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Missouri 92 – Hawaii 80 (Video)

Video highlights of the Missouri 92-80 win over Hawaii Saturday in Kansas City.

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Ex-NFL GM Pioli On Texas A&M’s Manziel: “I Would Not Draft Him”

gfx - they said itIn the middle of a lengthy delay during last night’s Seattle/San Francisco NFL game, former general manager Scott Pioli was asked by NBC’s Dan Patrick for his opinion on Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel.  The ex-Chiefs and Patriots front office man was given Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson — who’s been very successful — as a possible comparison:


“You’ve got one player who has a great deal of maturity, and you have another guy who everyone is concerned about with his maturity level…

(His position plays a role) because this is going to be the leader of your football team, the leader of your franchise; probably the face of your franchise.  The last thing you want to do is put someone in that position with those issues that’s going to be representing your club.”


Asked point blank if he would draft Manziel, Pioli said: “Today?  I would not draft him.  What I would be doing is spending my time finding out and chasing the ghosts of the issues that he has.”

Pioli’s record in Kansas City can be thrashed, but his time in New England was pretty darned solid.  His response shows just how careful GMs might be when it comes to drafting players with any kinds of issues in the aftermath of Aaron Hernandez’s troubles.  (For the record, Hernandez was drafted by New England after Pioli had left for Kansas City.)

Interestingly, saintly Tony Dungy sorta/kinda agreed with Pioli: “I think he’s a special player.  I think he makes other guys around him better.  He excites his team.  I like Johnny Manziel.  Scott Pioli mentioned the off the field thing… that is what you have to figure out.  He’s right.  You don’t want the leader of your franchise, the face, to have questions off the field, but I like him as a player.”

Ex-player Rodney Harrison took a different stance: “He’s a top five pick… If you have an opportunity to draft him, he’s such a special player and he’s so rare, you have to draft him.”

We’ll likely find out next spring just which NFL franchises are A-OK with signing Johnny Football.  A redshirt sophomore, Manziel is expected to bolt to the pro ranks at first chance.  If he keeps his head down and his nose clean for the next half-year, it might go a long way toward erasing some NFL execs fears about him.

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Scandals, Scandals, Scandals… Three Takeaways (Rants) From The Latest SEC Scandal

gfx - honest opinionCome on in.  Take a seat.  This isn’t going to take long.  I just have a few things I’d like to get off my chest.

Today I spent about 15 minutes listening to some sports radio in my car.  In that time, I heard the same two points — really dumb points, I might add — made time and again across the dial.  In between growls and slaps to my forehead, a third issue came to mind, as well, and it’s equally aggravating.

So without further delay, please allow me this short rant about three things that drive me absolute batty.  Ready?  Good.


1.  Media members and ex-jocks must stop suggesting that paying players is The Answer (!) to cheating.

Are these people really so simpleminded?  Do they not realize that if a kid is willing to cheat for a few bucks now he’d also be willing to cheat for a few extra bucks on top of whatever a school might pay him?

Think of it this way — Let’s say colleges provide their players with a free meal.  Then boosters and agents and runners come along with the promise of a free piece of cake.  Ummm-ummm.  Tasty.

Now, let’s say that the colleges — in an effort to cut out these unscrupulous cake-dealers — decide that they will provide cake for their players.  Is it not painfully obvious that the boosters and agents and runners would immediately return with the promise of a little free icing to put on that cake?

If a man makes no money, he wants some.  If a man makes some, he wants more.  If a man makes more, he wants a lot more.  And so on.

So please, please, please stop saying that paying athletes would fix the NCAA’s cheating problem.  It wouldn’t.

And this is not coming from someone who’s against schools providing full-cost-of-tuition scholarships.  I’m fine with that idea.  But it wouldn’t deter cheating.  You know why?  ‘Cause a lot of people are just cheaters.

The providers want favors in return for their gifts.  The recipients want what they’re not supposed to have.  Presto chango… cheaters!

