Mizzou Moves to the SEC: The 1-Year Anniversary

Bill C.

Regrets? Not so much.

(I'd have gone with a "Declaration of Independence versus Constitution" analogy myself.)

Today, SBN's A&M site, Good Bull Hunting, took the time to do a little bit of chest-pounding, and for good reason. Under a new coach, the Aggies have fared just fine in their first season in the SEC West. Granted, their best win in a (thus far) 7-2 campaign has been at Mississippi State, but A&M is nonetheless 7-2 and 15th in the BCS standings.

(I'll take this moment to do a little chest-pounding of my own, though I obviously had no idea that the Aggies would suddenly be in possession of the most exciting young quarterback in college football. And anybody who tells you they saw Johnny Manziel turning into "Johnny Football™" this soon is lying.)

It's been a little bit of a different ride for Mizzou. A combination of a brutal stretch of injuries (I think I've used that four-word phrase about once per day over the last two months) and an improved SEC East have resulted in a 4-5 start for your Tigers. A trip to The Other Columbia turned out poorly, and James Franklin's third injury in six months came just early enough in the Vanderbilt game to cost the Tigers that one as well. Luck has not been on Mizzou's side, and unless the Tigers can win two of three to finish the season, therefore keeping their bowl streak alive, they will have to endure a long season of "Mizzou wasn't ready for the big, bad SEC" talk, fair or not.

So here's an easy question on the one-year anniversary of Mike Slive's and Bernie Machen's visit to Columbia: If you could, would you take it back? Would you have preferred to just suck it up and stay in the Big 12? Some will say yes, but ... while I could be wrong, I'm going to go out on a limb and say it will skew more toward "a few" than "many."

ABC's Ed Cunningham didn't exactly have his finger on the pulse of Tiger nation last week when he took to radio troll Kevin Keitzman's show in Kansas City to proclaim that Mizzou made a big mistake.

"Of all the [conference] movement, Missouri to the SEC I think was the worst decision across every category you can grade it. I think it was a knee-jerk reaction to thinking the Big 12 was going to implode. Not only is it not going to implode, it’s really strong. […]

"I don’t mean to go off on a rant here, but of all of the money grabs… Missouri would have made just as much if they’d have stuck around in the Big 12. […]

"Frankly, I would bet there are conversations at Missouri about how we undo this. Because Missouri should get back in the Big 12. They should just admit their mistake, come back with their pockets pulled out and say, ‘What do you need from us?’ Because it’s just a disastrous decision, I think."

(Elsewhere in the interview, Cunningham also evidently brought up the "so much more travel" thing, which I always enjoy considering how close Mizzou was to Waco, Lubbock and Austin.)

So if this was a "disastrous decision," and that Mizzou should "admit their mistake" ... don't you think Mizzou and its fanbase would be feeling that way, too? Do you think for one second that Mike Alden regrets the decision? Brady Deaton? Hell, Mike Slive? No? Yeah, neither do I.

As Kansas City's Greg Hall put it in the link above...

The main reason the Big 12 is alive and healthy today is exactly because CU, NU, A&M and MU left! I am not sure of Cunningham’s education but he apparently slept through of number of his classes. Missouri left the most unstable conference for the richest and most stable conference in all of college athletics. […]

While the Big 12 was hurriedly adding huge financial penalties to its bylaws for any members who might desire to leave, the SEC has no such shackles on their teams – because no one wants to go. Should Kansas look to secede from the Big 12 due to their poor football performances the past few years? What was K-State thinking staying in he Big 6/8 their first 70 or 80 years in the conference? Cunningham and KK want MU to quit after two months in the SEC? That Mizzou Tiger stock is a bit hardier than talk radio fodder. […]

Kietzman stated that Cunningham’s words might have Missouri fans pounding their vehicle’s steering wheel. Kietz wishes. Mizzou is more SEC today than they ever felt Big 12. Ever. The Big 12 is not the Big 8 we all knew. That changed everything. And for most, (sorry Colorado) for the good.

Mizzou currently stands at 4-5, having lost to the country's No. 1, No. 5, No. 6 and No. 8 teams according to the BCS standings. In the Big 12, Mizzou would have faced the current No. 2, No. 12, No. 17 and No. 22 teams, and with the turnover and depth issues the Tigers have been fighting through, their record wouldn't have been much, if any, better. Only, they would also still be in the Big 12, wondering what happens if the Longhorn Network fails, or wondering what other realignment dominoes (if any) were perched to fall in future years. Mizzou played its realignment hand, ended up in the best conference in the country, and cashed out. This season hasn't gone as well as anticipated, but don't for one second think that Mizzou feels this was a "disastrous decision," one they should apologize for. Cunningham reveled that he knows nothing about why Mizzou left in the first place, and let's face it: the checks haven't come rolling in yet, so now would be the time for regret if there ever were any. And I don't know about you, but I don't feel much regret.

Correction: I feel none at all.

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