule
MizzouMule

M-I-Z S-E-C!!!  Best thing since sliced bread for both...NO doubt.  My guess is that jMIZh is from the Kansas City area.  Y'all in SEC land have to remember that this was/is a divided border state and we're not afraid to fight with family or friends.  Mizzou admin watched the Bevo 12 screw us every chance they could...every time.  The playing field was not level...why stay???  Geography...give me a break.  Big 10...stick it.  I miss the Big 8 too, but I'm not stupid enough to know it is long gone.  We showed the Bulldogs that we belonged in the SEC.  Just ask any GA fan that came to the game in COMO.  We have bunch of work to do on the football field, and HCGP knows it.  Injuries killed us last year.  I don't accept the "C" grade because it is based upon one-year of injuries.  Cellar???  Last time I looked Auburn, Tennessee and Kentucky had worst conference records last year.  We'll make the SEC proud of this move.  See, I remember Mizzou beating Auburn in the '73 Sun, Bear Bryant in '75, LSU in the '78 Liberty, Spurrier in the '05 Independence, Arkansas in the '08 Cotton and sweeping a home-home series with Ole Miss in '06 & '07.  Heck, we beat A&M on-the-road two years in-a-row ('10 & '11).  We won't win 'em all but we will win our fair share.  MANY THANKS SEC for letting us join the party and please come visit when you can.  Now let's play some ball.  M-I-Z!  Z-O-U forever!

jMIZh
jMIZh

I'm a lifelong Mizzou fan. I didn't want to go to the SEC at all. It's fine that's where we are, I guess, but we belong in a Midwestern conference, not a southern one. It's just the nature of college sports these days that logical regional arrangements are falling by the wayside, and there's nothing we can do to control that. But if you gave me control of the university, I'd leave the SEC first chance I got if the Big Ten came calling. I really thought Mizzou's move to the SEC was a move made by a school that was running scared from the implosion of the Big 12. It's a great deal financially and in terms of exposure, and in those terms, you can't help but be astonished that an SEC invite fell into Missouri's lap, but it made about as much sense as San Diego St. to the Big East. 

I'm learning to get used to it, I guess. 

bfswede
bfswede

Just listened to John's segment on KC radio & didn't perceive it as negative toward Mizzou.  He commented on the notion of "buyer's remorse" for Mizzou's entry into the SEC,  but that was brought up by the host.  And, frankly, there are some Mizzou people who do have some second thoughts about the SEC (I'm not one of them).  There was some talk about how conferences would have been better off staying at 12 teams, but that wasn't directed at Mizzou.  That seemed like more of a comment on logistics for a conference in that it's easier to operate at 12 teams than 14.  John even pointed out he thought Mizzou would have an easier adjustment to SEC life than Arkansas did when they joined the league.  Nothing in John's comments seemed "anti-Mizzou" regarding the institution or its entry into the SEC.

MizeryLovesCompany
MizeryLovesCompany

Buddha22 -- I live on the West Coast.  What did John say? I thought he was good on Mizzou's entry into the SEC as well... is that not the case?  That'd be a bummer to learn.

buddha22
buddha22

Good night, yet another "expert" weighs in with drivel I'm sure was pulled with all that passes as journalistic integrity from twitter and blogs.

John, just heard your segment on a podcast in KC with the sad sack ar-kansas hack TJC...seriously? Thought you were quite a bit more supportive, but I guess that is just for show here. Well, you made all the hurt feelings of the B12 listeners better. Very eye opening.

XEN610
XEN610

Based on most published items-the B10 was looking east and south.  We never fit that profile.  One bad year in football does not make this a C-the additional funds we will be getting from the move will help with facility upgrades.

In the long run, this will be a great move for both parties.  Mizzou will improve in athletics and we help improve the SEC's academic reputation.

pdaddyslammy
pdaddyslammy

I think it's a great match.  No fun getting beat up by Bama, Georgia, & South Carolina, but hopefully we can gain some respectability and be competitive.  Can't wait for the permanent 'rivalry' with the Hogs to start.  There are bumps & bruises, but definitely proud and grateful to be part of the SEC family.  No exit fees says all you need to know about the conference.  M-I-Z S-E-C!!!

XEN610
XEN610

@GeauxState The baseball stadium & facilities are one of the first things being upgraded with the influx of money from the SEC.  This is an opportunity to improve our athletics and that is how the administration looked at it.  It will take a couple of years-but it has started.  Thanks for visiting Columbia.

MizzouMule
MizzouMule

@jMIZh @MizzouMule Corrected.  Yep, I'm from a little farm town in the MO bootheel, a long time ago.  I've chopped and picked cotton.  TN was 8 miles, AR was 11 miles and KY was 15 miles away.  We're a diverse state.

