While it feels like the Big12-SEC Challenge has been around forever and it feels like the Tigers have been left out since the dawn of time... it’s really only been a few years.
Missouri joined the SEC from the Big12 in 2012 and the next season found themselves in the Challenge, facing West Virginia. It was Frank Haith’s last year as a coach but the Challenge occurred in early December and Missouri ran over West Virginia en route to a 10-0 start. A lot went wrong from there. Haith left, Mike Alden hired Kim Anderson, and the next season Mizzou got run off the floor at the Lloyd Noble Center in Norman, Oklahoma. It was their last participation in the event.
Until... possibly... next year:
Sources: Matchups for next season's inaugural AAC/SEC Alliance:— Jon Rothstein (@JonRothstein) May 23, 2019
Houston at South Carolina
Vanderbilt/'SMU (Location is TBD)
Georgia at Memphis
Ole Miss at Wichita State
All four are home-and-home series'.
Back in April, the SEC and the AAC joined forced to start the AAC-SEC Challenge to piggyback on the Big12-SEC Challenge. Basically matching up the four teams left off the Big 12 matchup and pairing them with the AAC in a way to improve the number of Quad 1 or Quad 2 games each conference has factored into the NCAA tournament selection process.
So obviously seeing the teams in this challenge means you’re seeing the four teams left off the other challenge. Not seeing Missouri there means we’re likely seeing the Tigers first inclusion in the challenge since 2014’s drubbing against Oklahoma.
So with this good news, let’s look at possible opponents!
Everyone throughout the country is probably going to assume Kansas will be atop the list, but we all know how adverse William Self is to playing Missouri and how many kowtow to what Billy wants so let’s mark that down as a very unlikely.
So if Kansas is a no, who else is likely off the board?
Let’s also Cross off Kansas State and Iowa State. Missouri played them both last year. So it seems unlikely they’d get matched up against a team they played a year ago. With only 10 teams in the Big 12 and those three removed, that leaves: West Virginia, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, TCU, Texas, Texas Tech, and Baylor.
Obviously this is all speculation but I’m going to eliminate West Virginia and Oklahoma since Missouri played them in the first two, and there’s a chance Missouri plays OU this upcoming season in the Hall of Fame Classic at the Sprint Center.
I don’t think they’d match up Mizzou with Texas Tech. The Red Raiders are fresh off the National Championship game, so they’ll probably get a more marquee matchup against Kentucky or Florida.
Leaving Oklahoma State, TCU, Texas, and Baylor.
Here’s my intrigue level for those matchups:
Oklahoma State — Intrigue level 6
Mike Boynton is still trying to build up the Cowboys after Brad Underwood left after just one season, but OSU still seems firmly behind the coach. The intrigue comes from a well known rivalry which encapsulated a lot of matchups over the years. The Cowboys joined the Big 7, making the league the Big Eight in 1957. So the history is long with 113 games between the two, and Missouri holding a 72-41 edge in the head-to-heads.
TCU — Intrigue level 2
I’ll be honest there’s very little intrigue with a matchup against TCU. The Horned Frogs have been revived a bit since Jamie Dixon returned a couple years ago but there is very little history between the two teams having only met four times. The reason is because TCU obviously joined the conference after Missouri left. They get a two because TCU is a power conference school and one that’s pretty good so a win would be good.
Texas — Intrigue level 8
Something about Missouri’s best years being equivalent to Texas’s bad years will always resonate with Mizzou fans, even if that quote from former Texas AD Deloss Dodds was about football. Over the years Mizzou and Texas had some good matchups, as Rick Barnes built up the Longhorns. They still found tough sledding against the Tigers as Mizzou holds a 13-11 edge over the years.
Baylor — