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Rock M Roundtable!

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1 - We understand that the Big 12-2 is the best option because it was the only confirmed option...but exactly what is going to make us a more attractive candidate the next time all hell threatens to break loose?

2 -
Stemming from this question, give us some T-shirt ideas. What can RMN create that would be so successful among Missouri fans that RPT and I could retire by 2011?

3 - Not a question from the community, but ... at one point or another, rumors that Missouri would end up in the Big Ten, SEC, Big East, Mountain West and Conference USA all floated about.  That's roughly half the country.  With which school are you most disappointed that Missouri will apparently not have a new conference rivalry?  Which school are you most disappointed that you won't get to visit for a road game?

4 -
Washers, Horseshoes, Frisbee, Baseball Toss, Hackey Sack, or Other…. Favorite waiting for the BBQ to finish cooking activity?

RPT: I'm going to be swamped at work today so I can only provide a brief response, and that is that the only correct answer to Question No. 4 is "drinking."

With that, I bid you good morrow.

ghtd36: I've been on a huge Wale kick lately. If you haven't somehow obtained -- through savory or unsavory means -- his "Attention Deficit" album, you are doing yourself and your country a disservice. Here's a sample.

Here's another. And here's the greatest website I've ever seen.

On to dumb questions!

1- The more I think about it, the less I'm worried about Mizzou's future prospects. Essentially, the Big 10 knows that it can have Mizzou anytime it wants. Whenever it does decide to go all super-conference on our collective ass, Mizzou's going to be receiving a phone call. It's not a matter of Mizzou being attractive enough or not attractive enough; it's a matter of the Big 10's timing. I have no doubt -- literally, zero doubt -- that Mizzou will eventually end up in the Big Ten; it's only a matter of when. That said, winning big doesn't hurt.

2- I feel as if Asian Kid has not been used to his full potential with regards to clothing. Just saying.

3- There's the obvious fallback answers -- Wisconsin, Memphis, Ole Miss -- but I'll throw out a wild card: I'm a little upset that Mizzou doesn't get to make an occasional trip to play UNLV. Can you IMAGINE an RMN Road Trip (TM) to Vegas? I'm pretty sure that Mrs. Bill C. would quickly become Widow of Bill C.

4- Besides playing "Drink The Beer", I'm a big proponent of Bags. It's one of those games that's easy enough for anyone to pick up, but hard enough that it becomes very challenging a couple of beverages in. My Jason Kidd-esque stiff jump shot style is deadly, I tells ya.

Michael Atchison: 1 - Mizzou was not an unattractive candidate this time.  Keep in mind how little actually happened.  The Big 10 added one school.  The only other BCS league that seemed poised to make a big move (Pac-10) was one where Missouri didn’t fit.  If all actually breaks loose, there’s going to be a lot of movement, and Missouri will end up in the Big 10, the SEC or the Big East.

2 - I already gave my t-shirt answer in the thread.  At this point, anything that disparages Texas is going to be a money maker.

3 - Illinois would have been the obvious new conference rival, and it would be great for me so that my lifelong friend Kurt (U of I grad) and I could pick at each other year-round.  There would have have been a lot of great road trips in the Big Ten, and I’m sure the SEC would have been an exotic and terrifying new world.

4 - I have no time for such frivolity.  There are children to discipline.

And now is the part where I answer all the questions that weren’t asked.

First, I’m going to reserve final judgment on everything, because I’m not sure how much we really know yet (for instance, there’s a lot of contradictory information about the structure of the TV deal and how the Nebraska/Colorado departure penalties will be distributed).  There’s a lot of information out there, and after what has happened over the past few days, I’m not prepared to trust much of it.  On one of the other sites, I saw someone say that casual Mizzou fans seem pleased with this week’s developments, and that they’d be outraged if they had been following it as closely as the message board junkies.  In this instance, I think that the people who refreshed their browsers every few minutes probably are not better informed.  In fact, they’ve been aggressively misinformed, and some seem to have grasped on to information that may not be true and have constructed their own narratives around it.

A few thoughts, bullet-style:

Millions of words have been written, but the only thing of real consequence that has happened is that Nebraska has gone to the Big 10.  Colorado left, but no one seems much to care.  Otherwise, we’re sitting on a tenuous status quo.

For the 114th consecutive year, the Big 10 did not invite Missouri into its membership.