I hear these folks on national radio peddling this nonsense and I swear I think they should be yanked from the airwaves.  Hell, they probably shouldn’t be allowed to handle sharp objects or operate heavy machinery.  They’re daft.


2.  There is positively no quick fix for cheating.

Apparently this is the question of the day.  I’ve seen it asked on ESPN.  I’ve heard it asked on radio.  I, myself, was asked it on two radio shows today: “How can we clean things up?”

Short answer: We can’t.  Know why?  See Point #1: Some people are just cheaters!

In the case of the five SEC players who were allegedly paid by a runner for agents and financial advisers, some have suggested that the guys doing the paying should be thrown in jail.  Sure.  Sounds good.  I’m all for it.

Now good luck getting all 50 states to pass legislation that sends agents or runners or other boosters to jail for paying athletes.

Not.  Gonna.  Happen.

Now, the NCAA could get tough with coaches if it wanted to — “If you get caught cheating, it’s the career death penalty for you.” — but college presidents aren’t going to back themselves into that type of corner.  After all, their coach could be the next guy caught cheating.  But even if they did decide to take a draconian approach with coaches, there would still be boosters and agents and runners to deal with and the NCAA can’t go tossing people in actual jail which brings us back to — deep breath — attempting to get all 50 states to pass strong legislation that outlaws providing extra benefits to athletes.

But for the sake of argument, let’s say all 50 states did pass legislation saying that any booster, agent, or runner paying a college athlete illegally will go to jail.  And let’s say those folks couldn’t even hand a player a penny.  Nothing.  No cash whatsoever.  How long before the boosters, and agents and runners start providing meals?  Or shoes?  Or rides to and from campus?  Or rides across campus in a golf cart?  Or a night with the pretty little hostess in the school-color skirt?

You see?  Even if the NCAA got tough with the coaches and the states got tough with the folks giving money to players, there would still be people looking for loopholes and workarounds.

“How do we fix this?”  We don’t.  Not completely.  It’s always gone on.  And it goes on everywhere.  We’re just more aware of it today because there are more means of transmitting information than ever before.  So instead of having some dirt under the rug, everybody’s rugs are being lifted up and all the dirt beneath them exposed.  The problem’s not getting worse.  We’re just being exposed to the problem more often.

And there’s no way to completely fix the problem.


3.  Fans must not place blind faith in any coach or player, even their own.

Fan.  It’s short for fanatic (as you’ve no doubt heard a million times).  Fanatics are so crazed for their own institution’s athletic teams that their coaches and players are lionized to the point of being viewed as infallible gods.

Heaven help the media member who tries to point out that Tommy All-American is kind of — when you think about it — a jerk.  Fans back their guys.  Blindly.

If Steve Spurrier wants a columnist off his Gamecocks’ beat — and that columnist happens to work for a spineless weasel — the columnist will be taken off that beat, replaced with a fan — not a journalist, a fan — and some in the fanbase will gushingly approve.

That’s really happened at South Carolina.  But what it should tell USC fans is that Spurrier believes they’re stupid.  At least too stupid to read a man’s column and decide for themselves whether it’s a hatchet job or not.  And those few who cheer the reporter’s banishment — don’t you dare try to say I’m calling all Carolina fans stupid — are basically saying: “Yes, we are too stupid to read an opposing view.  No opposing views!  Ever!  We can’t handle them.”

Coaches aren’t the only one who get the bubble-wrap treatment from some fans.  Criticize the behavior of a certain star quarterback and a chunk of his team’s supporters will rise up in anger.  And, no, I’m not talking about Johnny Manziel (though Texas A&M fans had better pay close attention to this rant).

