Yesterday was an entertaining day of rumors and public assumptions, wasn't it? The "Mizzou is probably heading to the SEC" meme grew large enough that Spencer at EDSBS tackled the topic, but as the evening progressed, Big 12 interim commissioner Chuck Neinas' pronouncement that he expected Mizzou to stay in the Big 12 took hold.
What do I think? I said at 4:30 that I was at "70% going/30% staying." This morning I'm back to 50%/50%, and for a couple of different reasons. First, as we see from the KC Star link below, exit fees could be significant (I cannot imagine it would end up being $40 million as suggested, but it could be large), and Mizzou isn't exactly rolling in the dough (even if they could be in a future iteration of the SEC). Plus, there will evidently be some last-second appeals to Brady Deaton and company based on history, tradition and culture. Combine those two, and it isn't at all difficult to see a scenario in which Mizzou decides to stay and rebuild relationships. I still think there's a good chance Mizzou is gone, but don't pretend you can't see that scenario playing out.
And if Mizzou does indeed stay in the Big 12, then I'll just reiterate what I said a couple of different times last week: 1) I'll be a bit disappointed (I don't want to have to go through this drama again in the near or distant future, and the prospect of getting to know an enormous set of new rivals is intriguing), and 2) it won't be the end of the world. Mizzou will just go back to succeeding in this conference instead of attempting to succeed in another. We won't escape the drama, but we'll get to keep playing some of the teams we've been playing for 100 years. There are worse things in the world than maintaining traditions in college athletics, even if in this case it isn't my first choice.
Anyway, it looks like the next big day on the MIZZOUEXPANSIONAPALOOZA™ 2011 calendar is Sunday, when we wait to see if any sort of "Deaton's backing down and leaning toward keeping Mizzou in the Big 12" rumors emerge from the weekend meetings. Until then, we'll be forced to pay attention to actual things on actual playing fields/courts.
(Just kidding -- we'll spend the days between now and Sunday reacting to whatever new rumors emerge in that span.)
There's A Good Chance Mizzou Is Gone
The Trib: Missouri coaches talk about SEC's pros and cons
Recruiting territories would be redrawn. That’s especially true for nonrevenue programs, which recruit primarily within the geographic footprint of the Big 12. One reason the volleyball team secured commitments from Dallas-area freshmen Whitney Little and Katie O’Brien was the opportunity for the touted pair to play multiple matches each season at schools within driving distance for friends and family.
"If you’re recruiting a lot of kids from Texas and you start playing all of these games somewhere else, you’re going to lose a lot of these Texas kids because the opportunity to play in front of friends and family is going to go way down," MU volleyball Coach Wayne Kreklow said. "You do have to change your base."
But the coaches who agreed to speak publicly also embraced the challenge of the SEC.
Softball Coach Ehren Earleywine favors the conference as a potential landing spot. The sixth-year coach, who has led the Tigers to three straight College World Series appearances, said he would sell recruits on playing for one of the top academic schools in a conference that’s making a push to overtake the Pac-12 as the nation’s premier softball league.
PowerMizzou: Powered Up: It's Time To Go
EDSBS: MIKE SLIVE LETS MISSOURI IN ON THE SECRET RITES OF THE SEC
Slive: Oh, just wait. We haven't even gotten to the initiation ceremonies yet.
Nick Saban enters the room with a blowtorch and a stencil of the Golden Flake logo. The strikes the igniter, and lowers his welding mask.
Owens: Oh god.
Saban: I will not lie. The initial pain is excruciating. The scabbing is horrific. The benefits exceed your wildest imagination however.
Slive exposes his side. On it: a pink, fleshy scar that reads "GOLDEN FLAKE" in clear lettering.
Slive: It only hurts once, Missouri.
Pinkel: Yay I like tattoos!
Owens: Well, it does beat being a conference with Texas, I suppose.
The blowtorch hisses.
Double-T Nation: DTN Daily Diatribe
I also don't understand why people are upset at Missouri for considering their options other than the Big 12. I don't think that Texas Tech has appeal to the SEC (maybe they should, but that's another discussion) and if Missouri can get into the SEC then I'd take it in a heartbeat if I was Mizzou. I could care less if someone "blames" Missouri for being the first Big 12 school to look elsewhere, if anything, they should get some credit for seeing the writing on the wall before anyone else. If I could snap my fingers and get Texas Tech out of the Big 12 mess and into a more stable conference I would.
There's A Good Chance Mizzou Is Coming Back
KC Star: Big step for MU's conference future may come Tuesday
No board members responded to interview requests on Wednesday. But three sources closely aligned with the board or the university said that the curators’ prime concern is a Big 12 exit fee of as much as $40 million.
"If it were just a matter of saying let’s go, say goodbye Big 12 and join the SEC," one source said. "If there was no litigation or a few dollars involved, it would be an easy choice.
"If it comes down to: We’ve got to come up with 40 million bucks — or whatever the number might be — that’s a different deal."
Post-Dispatch: Big 12 interim commissioner wants to keep MU
"They will have the opportunity to review what the conference has accomplished, what we're doing and plan to do,'' Neinas said. "Once they have the opportunity to fully understand what the conference is doing, they will agree that Missouri should continue to be a good member of the Big 12." [...]
Neinas wouldn't divulge how he might deliver a sales pitch on the Big 12 to Missouri. But he made a lot of his points evident.
"Where are Missouri's roots?'' he asked. "They go way back to the Missouri Valley (Intercollegiate Athletic Association), which became the Big Six and then the Big Eight. There's a lot to look at.''
One factor will be how the Big 12 replaces A&M. BYU, Lousville, TCU and Boise State are among the schools that might be considered for the Big 12. Neinas would only say that "there's been no shortage of interest."
Missouri football coach Gary Pinkel has been outspoken in saying the Big 12 has problems and has indirectly pointed the finger at Texas.
But Missouri chancellor Brady Deaton is the head of the Big 12 Board of Directors and is expected to meet with fellow Big 12 presidents on Sunday afternoon or Monday morning, sources said.
That meeting will be the Big 12's chance to convince Deaton and, thus, Missouri's curators that the Big 12 is ready to commit in a way that it never has in 16 years (by granting Tier 1 and 2 rights over to the conference for a six-year period).
If Missouri decides to commit to the Big 12, the plan appears to be to add one school to reach No. 10 in the short term and then wait and see if there is any more shifting to the college landscape before taking any further action, sources told Orangebloods.com on Wednesday.
Mizzou Football Links
SB Nation: The 2011 Heisman Race: What The Numbers Say After Four Weeks
Gabe With The Smackdown
CBigsby asks: If Yost is going to refuse to let Josey have more than 10 touches a game why would Pinkel not let him return kicks and punts? That's an immediate upgrade.
In three games since becoming (effectively) the starter, Josey has 11, 16 and 15 touches. So, he has actually NEVER gotten as few as ten in a game. I understand many think he should get more and I wouldn't argue. However, we forget that sometimes penalties may have changed the approach. In the second quarter, when Josey got only three touches, how do we know he wasn't getting the ball on third and one before Matt Hoch's false start or wasn't getting the ball on first down before a penalty put Mizzou in first and 15 and changed the play call? In addition, I would LOVE to see the reaction from fans if Josey returned a punt and got hurt doing it. Then Pinkel would suddenly be foolish for putting him back there. And don't try to tell me that is not true.
Other Football Links
A Fabulous Piece From Mr. Feldman
CBS Sports: All-Access: Hunkering down with the Mountaineers