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Mizzou Links, 9-23-11

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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."

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