I’m talking about former Tennessee quarterback Tyler Bray.  When we chided him during his freshman year for his over the top on-field celebrations and taunts (including a throat slash gesture against North Carolina), several Vol fans filled our email box in defense of their supa-dupa gunslinger.  And when we dared to point out that tossing beer bottles at parked cars and hotdogging on jet skis might just maybe/kinda suggest deeper behavioral issues, we got smoked by some angry Vol fans in our comment boxes.  (Check ‘em out.  All you LSU fans who say I pick on LSU, you’ll see Tennessee fans claiming I never pick on LSU.  And all you Texas A&M fans who say I only talk about Manziel’s taunts, take notice, too.  Seems we’re a lot more consistent than some folks want to believe.)

Well now it turns out that ol’ Bray was indeed the bad news we made him out to be.  People, if it walks like a punk and it talks like a punk… it’s a punk.  Even if it wears your favorite team’s colors.

Ironically, those same fans who so loudly and angrily defended their quarterback are the ones who were ultimately punked by the QB himself.

The quarterback who once said, “I’m paid to win football games,” — remember that one? — is likely going to bring the NCAA posse back to Knoxville even though he’s long gone to Kansas City (as an undrafted free agent, we might point out).  Bray’s in the clear while the folks who called media members meanies for picking on “little stuff” are left to wonder what’s next for their tortured program.

The lesson?  Pull for your players and coaches.  Root for them.  But don’t put blind faith in them.  And don’t start hollering about media conspiracies the next time someone with an objective view states that your coach or your player might not be the A-1 peach you make him out to be.


One, two, three.  Just some raw feelings on a Thursday afternoon in the early part of scandal season.  Did I say “scandal season?”  I’m sorry, I meant football season.

Now I feel better.


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Players Caldwell-Pope, Noel And Coach Billy Donovan Top SEC Award Winners

honorsGeorgia’s Kentavious Caldwell-Pope is the SEC Player of the Year. The league announced its postseason award winners today with Caldwell-Pope becoming the first Georgia player to receive the award.   The sophomore was asked today if he’s headed to the NBA: “We’ve got the SEC tournament to worry about. I’ve just got that on my mind right now.” He did indicate he’ll make a decision on possible early entry after the season is over.

Kentucky’s Nerlens Noel was voted the SEC Freshman of the Year, and along with Alabama’s Trevor Releford, one of only two players to be named First Team All-SEC and be named to the SEC all-defensive team.

Florida’s Billy Donovan was recognized as the SEC coach of the year, the second time he’s won the award. The conference-champion Gators placed four players on the first or second All-SEC squads, the most of any team in the conference.

Eight different schools are represented on the First Team All-SEC squad.

Florida’s Patric Young won the SEC Scholar-Athlete of the Year while Kentucky’s Kyle Wiltjer was voted the league’s Sixth Man of the Year, a move that didn’t sit well with everyone.

Here’s the complete list of postseason award winners. Twelve of the 14 teams were represented – only Auburn and Vanderbilt were completely shut out.

First Team All-SEC                                                                          
Trevor Releford, Alabama – G, 6-1, 195, Jr., Kansas City, Mo.
Erik Murphy, Florida – F/C, 6-10, 238, Sr., South Kingstown, R.I.
Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Georgia – G, 6-5, 205, So., Greenville, Ga.
Nerlens Noel, Kentucky – F, 6-10, 228, Fr., Everett, Mass.
Johnny O’Bryant III, LSU – F, 6-9, 256, So., Cleveland, Miss.
Phil Pressey, Missouri – G, 5-11, 175, Jr., Dallas, Texas
Jordan McRae, Tennessee – G, 6-5, 178, Jr., Midway, Ga.
Elston Turner, Texas A&M – G, 6-5, 209, Sr., Sacramento, Calif

Second Team All-SEC                                                                  
Marshawn Powell, Arkansas – F, 6-7, 240, Jr., Newport News, Va.
BJ Young, Arkansas – G, 6-3, 180, So, St. Louis, Mo.
Kenny Boynton, Florida – G, 6-2, 190, Sr., Pompano Beach, Fla.
Mike Rosario, Florida – G, 6-3, 183, Sr., Jersey City, N.J.
Patric Young, Florida – C, 6-9, 249, Jr., Jacksonville, Fla.
Marshall Henderson, Ole Miss – G, 6-2, 175, Jr., Hurst, Texas
Murphy Holloway, Ole Miss – F, 6-7, 240, Sr., Irmo, S.C.
Laurence Bowers, Missouri – F, 6-8, 227, Sr., Memphis, Tenn.
Jarnell Stokes, Tennessee – F, 6-8, 270, So., Memphis, Tenn.