The Big 10 had their chance.  Why go back to them with hat-in-hand???  Are ya nutts?  The Big 10 wishes they were the SEC.  Give it time and you will see.  If you look back...you'll turn to salt. 

buddha22
buddha22

John, you know my name.

Yes, it wasn't overt, but jumping on TJ's bus made all those birds shake their tail feathers crowing about "Mr SEC agrees MU was punked and that the SEC would have been better off not expanding." I guess I gave you too much credit thinking you wouldn't fall into that mud puddle or maybe you knew exactly what you were doing... The only reason I went to it was my jaysquak acquaintances were beside themselves that y'all didn't correct TJ and his ongoing drivel. I can at least say you didn't trot out the canard, as TJ does in the middle of every anti-MU rant (basically whenever he isn't talking about how much he knows about the SEC (a little) and how Ar-kansas is elite) that he doesn't hate MU, actually he thinks they are a great institution. I guess the only thing he has left to say is that "...why, some of my best friends went to MU." But, you didn't say it John.

pdaddyslammy
pdaddyslammy

@John at MrSEC Thanks for supplying the link.  I think your comments were right on - even though some were a bit painful.  I don't understand why the Big 10 didn't take us...  seemed like a natural fit and better than Nebraska.  Ironically, one of the B10's criteria has always been AAU schools only - Nebraska got dumped from the AAU about 9 months after the B10 invited them.  :)  Big 10 didn't ask - screw em - we're in a better place and better conference now.  I want Mizzou to succeed and grow into the SEC family.  Let's hope for better than 5-7 this year.  Bring on the Hogs in 2014!!    M-I-Z  S-E-C

TheN8tureBoy
TheN8tureBoy

@buddha22 I smell a scathing reply with empirical data to support his claim from Mr. SEC in three, two, one...

XEN610
XEN610

@buddha22 What station was he on?  Would like to find the podcast.  The grading was at SI. WVU to bxii is a D-seriously, everyone on both ends is starting to rethink that whole arrangement.

John at MrSEC
John at MrSEC moderator

@buddha22 

Whether I know your name isn't the point.  For whatever reason, the vast majority of people choose to remain anonymous when leaving angry or insulting remarks in internet comment boxes.  I attach my name to what I write and to what I say.  Unless someone's an anonymous source helping to get a story out, I don't see much use for all the anonymity.  That cloak simply allows people to be uglier than they normally would be if everyone knew who the devil they were.

Now, according to your latest comment, it seems that by agreeing to do an interview on a radio show in Kansas City I have given my stamp of approval to everything that's ever come out of the mouth of that particular show's host.  In addition, I'm also apparently responsible for how other people choose to misquote or repurpose my comments after I've made them.  

None of that makes very much sense, of course.

Reason One -- I'm asked by radio hosts across the country (and occasionally outside the country) to do 10- to 15-minute radio hits several times each week.  (Why they ask me... I don't know.  Perhaps I'm just easy to contact.  Maybe they haven't been able to track you down due to the whole anonymity thing.)  I think it should be obvious that I'm not actually listening to three or four hours of daily content from every show on which I appear.  Therefore, it's misguided to assume that my appearance on a show is my way of validating all of a show host's previous thoughts and statements.  To be clearer, I haven't a clue what TJ Carpenter says aside from the 10- to 15-minutes I spend chatting with him on air.  

Put another way, I once spent five wonderful days in Stockholm but it didn't mean that I'd renounced my American citizenship and become a naturalized Swede.  I simply dropped in for a visit... which is basically what I do when radio hosts call me from Kansas City, Savannah, Lexington, New York or New Zealand.

Reason Two -- I can't control how dim people misinterpret and/or misrepresent what I say on a radio show any more than I can control how dim people misinterpret and/or misrepresent what I write on this site.  You say that some Big XII fans took my "all conferences would have been better off with 12 schools" comment and presented it as some sort of proof that the SEC isn't happy with Missouri.  

That's absurd.  

First, I don't speak for the SEC.  Second, I didn't say anything close to what's been suggested.  Third, other listeners have checked out the interview at the link I provided and no one else has claimed that I was insulting Missouri.  Fourth, again, I'm not responsible for the remarks and reactions of dullards.

I can, however, teach you how to easily spot a dullard.  Step One -- go to a sports website.  Then venture into the comment section.  Look for an anonymous person who consistently leaves angry comments.  Those comments will usually claim that the anonymous writer's favorite school is always under attack by everyone in the media.  

Once you've spotted all of that, you've found yourself a dullard.

Thanks for reading the site,

John

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