Gary Forsee, Brady Deaton and Mike Alden are not stooges.  They’re all smart, accomplished, practical men.  They failed to do two things here: (1) They did not double the number of TV households in the state of Missouri; and (2) They did not undo 40 years of relative football mediocrity.  Had they done either one, Missouri might be in the Big 10 today.

Likewise, the people in charge at Kansas, Kansas State, Iowa State and Baylor aren’t idiots.  They read the cards and played them appropriately.  If you’re going to go all-in, you better like the hand you hold, and they clearly did not.

Missouri is a complementary piece, not a centerpiece.  Missouri is an attractive school should the Big 10 or SEC elect to expand, but it is not a game-changer.  The Tigers could join a new league as part of a multi-school plan, but not on their own.  If Texas A&M had gone to the SEC, I suspect that Mizzou could have gone as the piece that evened the league’s numbers.  But when political pressures and/or financial considerations kept A&M in the Big 12, Missouri was without a dance partner.

The ultimate goal is to compete nationally, not just in the conference.  Being in a high-profile league helps that, so does an increase in revenue.  Texas and Oklahoma get more.  That sucks.  Mizzou gets more than in any other realistic scenario.  That does not suck.  The new TV deal will pay Missouri far more than it has ever gotten in media money reducing the gap between Mizzou and comparable schools in other leagues.  That will help do things like pay for Mike Anderson (remember that kerfuffle?).  The new deal is also going to put Missouri on TV more often.  With ten schools in the league, there is less inventory to fill time slots.  Also, with a nine-game conference schedule, there will be more games that people want to see.  Also, it ought to help home attendance.

If the Big 10 or SEC really wanted Missouri, they could have snatched the Tigers at the eleventh hour.  They know what’s going on.  The fact that they appear to have made no contact should shed some light on what Missouri’s real options were.

Equal revenue sharing would be ideal; uneven distribution is not unreasonable.  Texas brings more revenue into the league than the rest of the schools.  Most of the folks who read this site and who work for a living think that if they generate the most revenue for the company, they should be paid the most.

Most guys like to think of themselves as a Michael Corleone.  But as I look at reactions, I see a lot of Sonny and Fredo.  Folks, this is business.  You need to have a plan, you need to be cool.  You don’t run around like a hothead or panic like a coward.  Enough with the hysteria.  And for those who think they have it all figured out and have vowed not to give the university another dime, a timeless reminder:  never go against the family.

Interstate 29 is the San Andreas Fault of college sports.  For a moment, it looked like Missouri, Nebraska and Kansas – who have been together for more than a century – could be in the SEC, Big 10 and Pac-10, respectively.  That’s amazing.  Missouri’s fortunes, to a degree, rest on uncertainties dictated by geography.  If Columbia were 100 miles closer to Chicago, the Tigers might have joined the Big 10 before World War I.  If it were 200 miles closer to Memphis, they might have been charter members of the SEC.

The geographic location also severely limits expansion opportunities.  On Tuesday, I heard a local (KC) radio personality suggest that the league should target Notre Dame.  I think the league should also capture a live unicorn and make it the new conference symbol.  I can think of only three reasonable expansion targets:  Louisville, Cincinnati, Memphis.  I dealt with all of them to some extent in my Big East scenario the other day.  All are large-ish public institution in major markets where the league has no current presence, yet none is far outside the current footprint (would any be much farther than Colorado?).  Cincinnati might open Ohio as a recruiting territory.  I’m sure Gary Pinkel would like that.

Missouri and Kansas are rivals.  They better also be allies.  One of the things they have to sell is their shared history, and they have shared history.  Going forward, MU, KU, K-State and Iowa State need to vote as a bloc.  They can control 40% of the vote.  It would be nice for Baylor to be on board, too (especially given the way they were nearly left for dead), but it’s hard to imagine them not capitulating to Texas when push comes to shove.

I’m not convinced that this is all over.  The Big 12 truce will certainly slow realignment, but it won’t necessarily stop it.  If a better opportunity comes along, schools in the north won’t be deterred by the league’s exit penalties.

Don’t worry about the media/fan narrative that says that Mizzou started this or that Mizzou groveled or that Mizzou came crawling back to the Big 12.  That’s chatter.  That’s not real.  Once the first football game kicks off no one will care about that.

ghtd36: TL;DR, Atch.

I think you make an excellent point, though: "Missouri is a complementary piece, not a centerpiece.  Missouri is an attractive school should the Big 10 or SEC elect to expand, but it is not a game-changer."