SEC All-Freshman Team                                                            
Michael Frazier II, Florida – G, 6-4, 200, Fr., Tampa, Fla.
Charles Mann, Georgia – G, 6-4, 205, Fr., Alpharetta, Ga.
Willie Cauley-Stein, Kentucky – F, 7-0, 244, Fr., Olathe, Kan.
Archie Goodwin, Kentucky – G, 6-4.5, 198, Fr., Little Rock, Ark.
Nerlens Noel, Kentucky – F, 6-10, 228, Fr., Everett, Mass.
Alex Poythress, Kentucky – F, 6-7, 239, Fr., Clarksville, Tenn.
Craig Sword, Mississippi State – G, 6-3, 189, Fr., Montgomery, Ala.
Gavin Ware, Mississippi State – F, 6-9, 270, Fr., Starkville, Miss.
Michael Carrera, South Carolina – F, 6-5, 212, Fr., Anzoátegui, Venezuela

SEC All-Defensive Team                                                               
Trevor Releford, Alabama – G, 6-1, 185, Jr., Kansas City, Mo.
Scottie Wilbekin, Florida – G, 6-2, 176, Jr., Gainesville, Fla.
Patric Young, Florida – C, 6-9, 249, Jr., Jacksonville, Fla.
Nerlens Noel, Kentucky – F, 6-10, 228, Fr., Everett, Mass.
Anthony Hickey, LSU – G, 5-11, 178, So., Hopkinsville, Ky.
Reginald Buckner, Ole Miss – F, 6-9, 235, Sr., Memphis, Tenn.

SEC Coach of the Year: Billy Donovan, Florida
SEC Player of the Year: Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Georgia
SEC Scholar-Athlete of the Year: Patric Young, Florida
SEC Freshman of the Year: Nerlens Noel, Kentucky
SEC Sixth-Man of the Year: Kyle Wiltjer, Kentucky
SEC Defensive Player of the Year: Nerlens Noel, Kentucky

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Texas AD Says SEC Has “A Sliver Of The East Side” Of Texas

While the SEC Meetings are taking place in Destin, Florida today, the Big 12 meetings are underway in Kansas City.  Asked about the possibility of the new SEC-Big 12 “Champions” Bowl taking place in Texas because the SEC now has a presence there, University of Texas AD DeLoss Dodds responded:


“They have a sliver of the east side.”



One must wonder if/when his own league adds Florida State to its roster of schools whether or not Dodds will say the Big 12 has gained “a sliver” of real estate on the Florida panhandle.

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SEC Headlines – 5/30/12

1.  Big 12 fans won’t like it, but The Onion — “America’s Finest News Source” — has decided to have a little fun with the new Big 12-SEC bowl game.

2.  Seven cities — Atlanta, Kansas City, Memphis, New Orleans, Orlando, St. Louis and Tampa — have expressed interest in hosting the SEC basketball tournament in 2017.

3.  It’s behind a paywall, but reports that one Big 12 source told the site, “I don’t sense serious interest in expansion at this time.”  (Yes, but was that source anti-expansion man, Texas AD DeLoss Dodds and will that view change if a playoff comes to pass?)

4.  Now here’s one you don’t see everyday.  Alabama football graduate assistant Derrick Crudup was arrested on May 22n for misdemeanor possession of marijuana.

5.  Aside from a football national title in 2010, Auburn has seen a stretch of troubles that trace back to decisions made in 2004.

