Photo via Bill Carter.
It's pretty funny how we've gotten used to interpreting vague, realignment-related language. Yesterday, Missouri's curators announced, basically, that they might stay in the Big 12, but that they are weighing other options. We almost unanimously interpreted that as "MIZZOU TO THE SEC!!!" We understand the process by now -- Missouri will "explore options," the SEC might announce that they are "happy with 13," yadda yadda yadda, Missouri probably ends up in the SEC.
There are still landmines to avoid -- and lord knows landmine avoidance has not historically been a Mizzou strength -- but odds are pretty good that for just the second time in 100 years, Missouri is about to leave a conference. And unlike last time, when MU was flanked by Nebraska, Oklahoma, Iowa State, Kansas and Kansas State in leaving Washington U., Grinnell, and others in the Missouri Valley to form the Big 6, this time Mizzou will be going it (mostly) alone. Only Texas A&M is leaving with them, and that almost doesn't count -- the Aggies have already left.
We'll get to the nitty gritty at a future date (like, when this becomes official), but here's what we know right now: Mizzou's higher-ups felt they were still dealing with an uneven playing field in an unstable conference, and they are probably about to choose stability over history. Obviously most of us at Rock M are fine with the idea at this point, while Seth C and others from conference rivals know that their school would do the same thing; in this way, we have lucked out in terms of geography the same way that Texas has (only, on a much, much smaller scale). Mizzou unexpectedly found some leverage, and they are evidently using it to better their lot in life.
Still, I'm not sure we're all comprehending the amount of change that will be included in this move. It'll be great for Rock M Nation, of course -- I'll have 12 "Get to know your new conference rival" pieces to write, we might get lucky enough to get a new series of BKAO's, and you know I've got a "What If Missouri had been in the SEC all along?" history post to write. Still, Missouri has announced that it is intending to leave a set of hundred-year rivals (Iowa State, Kansas, Kansas State and Oklahoma), and with college sports drenched in history, tradition and rivalry, this is a really big deal. We can make the assumption that the KU rivalry will continue, but it is not a 100% certainty. We can treat all of this with a "SCREW YOU, SUCKERS!!!" vibe if we want, but it truly is a big deal and would be a tough move to make.
But that's enough for now. Enjoy some links!
SB Nation: Conference Realignment: Why Is Missouri A Target For SEC Expansion?
Team Speed Kills: Team Speed Kills Live Podcast with ... me!
The Trib: Missouri will explore conference options
The Missourian: Curators give Deaton power to explore SEC, other conference options
Post-Dispatch: Mizzou looks at leaving Big 12
KC Star: Curators tell Missouri to look beyond the Big 12
PowerMizzou: Missouri will explore its options
PowerMizzou: PMTV-HD: Looking Around
The Local Reactions
The Missourian: SEC move would bring significant change for many MU sports
Post-Dispatch: Big 12 searching for stability
PowerMizzou: Powered Up: Not Long for the Big 12
SimmonsField.com: Conference Hokey-Pokey™: What About Kansas? (re-post)
Links From Big 12 Country
KC Star: Kansas State A.D. laments Missouri's possible departure from Big 12
Bring On The Cats: Missouri Will Explore All Options for Conference Affiliation
Orangebloods: Missouri curators give chancellor authority to look around
Lawrence Journal-World: Missouri curators authorize Brady Deaton to explore MU's options
Links From SEC Country
Clay Travis: Missouri Fans Triump in SEC Campaign
EDSBS: EDSBS LIVE!
Team Speed Kills: BREAKING: Missouri Board of Curators Delegates Conference Realignment Authority To Chancellor
Roll Bama Roll: Missouri opens door to leave Big XII
Rocky Top Talk: A Proposal for New SEC Divisions
A Sea Of Blue: New Moves By Missouri To Become The 14th SEC Member
Kegs 'n Eggs: EXCLUSIVE:
Links From Elsewhere
Pre-Snap Read: Missouri Takes a Bold Step to the SEC
SI.com (Andy Staples): Big 12 should allow Missouri to join SEC, help college football realignment reach its natural end
Dr. Saturday: Missouri takes its first (official) step to leaving the Big 12 behind
College Football Talk: Mizzou gives chancellor power to explore conference affiliation
The Nova Blog: Missouri To Explore Their Options, Big East In Trouble Again?
ESPN.com: VIDEO: Andy Katz on Mizzou exploring its options