This cannot be overstated. It may seem like self-hatred -- though I'd love to hear someone claim that Atch, a guy who wrote a freakin' book about his school, hates his school -- but Mizzou is never going to be a Texas or a USC or a Florida. It's just not going to happen, for about 11,000 reasons. That's not to say that Mizzou can't compete on that level; it's obviously proven otherwise. But from a grander standpoint, Mizzou simply lacks the resources -- internal and external -- to become That Program. The sooner that Mizzou fans understand this, the better.

ZouDave: 1 - Mizzou is already an attractive candidate and if the 16-team Super Conferences happen there's just simply no way we're left out.  Geographically we are a fit for the Big Ten and SEC, we are in the 18th most populous state in the nation, only 4 states west of the Mississippi have a bigger population (Arizona, Washington, Texas and California) and yet we're the only major college in the state, we have a high level of academics and our two major sports programs are profitable and reasonably successful.  There's no reason to think on any level that Mizzou isn't attractive to a conference.  Are we Texas?  No, we are not.  The Big Ten selecting Nebraska over Mizzou is puzzling but clearly just a football move.  If the Big Ten wants to increase its footprint and goes to 16, it would be stupid not to have us on their list.  The SEC, you can basically guarantee, would be all over Mizzou because we border Arkansas, Tennessee and Kentucky where they already have a presence so travel would be comparable and we would fit in with their already established fan bases.

I'm not remotely concerned for Mizzou's future in major conference athletics.  I think it's stupid that Mizzou and/or its fans are acting like Texas did us a favor.

2 - One has to involve nunchucks and their propensity for thrusting upward, one has to involve starting a party, and one should probably involve Bob Bummer.  I miss that guy.

3 - I would welcome a conference rivalry with numerous Big Ten schools like Minnesota, Wisconsin, Illinois, Northwestern, and would love to have gotten opportunities to visit Michigan and Ohio State.  But the thought of being in the SEC is what has me drooling.  Home schedules that could include Tennessee, Alabama, Auburn, Georgia, Florida and LSU is enough to make me giddy and regular trips to Ole Miss would be pure fantasy.

4 - Drinking.

Michael Atchison: And the commenter Professor Chaos very cogently made a point last night that I’ve been thinking about.  If the state of Missouri had been determined to fund and maintain a great state university over the past few decades instead of a pretty good one, Mizzou might be in the Big 10 now.

ZouDave: I think from now on we should just all refer to atch as The Godfather.  That was some good reading, sir.

Michael Atchison: One other thing about centerpieces vs. complementary pieces:  The overwhelming majority of schools in the BCS leagues are complementary pieces.  No one is going to shake up the conference landscape in an effort to get Oregon State, Minnesota, Wake Forest or Mississippi State (or dozens of others).  Most schools in the ACC, Big 10, Pac-10 and SEC are lucky to have geographic cocoons and historical alliances that protect them.  In my judgment, there are only four centerpiece schools that could be in play currently: Texas, Texas A&M, Oklahoma and Notre Dame.

Doug: Back from Vegas.  Out of loop.  Sure, I'll answer some questions.

1 - The fact that Missouri has shown they'll drop trou for another conference not named the Big 12 in a matter of moments?  God love you guys, but Missouri made the same deal with the devil as KU, K State, ISU, and Baylor did to keep the conference together. Conference expansion will come up again, there's no way around it, but maybe next time, it can be the schools of the Big 12-ish figuring out to become stronger by adding teams, instead of being pulled apart by internal and external forces.

2 - "MU Finally in the Big 10"

3 - Hmmm... I think if KU and MU had wound up in different BCS conferences versus MU splitting for the Big 10, that rivalry would continue.  I guess after this year, MU won't be playing Nebraska.

4 - I have no time for such frivolity, I'm the one at the grill.

Follow-up: Like I said I was kind out the loop when everything was going down, I had a decent idea on what was happening, but one thought has occured to me.  Have we heard if Colorado will be told to get the eff out after this academic year, since Nebraska is leaving and it doesn't make a lot sense to drag Colorado around for an extra year?

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Michael Atchison: I would imagine that they’ll want to keep Colorado around for that extra year because it will be easier to get a waiver for a conference championship games with eleven teams.

One name I haven’t heard mentioned is Jerry Jones.  The man built a shiny new stadium and he wants the Big 12 championship game to be in it.  Is there going to be pressure on the league to either (a) get a waiver that allows a ten-team league to have a title game; or (b) to expand back to 12?

