We've reached an interesting point in the MIZZOUEXPANSIONAPALOOZA™ 2011 saga. It appears "The SEC is interested in Mizzou" has passed the rumor stage and is into the Generally Accepted category; meanwhile, it appears some of the more hardcore pro-Big 12 (or, I guess, pro-Big Ten) higher-ups at Mizzou are potentially seeing the SEC as a more viable, likable option. If you believe the Dearmonds, Mizzou-to-the-SEC is as or more likely than not at this point; I still say it's more likely that Mizzou stays in the Big 12, but I am less sure of that than I was, say, Thursday or so. And it also appears as if neither Texas nor Oklahoma has the leverage to stop it (as evidenced by Kirk Bohls' "Fine ... go then" below), which ... well, it feels a bit odd, to tell the truth.
A&M Is Official
The Trib (Dave Matter): SEC officially welcomes Aggies
Dr. Saturday: For real this time: Texas A&M officially joins the SEC
Team Speed Kills: Texas A&M Joins SEC, Becomes Conference's 13th Member
It's a pretty solid guess that Baylor and the other Big 12 holdouts finally dropped their legal claims after the Pac-12 decided not to take Oklahoma and Oklahoma State if Texas wasn't part of the deal. Either that, or the SEC and A&M decided there wasn't much room for a lawsuit when the Big 12 will survive. Or stagger through another five years hoping that Texas doesn't do anything else stupid. Whichever you prefer.
We also now know that there's not going to be a 14th team in 2012-13. Why? First of all, the time limit is prohibitive. Neither the SEC nor A&M anticipated the weekslong detour through the Pac-16, part two drama, nor the ACC's surprise raid on the Big East. It's going to take some time to go through Mike Slive's checklist of potential members, and much of that time was consumed with negotiating A&M's exit. Also, there's no reason to rush and announce A&M as the 13th member if No. 14 is close behind.
ESPN.com (Ivan Maisel): Texas A&M Aggies hit tipping point in bolting for SEC
Texas A&M, like Michigan State, lives in the shadow of a sister public institution with a richer football tradition. Texas A&M, like Michigan State, has won one national championship (1939) and won it so long ago that no one remembers the players. Jarrin' John Kimbrough, anyone?
Never has one school combined an indomitable spirit with such a domitable football team. There have been pockets of success: D.X. Bible right after World War I, Homer Norton right before World War II, Paul (Bear) Bryant in the mid-1950s, Jackie Sherrill in the mid-1980s.
R.C. Slocum sustained the longest run of success, leading the Aggies to first-place finishes in the Southwest Conference in four consecutive seasons (1991 to 1994, though they were ineligible in '94). That went over so well that the league dissolved soon after. [...]
Through the lean times and the occasional flush ones, the Aggies always had their pride. Them being so full of themselves may have made Aggie jokes resonate to the rest of us. But Aggie pride also fueled an unconquerable optimism that bordered on braggadocio. Aggie players played better, ran faster and tackled harder, whether they did or not. Their fans believed, no matter what the scoreboard said. As the saying goes, Aggies don't lose, they just run out of time.
The Big 12 Kind Of Screwed Itself
The Trib: Source: Crucial Big 12 vote fell short last spring
Last spring, the 10 members of the Big 12 discussed granting their first- and second-tier media rights to the conference but failed to reach an accord on a decision that could have secured the long-term stability the league now lacks.
Seven schools were in favor of securing the rights to the conference, while three stood in opposition, a source with knowledge of the league proceedings told the Tribune. The three schools against the measure, according to the source, were Oklahoma, Texas and Texas A&M.
Had the measure gone to an official vote, it would have required eight votes to pass.
The other members — Baylor, Iowa State, Kansas, Kansas State, Missouri, Oklahoma State and Texas Tech — were in favor of the move, the source said, which would have turned over their schools’ TV rights to its most attractive football and basketball games to the conference, making it virtually impossible to leave for another conference during the length of the agreement.
Mizzou May Or May Not Have An SEC Offer And May Or May Not Be Getting Closer To Accepting It
The Trib: Missouri tries to make use of leverage
Post-Dispatch: Focus is on MU as SEC officially gets Texas A&M
Because the Southeastern Conference had resolved not to proceed with ushering in A&M until the Baylor-led legal wrangling was reconciled, it now faces a new landscape: an unwieldy membership of 13 but a perhaps less litigious-minded Big 12 to contend with if it is indeed serious about MU to be its 14th.
Rectifying those issues had been paramount to the SEC as it has gazed more fondly in recent weeks at Mizzou, which certainly has been at least winking back.
Now, if both sides remain intrigued, the full-blown game of semantics could be on.
At the heart of the issue: Is the Big 12 viable without Missouri?