6.  Arkansas hoopster Marshawn Powell continues his rehab process.

7.  This writer wonders if Les Miles and LSU have lost their nerve following last year’s 21-0 loss in the BCS Championship Game.

8.  Miles says he still wouldn’t change any of the play calls from the Tigers’ loss to Bama.

9.  Texas A&M football coach and SEC newcomer Kevin Sumlin plans to do more listening than talking this week.

10.  Billy Donovan feels there’s still more for him to accomplish at Florida.

11.  Will Muschamp says defensive end and linebacker Ronald Powell is ahead of schedule in his comeback from ACL surgery.

12.  The Anthony Davis — I’m sorry — the NBA draft lottery will be held tonight.

13.  What kind of impact will John Calipari’s plan to play more big games at neutral sites have on Lexington’s economy? 

14.  Wildcat football coach Joker Phillips ruffled some Cardinal feathers when he said yesterday that UK would have to consider dropping the Louisville game if the SEC ever went to a nine-game conference schedule.  (Funny, I haven’t heard Clemson, Georgia Tech or Florida State folks talk about dropping South Carolina, Georgia or Florida when the ACC going to a nine-game slate.)

15.  At least four Tennessee athletes reported thefts of electronic equipment from their dorm rooms prior to tight end Cameron Clear’s dismissal last week for allegedly pilfering a Vol baseball player’s laptop.  (Derek Dooley — the old attorney — didn’t bother to use the word allegedly when discussing Clear’s case yesterday.)

16.  Gary Pinkel says Missouri quarterback James Franklin is ahead of schedule in his recovery from shoulder surgery this spring.

17.  Former Tiger basketball coach Mike Anderson was pleased to watch his old team’s success from Arkansas last year.

18.  Mizzou and A&M are learning about life in the Southeastern Conference.

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Slive Talks Scheduling, Tournaments, & TV In KC

Mike Slive’s SEC welcome wagon pulled into Kansas City yesterday to help make sure the Missouri Tigers don’t become an afterthought in the lefthand portion of their home state.  It’s clear that Mizzou is making a strong PR push to keep KC-area residents interested in Tiger athletics… even though the Tigers will no longer be playing nearby Kansas and Kansas State.

According to The Kansas City Star,
Slive touched on the normal list of topics and we’ll give you a taste of each below:

* Scheduling — Slive said once again that the league’s ADs have shown no interest in moving to a nine-game schedule.  (We maintain that once everyone else starts playing nine BCS games per year, the SEC will be forced to follow suit or suffer in the national polls.)

“We have to decide how we’re going to schedule, and then if we’re going to have permanent (rivals), how permanent (rivals) are going to work,” Slive said.  “We’ve met a couple times, but not final decisions have been made.  I anticipate we’ll do that sometime between now and Destin” at the SEC Meetings at the end of May.

In other words, all the leaks and tweets between the presidents at South Carolina and Texas A&M don’t necessarily guarantee that Arkansas and Missouri will be paired as permanent football rivals.  (Though it sure looks like that will be the case.)

* Television — SEC schools can cut their own deals with networks for their local rights packages — like Florida and the Sunshine Network, for example — but the commish made it clear schools aren’t able to go the University of Texas route.  “Our institutions cannot go ahead and have their own networks.”

As for the current negotiations between the league and its current television partners ESPN and CBS, Slive said: “There’s not timetable, but you don’t want to be dragging it out forever.  We’ve had significant meetings with both of our partners.”

Slive would not say whether or not the league would start its own network like the Big Ten and Pac-12 have.

* Basketball Tournaments in Missouri — Missouri athletic director Mike Alden has already pushed both Kansas City and St. Louis to bid on future SEC Tournaments.  Earlier this month Slive stated that he “anticipated” a bid coming from St. Louis, but he said nothing of Kansas City.