ZouDave: I honestly expect the Big 12 to expand back to 12.  We're going to keep the name Big 12 and if Texas and the power brokers of the conference are convinced of the long-term feasibility of the conference then I expect us to be back at 12 schools by 2012 at the latest.

I have heard it mentioned, through probably just as dart board speculation, that BYU and Air Force are targets.  I understand targeting BYU as they bring a lot to the table.  They're in a good metro area in a state we have no presence, their football and basketball programs are healthy, and the Big 12 obviously has no problem with "religious" institutions unlike the Pac-10 reportedly does.  But geographically it's a complete mystery.  The closest current school to them is who, Texas Tech?  I mean I guess that's why you'd get Air Force too?  It gets you back into Colorado and draws Utah in as a border state?  But why Air Force?  Other than them having a semi-national following due to being a service academy what do they bring?  Average football at best, non-existent basketball, a small stadium, etc?  A BCS conference hasn't targeted Army, Navy or Air Force for a reason and if the Big 12 wants to continue being considered a major conference it probably doesn't need to reach down.

What if the Big 12 looked at realigning our own conference with expansion to go East/West instead of North/South?  I think the long-term health of the conference might be better if we split Texas and Oklahoma.

Michael Atchison: I don’t think there’s any way that they target Air Force and BYU.  It’s a travel problem, it doesn’t provide that many TVs, and BYU doesn’t play on Sundays, which would be a scheduling nightmare for the various league tournaments.

ZouDave: but the Big XII basketball tournament no longer plays on Sundays!  Aha!  AHA!

I agree, there's no way that happens. But BYU would be interesting. I think we're much more likely to stay in states bordering Missouri or Texas and try to keep the conference in the central part of the USA. I even think Ohio is too far East to have any realistic options in it. You'd have to get Louisville, too, just to make a connection and they're still pretty far away. Imagine those Texas Tech to Cincinnati trips? Oy.

Michael Atchison: For practical purposes, would Texas Tech to Cincinnati be any worse than Baylor to Colorado?  Some of the wishful thinkers would like to pursue Arkansas (I give that a 1% chance of success), but if that were within the realm of possibility, Arkansas and Louisville/Memphis would be a tidy geographic fit.

Bill C.: And hey...Memphis is now trying to BUY their way into a major conference, so hey...that might work out nicely...

ZouDave: yeah but it's what, like $10M?  That's chump change.  It's not a reason to take the school.

Biggest concern with Memphis is their football is ass.  They do have a nice enough stadium, though.

Michael Atchison: Their football would get up to speed pretty quickly were they to join the Big 12.

ZouDave: Yeah, we're not getting Arkansas.  No team is going to leave the SEC for the Big 12 and I just don't think Arkansas wants to willingly join Texas' conference again.

If we expand it will be at the expense of Mountain West, WAC, Conference USA or possibly Sun Belt or MAC.  Big Ten and SEC schools do not see the Big 12 as a destination.

Don't get me wrong, I'd take Memphis.  I don't care if their football is terrible, that's just another victory for Mizzou.  Just like Baylor.  Right?  RIGHT?!

ghtd36:

Doug: It's not like Colorado was setting the world on fire in football recently (good luck with that Pac 10!) and they have a beautiful stadium. 

Frankly, I'd like to see the Big 12-ish target: Memphis, Louisville, Cincinnatti, Colorado State to get to 14, and then,  a combination of TCU, New Mexico, BYU or, what hell, Arkansas to get to 16.  I do not want to see adding TCU and Houston to get back to 12.  If this conference is going to survive long, long term, we can't have 6 teams in Texas.  That's

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Bill C.: That's...THAT'S WHAT??  DOUG, WHERE DID YOU GO???

Doug: I started to say "That's what killed to SWC." But I thought that would be oversimplifying the history of that conference breaking apart.

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ZouDave: and you also realized what horrible grammar that was and thought better of it, right?

Doug: Exactly.

Jackass.

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Bill C.:

Michael Atchison: I mentioned Jerry Jones, Notre Dame and Arkansas separately before.  Now, apparently, Jerry wants the Irish and the Hogs to round out the Big 12.  He wants a big-ass championship game in his big-ass stadium.

(30 minutes later...)

Michael Atchison: This just in:  Under Jerry’s plan, Big XII bylaws would be amended to require Notre Dame to play Texas each year in the championship game one day after Oklahoma and Arkansas play at Cowboy Stadium in third-place game.