Your medium very much impacts your point of view. The famous example: if you watched the 1960 Presidential debates on television, you thought John F. Kennedy won by a landslide. He was calm and cool, while Richard Nixon was sweaty and off-putting. If you listened on the radio, you thought Nixon scored more points. The fact that so many people watched the debate on television gave JFK just enough of an edge to win a super-tight election.
Similarly, depending on your medium, you apparently ended up with an entirely different view of last night's press conferences. From my recliner, reading quotes on Twitter and articles afterward, last night's Missouri press conference basically went about as I figured it would. There weren't quite as many "We're proud members of the Big 12" declarations as I may have thought, but in the end Brady Deaton and Mike Alden basically said "Here's what's happening with the Big 12. We've still got some issues here (Texas LHN Texas LHN Texas LHN), and nothing has been signed, but this looks like where everything is headed. Nothing's set in stone yet, and we're not going to pretend they are, but we're most likely going to remain proud members of the Big 12."
Andy Staples, listening to both Deaton's and David Boren's press conferences, came away with the impression that Boren was much more certain of everybody's commitment than Deaton, but he also seemed convinced that in the end, the Big 12 will remain an entity.
Those attending the press conference, on the other hand, came away with a different impression. Dave Matter noted that Mizzou was emphasizing the word "work," as in "working to improve the Big 12." He ended his article (linked below) with the following Deaton quote: "We’re in the best era of intercollegiate athletic in Missouri’s history. That says a lot about where we are, where our fan base is and the conference that we’re in as well." In other words, the Big 12 is still a pretty good place to be, though we aren't yet committing to it long-term.
The Dearmonds, on the other hand (PowerMizzou's Gabe and the KC Star's Mike), came away from the press conference more convinced than ever that Mizzou is about to make a jump to the SEC.
My impressions? I wasn't there, so I wasn't reading body language, but this really does seem to me like a pair of Mizzou officials, knowing that Mizzou has a bit of leverage here (if the informal SEC offer truly does exist, and at this point I'm inclined to believe it either does or did), making sure their grievances are made public before they commit to anything long-term. Which makes sense. The agreements that came to light last night regarding TV rights and money suggest that if or when Big 12 teams do sign off on this new batch of changes, they are locked in for quite a while and will suffer financially if they leave. (Like last year's agreements, in other words, only with slightly sharper teeth.) Obviously one doesn't get the impression that the Big 12 is one perfectly united front, but I'm still under the impression that they are working in that direction and will eventually get there. (Until the next batch of realignment drama next summer.)
I reached a sort of Robin-Williams-in-Good-Will-Hunting peace this week when it comes to the entire MIZZOUEXPANSIONAPALOOZA™ saga. I've come to the following conclusions regarding realignment, and once I reached all of these conclusions, I slept like a baby*.
1. The SEC would be pretty awesome, and if the "informal offer" rumors are true, then that is proof that even if the Big 12 sticks around a while longer, Mizzou is going to remain on pretty good footing wherever they end up.
2. If the Big 12 does indeed stick around for a while longer, that's okay. Is it annoying? A bit. Do I want stability for once? More than anything. But we'll eventually get there, and in the meantime a) there is nothing wrong with continuing a bunch of rivalries that would end if we eventually get our way (Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Kansas State, perhaps Kansas, etc.), and b) clearly Big 12 membership has not hindered our ability to compete athletically. This athletic department is incredibly healthy -- these past few years have been as successful as any we have ever seen -- and it has become healthy in this crazy, unstable conference. We all desire change because of the inequality and instability, two things that probably won't get any better with a new arrangement, but even in this supposedly unequal and unstable environment, we are thriving, and we will continue to thrive.
Basically, Mizzou fans want to leave the Big 12 primarily because they're tired of the drama and they long to feel like they are being treated as equals by everybody in their conference. That's completely justifiable. But if it doesn't happen right now, it probably still will eventually, and even if it doesn't, it isn't hindering our ability to compete and grow. Remember that.
* Now that I have a three-week old baby, I realize that saying is garbage. To me, "sleeping like a baby" now means "sleeping in two-hour shifts and waking up both in need of food and a diaper change, and if it's the middle of the night, then the diaper changes will contain all sorts of surprises."
The Press Conferences
The Trib: MU reluctant to make long-term Big 12 pledge
PowerMizzou: Tigers talk but say little
The Missourian: Deaton says Big 12 has 'specific issues to be addressed'
The Missourian: MU, Oklahoma hope to take steps toward 'conference stability'
KC Star: Mizzou doesn't commit to Big 12, SEC still an option
SI.com (Andy Staples): Big 12 conference tries to come together after near breakup
CBS Sports: Big 12 tensely committed to an all-in future
Daily Oklahoman: Big 12 mess provides more reasons for OU to poke the eyes of Texas
Daily Oklahoman: OU president David Boren says Big 12 needed a fresh start
Beebe Out, Neinas In
Big 12 Sports: Big 12 Board of Directors Announcement
The Trib: Beebe officially out as Big 12 commissioner
The Trib (Steve Walentik): Statements from Deaton, Beebe about departure
College Football Talk: It's Official: Dan Beebe tenders resignation
Who's Chuck Neinas?
The Wiz of Odds: The Old Boys Network Is Alive and Well
Mizzou Football Links
The Missourian: Missouri hopeful to repeat upset victory at Oklahoma
Crimson & Cream Machine: What to expect: OU defense vs. MU offense
Crimson & Cream Machine: Oklahoma/Missouri Q&A With Rock M Nation
PowerMizzou: No Speedy Solutions
Daily Oklahoman: Franklins are Sooners by heart but Tigers by choice
The Trib: Jared Culver makes impact as Tigers' new backfield bruiser
MUtigers.com: Brad Madison producing, this time as starter
Interesting Topic A Couple Of Days Before A Huge Game
Post-Dispatch: Mizzou vs. Illinois: Chances of meeting in a bowl?
PowerMizzou: PMTV-HD: Morgan Steward runs to win
We Are Mizzou: Mizzou Dominates in the NFL
Other Football Links
- SB Nation (Spencer Hall): College Football Power Rankings: Les Miles Tips You With An Old Microwave
- Smart Football: NFL finally beginning to do a 180 on spread offense quarterbacks
Mizzou Basketball Links
- PowerMizzou: Frank Haith one-on-one
- KC Star (Campus Corner): Haith confident in Mizzou conference landing spot
MUtigers.com: Marcus Denmon Named All-American
The Trib (Steve Walentik): Preseason honors start coming to Denmon
The Dagger: Big 12 Preview: Ranking the 15 best non-conference games
Other Mizzou Links
MUtigers.com: Softball Kicks Off Fall Season
Mizzou Women's Basketball
MUtigers.com: Season Tickets Now on Sale
The Missourian: MU volunteer coach's passion for soccer trumps his busy schedule
MUtigers.com: Tigers Return Home to Face Aggies
MUtigers.com: 2011 VolleyZOU Video
The Run Of Play: On Landon Donovan
Grantland: An oral history of the 1987 fight between "Marvelous" Marvin Hagler and "Sugar" Ray Leonard