Last April, after one full football and basketball season in the SEC, I took a look at where Mizzou stood in terms of conference rivalries. With another school year in the books, let's revisit the idea using the same criteria:
For all intents and purposes, rivalries grow from big moments on the court/field and bitter interaction between fans. That's basically the recipe. So let's see how Missouri is doing in those two categories. We'll score moments on a 1-to-10 scale, fans on 1-to-5, and offer up to five bonus points based on previous history or unique circumstances. (I'm not mentioning Texas A&M here, since the Aggies and Tigers have been conference rivals for 16 years already.
Let's go to the new ratings. I found myself offering a few more "Intangibles" points here and there, simply because of familiarity. Two years in, it's starting to feel like these really are Mizzou's conference rivals. A great football season probably didn't hurt that cause...
Arkansas: 12 points
Last year: 11 (+1)
A pair of intense, tight basketball games certainly didn't hurt the cause here, but after the "Frank Haith goes after Mike Anderson, and Anderson leaves with a police escort" incidents of 2012-13, there wasn't a lot to add in the bitterness column this year. In 2014, Mizzou and Arkansas will finally begin playing in football; they'll do so pretty much from here to eternity. That should help to up the ante quite a bit.
Ole Miss: 10 points
Last year: 7 (+3)
I never gave two shits about Missouri, not the state or the university, until this years Hate Week and being in the Grove on the day we played them. Seeing a 60 yr old man in tiger stripe running suit screaming " We own the Grove". Not to mention they have the worst SB Nation site of any SEC school. Yeah I hate Missouri now…..
So there's that. There's also a huge Mizzou win at the Grove and another stupid Marshall Henderson stupid shooting stupid performance. It's kind of a shame Mizzou and Ole Miss won't play much in football (and that Mizzou currently stinks at baseball) because there's something here that could be stoked.
Georgia: 9 points
Last year: 5 (+4)
Mizzou and Georgia fans haven't really had any hostilities outside of "OLD MAN FOOTBALL (clap clap clapclapclap)," but between Mizzou's football win in Athens and Georgia's basketball win in Columbia, the moments are adding up here.
South Carolina: 8 points
Last year: 4 (+4)
As with Georgia, the fan hostilities have been pretty minimal, and I liked pretty much every South Carolina fan I saw in Columbia last October. Frank Martin's basketball team should improve a bit more this coming winter, which will help, but ... win or lose, that was a pretty amazing evening at Faurot Field last fall. Nights like that stoke rivalries.
Tennessee: 7 points
Last year: 4 (+3)
Interactions with Tennessee fans, good and annoying, are picking up steam, but with Mizzou whipping Tennessee in football and Tennessee doing the same on the hard courts in Knoxville, the only noteworthy moment took place with Mizzou's exciting, late win over the Vols in Columbia. So that adds a point.
LSU: 5 points
Last year: 4 (+1)
Basketball losses in Baton Rouge are annoying. So was the loss in the SEC Softball tournament. Still, interactions with LSU, on and off the field/court/diamond/whatever, have been minimal.
Florida: 5 points
Last year: 4 points (+1)
We'll always have Mauktober. And the Gator Chomp.
Vanderbilt: 4 points (+1)
Last year: 3
Plenty of annoying basketball road losses to go around this year.
Alabama: 4 points (+2)
Earleywine on the dogpile:"It's bush league. Certainly they should be glad they won the conference but they already had it won" as co-champs— Blake Toppmeyer (@btoppmeyer) May 3, 2014
Winning a championship is incredible. Sometimes dog-piles happen out of excitement. I'm not sure when uncontainable joy became bush league— Jordan Patterson (@jpatt2492) May 3, 2014
Last year: 2
We'll always have BUSH LEAGUE. And annoying basketball road losses.
Kentucky: 4 points (+3)
Last year: 1
We'll always have the DGB Game. And the Jabari dunk. (And the fact that Kentucky won the damn Jabari Dunk Game anyway.)
Auburn: 4 points (+3)
Last year: 1
We'll always have the Georgia Dome.
Mississippi State: 1 point (+1)
Last year: 0
We should probably thank the SEC for scheduling a Mississippi State-Mizzou football game pretty early on (2015 in Columbia) because between MSU being awful at basketball and Mizzou being awful at baseball, this rivalry hasn't taken off. (I assigned a courtesy point for two MSU-MU baseball games going to extra innings, but ... Mizzou lost both, then lost almost every other game for the rest of the season as well, so it was pretty half-hearted.)