I pick on Missouri a lot because it’s my job. Really.
Missouri fans don’t like me very much. But it comes with the job.
Missouri, in case you haven’t read, is still considering leaving the Big 12. The university’s administration will get around to making a decision at some point, I’m sure. It’s not like anyone is in a hurry.
It would be shocking, in the end, if the Tigers don’t head for the SEC, where they will eventually do battle with the likes of South Carolina, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Tennessee and Vanderbilt in the East Division. The combined distance from Columbia, Mo., of Athens, Ga., Columbia, S.C., Lexington, Ky., Knoxville, Tenn., Gainesville, Fla., and Nashville is 4,121.8 miles. Does anyone in college athletics know how expensive gasoline is?
If you think that’s crazy, though, how about West Virginia apparently being on the cusp of joining the Big 12. A trip from Morgantown, W. Va., to Lubbock, Texas, is 1,465 miles. That’s not exactly an over-nighter to Grandma’s house.
So what’s going on here?
More of the same, unfortunately. Athletic conferences are in a state of panic and disarray as threatened universities and their administrations look for the best deal available, even if the deal isn’t very good.
Missouri to the SEC? I’m still waiting for a logical explanation. Could it be that Missouri believes its headed for the ACC and there’s just a communication problem, like in the St. Louis Cardinals’ bullpen last night during Game 5 of the World Series?
My crack research staff points out that Missouri has never won much of anything in the Big 12. Now the Tigers are going to up the ante – in football, especially – and try to win in the SEC?
If this weren’t all so crazy, I would be laughing. Missouri has always been able to make me laugh.
The Tigers are abandoning one of the great rivalries in college sports – with Kansas – to go and play Georgia and South Carolina? It’s possible Missouri could form a rivalry with Arkansas in the SEC, except Arkansas will be in the West Division and won’t play Missouri in football that often.
I just don’t get it. But the folks at Missouri aren’t asking me.
Meanwhile, the West Virginia Mountaineers look to be headed toward the Big 12, where a mountain hasn’t been seen since the Paleozoic era. I wonder how many Big 12 football players would be able to point out West Virginia on a map? Heck, I wonder how many Big 12 football coaches would be able to point out West Virginia on a map? I’m almost sure Texas Tech’s Tommy Tuberville could not.
As football schools go, though, West Virginia is a notch ahead of Missouri. The Mountaineers have played in two BCS bowl games, two more than Missouri. And West Virginia will re-unite former Kansas State basketball coach Bob Huggins with the Big 12 following his one season in Manhattan with the Wildcats.
Yes sir, West Virginia is a perfect fit for the Big 12, the same way Ashton Kutcher is a fit with Demi Moore. But hey, they’re somehow making it work in Hollywood. And the only bright lights in the Big 12 are those that go on when there’s a show on the Longhorn Network.
On a serious note, I want to give my regards to Missouri and wish it well in the SEC. Congratulations on all the Frequent Flier miles you’re about to accumulate and give my best to the ol’ ball coach at South Carolina. I’m sure your fans won’t mind the 431-mile drive to Nashville – the shortest trip you’ll be making inside the SEC East, by the way – to watch your teams play.
Just remember, it’s a little different in the South. The people talk kinda funny. You’ve had an aristocratic view of yourself during your time in the Big 12. Well, you better wipe that smirk off your face or the football teams in the SEC will wipe it off for you.