I’ve decided to start a brand new feature here at MrSEC.com that we’ll call “Lookin’ For Insults.” Whenever we get a particularly daft comment or email that claims I or another of our writers insulted some school or some coach when we actually haven’t done any such thing, I’m going to post it on the homepage for all to read.
We’ll start with a pair of fans who took offense to a piece written on Monday regarding the SEC’s decision to add Missouri and Texas A&M. Those folks read that post and found insults toward their favy-wavy schools… even though there was nothing actually offensive, insulting or derogatory about their schools in the story itself.
First, someone calling himself “redscribe66″ in our comment area claimed that I had attacked West Virginia University. His comment:
“Once again. Mr. SEC takes a shot at WVU. The national media has stated the Big 12 improved themselves vastly as they picked up three top 75 television markets (#24 Pittsburgh) (#9 Washington DC) and #64 Charleston Huntington. I fail to understand with the huge amounts of fans WVU has in the South (Charlotte, Atlanta, Nashville and Florida) why Mr. SEC has so many issues with them. Three quick thoughts: 1. Did SEC fans check out the Orange Bowl score, 2. Did SEC fans know WVU has been to the final four twice and 3. Do SEC fans know WVU is full of Rhodes Scholars, Truman Scholars and garners millions in research each year. They know it in Dallas and we are proud to be in the Big 12 as we found a family. Please Mr, SEC wish WVU the best as we do your conference.”
Wow. I really must’ve crapped all over West Virginia, huh?
Or maybe I simply stated that Missouri was chosen over West Virginia for SEC inclusion because one school is located in a bigger state with more eyeballs. Yeah, actually that is all that I wrote. (Oh, and for the record, the site is MrSEC.com and we have three regular writers. No one person calls himself Mr. SEC around here). Here’s WHAT I ACTUALLY WROTE that “redscribe66″ reacted to:
“Why these two schools?
Last summer, West Virginia officials made it known to the SEC (and the ACC, too) that their school was looking to make a move from the Big East. But WVU never got the nod from Slive and company. Missouri got the final slot in the league instead.
As we told you at the time, Missouri is simply a much bigger state than West Virginia. More cable households and more eyeballs should increase the potential value of ‘Project X,’ mentioned above. Those eyeballs and two large markets in Kansas City and St. Louis could help CBS and ESPN’s SEC ratings in that state. That will be good for those networks’ ad sales and it will please the CBS’ affiliates in the Show-Me-State as well.”
“Project X” is the SEC Network, of course. But that’s it. That was our entire mention of West Virginia. Damn mean of us, no?
Well, once I responded to the reader’s comment he posted a sorta/kinda apology for coming on “a little strong.” He also said, “Many WVU fans took it as Mr. SEC was against WVU’s SEC petition because it was a second-rate school.”
Then that’s because many WVU fans were simply looking to be insulted. This site never suggested during Expansionpalooza 2011 that WVU should be passed over because of academics. We did, however, state that academics would be a factor and WVU’s reputation would hurt their chances of inclusion. That’s not being “anti-WVU,” that’s stating facts. Facts that turned out to be, uh, facts.
But speaking of folks looking for insults, here’s an email I got today from a “Roger P.” (last name withheld because I’m a nicer guy than some of you think). In it, he makes it clear that in the same piece linked to above I also insulted Arkansas (the quote is verbatim, typos and all):
“I usually enjoy your articles. For some reason you do not give the State of Arkansas credit for being a southeastern state. Have you ever been to our state? Historically, geographically, culturally we are quite Southern.
I have family in Georgia. For some reason the people there think we are out West ,and that we ski here. Actually, Arkansas joined the Confederacy before Tennessee, North Carolina or Virginia did. We are celebrating our entry into the Civil War this year. There were over 750 battles fought here. Our people fought gallantly for the South. Football wise–we have been playing LSU and Ole Miss ,off and on , for well over a hundred years.
