February 14th, 2012 11:38 AM║ Posted By: John Pennington ║ Permalink
║ Schools: Arkansas, South Carolina
Tags: Kansas City, SEC, South Carolina, Texas Exes
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.
“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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