Interim commissioner Chuck Neinas said in a teleconference Friday that he believed it could be.
Post-Dispatch: Changing SEC academic profile could help make match with Mizzou
Post-Dispatch (Bryan Burwell): Big 12 is the best fit for Mizzou
How in the heck did a conference full of such storied championship accomplishments on the national stage find itself in such jeopardy? And closer to home, how did an athletic program of MU's stature find it necessary to play this coy game with the rest of its conference "partners?"
And by "partners" I mean the other conniving university presidents who have all been cutting so many side deals and exit strategies that the new conference logo should be a revolving door with a knife stuck in the back.
In the year of its near collapse, the Big 12 boasts the No. 1 football team in the country, four teams in the top 25 and no fewer than a half dozen teams that should appear in college basketball's preseason top 25. Yet it's spent the better part of the last 17 months fending off expansion-hungry raiders. How does this happen?
It's all rather simple. Just like the financial meltdowns on Wall Street, the root of all evil in college sports reeks with a similar stench: shameless moral hazard. So even now as the Big 12's interim commissioner Chuck Neinas says everything has stabilized (while simultaneously the folks at Mizzou continue to flirt with the SEC), I wonder if anyone's learned a thing.
Anchor Of Gold: Winners and losers in 2011 conference realignment
Daily Oklahoman (Berry Tramel): Missouri plays the maverick
Austin American-Statesman: 9 things and 1 crazy prediction for this week
Missouri should be ashamed of itself for saying at its first press conference after the Big 12 was saved that it couldn't positively state it wouldn't leave for another conference. Come again? Missouri, you started this, so end it. Missouri was the first to have its hand up in 2010 when the Big Ten entered the room and the Tigers said, "Pick me, pick me."
Chuck Neinas Has His Work Cut Out For Him
College Football Talk: Neinas to start rebuilding Big 12 in October
The Trib: Big 12 interim commissioner thinks MU will stay
"What the chancellor told me is he has some curators that are new and they are interested in discussing some things," Neinas said. "But I do believe in the end it will be resolved. … I do think that Missouri is going to stay."
The Big 12 Will Expand At Some Point
Daily Oklahoman: Re-inflating the Big 12 will require expanding back to 12 teams
Daily Oklahoman: Big 12 needs 12 teams, not 10 (Just in case nobody was listening to Tramel the first time...)
Mizzou Football Links
Blatant Homerism: Ridiculous and Sublime: Oklahoma 38, Missouri 28
Gabbert's First Start
Washington Post: Gabbert throws for TD in 1st start as Jaguars fall to Panthers 16-10
Big Cat Country: Jaguars lose to the Panthers by playing not to lose
Jacksonville.com: Jaguars must right the ship quickly
SB Nation: VIDEO: Blaine Gabbert, Mike Thomas Connect For Touchdown To End First Half
Other Football Links
Oklahoma State > Texas A&M
Daily Oklahoman: No. 7 Oklahoma State rallies to 30-29 win over Texas A&M
Daily Oklahoman: OSU quarterback Brandon Weeden sets 3 school records vs. Texas A&M
Daily Oklahoman: Justin Blackmon's goal line fumble an 'embarrassing situation'
SI.com (Andy Staples): Oklahoma State's comeback win over Texas A&M extra special
Grantland: Brian Phillips on the misery of Oklahoma State football fans
Kansas State > Miami
KC Star: K-State hangs on at end for 28-24 win over Miami
Topeka Capital-Journal: Collin Klein passes test against Miami
Topeka Capital-Journal: Breakout for Cats belongs to John Hubert
Topeka Capital-Journal: Replay confirms KSU D a winner
Texas Tech > Nevada
Lubbock Avalanche-Journal: Raiders narrowly escape with win against Nevada
Lubbock Avalanche-Journal: Tech still perfect, but flaws evident
Dallas Morning News: Late fourth and goal conversion gets Red Raiders past Nevada, 35-34
Baylor > Rice
Houston Chronicle: Robert Griffin III too much for Rice in 56-31 victory
Mizzou Volleyball Links
Mizzou 3, Texas A&M 1
MUtigers.com: Volleyball Defeats Texas A&M, 3-1
The Trib: MU volleyball wins closely contested match vs. A&M
The Missourian: Henning's improvement boosts Missouri
Mizzou Soccer Links
Texas Tech 1, Mizzou 0
MUtigers.com: Mizzou Drops Big 12 Opener
No. 2 Oklahoma State 2, Mizzou 0
MUtigers.com: Mizzou Falls to No. 2/3 Oklahoma State, 2-0
The Missourian: Missouri staying positive despite Big 12 losses
Other Mizzou Links
MUtigers.com: Tigers Open Fall With Sweep