So what did he say yesterday in Kansas City?  “If you’re asking if there’s a chance we bring the conference championship to Kansas City, the answer is… could we?  Yes.  Will we?  I don’t know.”  He did say that he thought KC officials might put in a bid.

St. Louis and Memphis, Slive said, have both expressed interest in grabbing the two currently open tourneys or 2016 and 2017.

Regarding St. Louis, Slive told The St. Louis Post-Dispatch that Frank Viverito — the president of the St. Louis Sports Commission — is “very serious” about landing an SEC tourney.  “He made it very clear that St. Louis has a strong interest in having every opportunity.”

* Moving the SEC Championship Game — I think we all know that this is a no-go.  The Georgia Dome has been home to the last 18 title games in a row and the commish said it’s staying put.

“It’s been very successful for us in Atlanta,” Slive said.  “Right now we’re under contract through ’17 with an option for ’21… we’re sold out every year, we have about a 99% renewal rate, we have a 20,000-person waiting list, and we draw somewhere between 35,000 and 40,000 people to our (SEC) Fanfare (event) adjacent to the game.  It’s a formula that one would be very careful about tinkering with.”

So, in all of that, did we really learn anything new from Slive’s stopover in the barbecue capital of the Midwest?  Only that St. Louis “very serious” about landing a hoops tournament — which was already anticipated — and that SEC schools could not form their own television networks.

It was believed that league schools could do so since they own their own local rights.  In fact, some sites reported that Texas could enter the SEC and keep its Longhorn Network.  Not so, according to the commissioner himself.

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SEC Headlines – 3/7/12 Part One

1.  Florida reported 12 secondary NCAA violations since last April and a few involved inadvertent — nudge, nudge, wink, wink — phone calls.

2.  For seeding purposes, the Gators had better not enter the NCAA tourney with a four-game losing streak.

3.  Georgia appears to be the frontrunner for Maryland offensive line transfer Max Garcia.

4.  “Pocket dialing” was also responsible for a few secondary violations at UGA the past couple of months.

5.  The Dawgs’ basketball team still needs a few more pieces.

6.  Kentucky’s Anthony Davis is a scene-stealer despite himself.

7.  Get ready for the emails, Jim.  For some reason CBS Final Four announcer Jim Nantz has announced who he thinks will reach New Orleans… and he doesn’t have the Cats making it.

8.  South Carolina is looking for a fresh start in the SEC tourney.

9.  Cock fans are still in a wait-and-see mode regarding Darrin Horn’s job status.

10.  Tennessee “can’t worry about the bubble” and needs to take care of its own business this week.

11.  The Vols’ Jeronne Maymon says he gets by on “quickness and smarts.”

12.  Vanderbilt’s Jeffery Taylor is focusing on “team,” not individual honors.

13.  This week’s Big 12 Tournament marks the end of an era for Missouri playing in Kansas City.

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Mizzou A.D. Wants An SEC Tourney In St. Louis, Too

Last month, Missouri athletic director Mike Alden came out in favor of Kansas City bidding to land and host a future SEC basketball tournament.  At the time, we said KC was on the far side of the state and far from all SEC teams not named Arkansas or Mizzou.  We suggested St. Louis would be a better fit for a Show-Me State tourney.

Now Alden is backing one of those, too:

“The SEC Tournament is going to be up for bid in 2017 and 2018, which I made sure that Frank Viverito and Dave Peacock (St. Louis Sports Commission members) know.  No reason why St. Louis can’t bid on having the SEC tournament here as well as the Missouri Valley Tournament.”

As we wrote last month, the SEC would be wise to award its tourney to a select group of host cities.  As the league learned from its tourney in St. Petersburg, Florida in 2009, taking the highest bid doesn’t necessarily guarantee good ticket sales or filled seats during national TV broadcasts.

In our view, Atlanta, Nashville, Memphis and New Orleans are all either centrally-located, tourist destinations, or both.  Those four cities should be part of any SEC Tournament rotation. 

