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What if Mizzou had stayed in the Big 12?

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What if Mizzou had stayed in the Big 12? How would recent football seasons have played out?

Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

The five-year anniversary of Peak MIZZOUEXPANSIONAPALOOZA™ has sent my brain down quite a What If road. I have a fun piece coming out for SBN this coming week regarding what might have happened had Texas not been bluffing about the "Pac-16" thing (hint: Mizzou is a conference mate with Rutgers and North Carolina), but for today's Saturday Live Thread, let's go the opposite direction: What If Mizzou hadn't made the move at all? What if the maneuvering of David Boren, et al, hadn't been enough to prompt chancellor Brady Deaton to call Florida president Bernie Machen? Luckily we don't have to find out, but hey, it's a week for curiosity.

(For this example, we'll still assume A&M leaves and is replaced by TCU.)

Using F/+ rankings as a rough guide, here are some approximate results for the last three years of Big 12 football. Here is what Mizzou's upcoming schedules looked like before the announced move.

2012

Southern Illinois - W
No. 42 Arizona State - W
at No. 108 Miami (Ohio) - W
No. 9 Oklahoma - L
No. 5 Kansas State - L
at No. 49 Iowa State - L
at No. 16 Oklahoma State - L
No. 34 TCU - W
No. 21 Baylor - L
at No. 19 Texas - L
at No. 47 Texas Tech - L
vs. No. 85 Kansas - W

5-7 (2-7)

Mizzou no longer plays Syracuse and UCF but still plays nine conference games in a brutal Big 12. At 50th, the Tigers are ninth of 10 Big 12 teams and goes 1-3 at best in conference home games (and that's if we give them the benefit of the doubt against TCU). It is conceivable that Mizzou actually ends up 4-8 with a TCU loss and a loss at Lubbock.

2013

Murray State - W
No. 62 Toledo - W
at No. 56 Indiana - W
at No. 20 Oklahoma - W
at No. 24 Kansas State - W
No. 78 Iowa State - W
No. 8 Oklahoma State - W
at No. 44 TCU - W
at No. 7 Baylor - L
No. 35 Texas - W
No. 43 Texas Tech - W
vs. No. 101 Kansas - W

11-1 (8-1)

This one plays out in similar manner as real-life 2013, only you replace the early-season road win in Athens with one in Norman. It's quite conceivable that No. 14 Mizzou would have slipped up at either Oklahoma or Kansas State, but a) this is my simulation, and b) that is the time of the season when Mizzou was playing its absolute best. Mizzou still loses the conference battle to 8-1 Baylor but potentially has an even better shot at a high poll finish without a conference title game loss.

2014

South Dakota State - W
at No. 59 Toledo - W
No. 88 Indiana - L
No. 19 Oklahoma - W
No. 26 Kansas State - W
at No. 92 Iowa State - W
at No. 75 Oklahoma State - W
No. 6 TCU - L
No. 10 Baylor - W
No. 53 at Texas - W
at No. 82 Texas Tech - W
vs. No. 99 Kansas - W

10-2 (7-2)

As with the other two seasons, "same record with decent odds of one more loss" seems this most likely situation. Getting to the same 10-2 record requires going 1-1 against TCU and Baylor in Columbia (which, among other things, would have cleared up a bit of the Playoff race, huh?). That is certainly conceivable (considering Arkansas finished really high in F/+ and still lost to Mizzou). But 9-3 is easily on the table. And with Oklahoma coming to town during Mizzou's miserable late-September and early-October stretch, so is 8-4.

(Side note: the schedule the Big 12 had set up for Mizzou was brutal. Start every conference season with Oklahoma and Kansas State, then go OSU-TCU-Baylor in late-October and early-November? Oof. Granted, the home stretch was pretty wins-friendly, but still.)

There would have been some really fun wins over this last two-year period, but ... eh ... I think I like real life better. You?