You once said that having Arkansas in the SEC was a bone head idea. Shame. You do not seem to question Kentucky that was aligned with the Yankees and is bordered by Northern States. Anyway, for the Razorbacks to be properly situated in the SEC was a long time wish of mine. We were never a smooth fit in the SWC.Granted, Fayetteville is in a remote corner of our state; but, there is not another state that is more loyal to the SEC than the Arkansas people. We find it quite off here when someone thinks we are not part of the South —especially “midwestern”.
Give us a break ,John.”
First, someone let Roger P. know that Lee gallantly surrendered to those damn Yankees just a short while ago. Second, I have been to Arkansas and liked the state very much. Third, never in frickin’ history have I ever “once said that having Arkansas in the SEC was a bone head idea.” Never thought, never said it, never wrote it. That’s a lie. Pure and simple an complete fabrication. A canard. BS. Probably taken from a made-up quote attributed to me on a messageboard.
But let’s look at WHAT I ACTUALLY WROTE about Arkansas:
“A&M and Mizzou will help create new traditions and new rivalries just as Arkansas and South Carolina have over the past 20 years…”
Nope, that must not have been what Roger P. found offensive. In fact, the typical insult-looker will skip right over anything that might be seen as positive in order to perceive a negative.
So maybe this was the part Roger was bothered by:
“From a passion perspective, Mizzou fans will no doubt strike up immediate rivalries with neighboring Arkansas and Kentucky.”
Couldn’t have been that one, either. So it must’ve been the only other mention of Arkansas in the story:
“Will A&M and Mizzou ‘fit’ in the SEC?
Much has been made of the Southeastern Conference going outside its footprint — which was the actual goal, of course — and adding one school from the Midwest and another from the Southwest. That’s talk from people who were anti-SEC expansion from the start. In reality, this isn’t akin to San Diego State joining the Big East.
Missouri and Texas A&M both fit the SEC mold. They are both large state schools. They are located in smaller towns where life revolves around their respective athletic fortunes (just like every SEC school not named Vanderbilt). Both are already planning multi-million dollar upgrades of facilities. And both are equal to or better in football than South Carolina and Arkansas were upon their entry into the SEC.
If messageboards and talk radio had been as big in 1992 as they are today, you’d have heard the ‘they won’t fit’ argument thrown out about the Gamecocks and Razorbacks, too. Especially ‘Midwestern’ Arkansas. Do you realize that Columbia, Missouri is farther east than Fayetteville, Arkansas?
Meanwhile, Texas A&M could very well have been an SEC school from the outset. The passion, tradition, facilities and ‘feel’ of A&M and College Station all scream ‘Southeastern Conference.’
So, yes, both will eventually come to feel like fits. Just as Arkansas and South Carolina have.”
If you can read the above section of our story without understanding that I was stating Missouri and Texas A&M will be just as good a fit as Arkansas — and that Arkansas has been a good fit — well, then you’re lookin’ for insults. Or you’re a nitwit. One or the other, perhaps both. Sorry, Roger P.
The whole quotation marks around “Midwestern” when referring to Arkansas should’ve given it away that that’s what others would have said back… oh, hell, why am I explaining this? I wrote it plain as day the first time. People in ’92 would have called Arkansas “Midwest” or “Southwest” because they were from outside the SEC’s geographic footprint. Heck, they did say that. Even the writer admits his own family still says that.
But we don’t agree with it. And we don’t agree when folks say it about Missouri, either.
My father told me long ago: “There’s what you say and there’s what they hear.” That goes for writing as well. I can write one thing, but a few folks so driven by fan passion will see something completely different.
Or something that isn’t even there in the first place.
Rhodes scholars and civil war battles. That’s the response we got to a piece about Missouri and Texas A&M joining the SEC.
Thank the Lord for the 99.99% of you who don’t read every story in the hopes of finding some hidden slight aimed at your coach, school or state. As for the few of you who are lookin’ for insults, we’ll now enjoy pointing you out from time to time just for laughs.
Rhodes scholars and civil war battles. Wow.
When I intend to insult you, trust me, I’ll make it obvious.
(Oh, and if you intend to claim I’m attacking MrSEC.com’s readers with this post, please note the whole “Thank the Lord for the 99.99% of you…” part. Thought I’d point that one out before our very first “Lookin’ For Insults” piece, ya know, drew in people lookin’ for insults.)