Then if the league wants to bid out a tourney every now and then to St. Louis, Houston or even Kansas City to appease the newest members of the league, fine.  (The chance to nosh on some toasted ravioli at Rigazzi’s on The Hill is A-OK with this writer.)  But the league had better not bid tourneys out to the Hinterlands with too much regularity lest it damage its hoops reputation further via empty courtside seats shown during game after game on national television.  Because regardless of what the folks in KC, STL or Houston say, there wouldn’t be 10 people attending a Thursday afternoon first-round game between South Carolina and Auburn in any of those joints.

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Oklahoma Writer Projects Movers’ Regret For Missouri And Texas A&M

Berry Trammel of The Oklahoman has looked across the changing landscape of college athletics — West Virginia is finally clear to enter the Big 12, by the way – and determined the winners and losers in the 2010-12 realignment cycle.  While Big 12 entrants WVU and TCU are projected to have no regrets regarding their moves, the schools they’re replacing are gonna be sorry.

At least that’s Trammel’s take:


“Missouri: Regrets.  The Tigers actually will be fine with SEC football.  I think they’ll win their share of games, make a bowl virtually every year, make a run at a division title or two.  Might even win the SEC East sometime.  In other words, do about what Mizzou has done in the Big 12 the last 6-8 years.  But Missouri is going to miss Big 12 basketball.  Its games with Kansas.  The conference tournament in Kansas City, which has served as a Mizzou reunion lo these many years.  Neither can be replicated in the SEC, and when the Tigers are playing South Carolina or somebody in an 11:30 a.m. Thursday game in the first round of the SEC Tournament, with maybe 300 Mizzou fans and 4,000 total in the Georgia Dome, Missouri people will look at each other and say, what have we done?

Texas A&M: Regrets.  The Aggies left the Big 12 for one reason.  To get away from Texas.  Except the Ags are going to realize, they didn’t get away from the Longhorns.  In the boardrooms and courtrooms and teacher lounges all across Texas, there will be Texas Exes, grinning at A&M’s struggles to overcome Alabama or LSU or Auburn.  And the only satisfaction A&M ever got in this bad-blood rivalry — beating Texas — now is gone.”


Trammel, of course, is looking at things from purely a sports-related viewpoint.  In reality, Missouri and Texas A&M have further enhanced their financial futures by joining the SEC.  They’ve also taken themselves off what are often regional television broadcasts and put themselves in front of a full nation’s worth of viewers 90% of the time.  That equals more eyes on the schools, more donations, more student applications, more students, more graduates and more donors down the road.  Money is money.

But while MU will miss Kansas and A&M will miss Texas — they will — it’s not like Kansas and Texas aren’t losing their oldest, most-heated rivals, too.  And those are the schools who are refusing to play ball.  They’re the ones acting as though they’ve been wronged (even though Texas has flirted with every league but the NHL in the past three years).  It’s possible that cooler heads might prevail at some point and do what’s right by all four sets of fans… and that means reigniting these fiery series.

Until then, Mizzou and A&M alums might want to ask Arkansas and South Carolina grads about moving to the SEC.  Would the Hogs have preferred to remain in the now defunct SWC?  Would Carolina have rather stayed an independent?  Or tried to re-enter the ACC, a league it left in 1971 because the four North Carolina schools dominated that conference’s decision-making?

Arkansas and South Carolina have both had seasons of hoops success since joining the SEC.  Both are now enjoying tremendous football success.  And a strong argument can be made that Texas A&M and Missouri are on better footing entering the SEC than either the Razorbacks or Gamecocks were back in 1992.

Missouri and Texas A&M may have some regrets.  No move is made without some amount of pain.  But if losing Kansas and Texas, respectively, are the schools’ greatest hardships, well, that’s a small price to pay for progress.  After all, just look again to Arkansas.  You can be sure Hog fans missed playing the Longhorns on a yearly basis when they first jumped to the SEC.  Now?  They just enjoy finishing ahead of them in the national football polls each year.

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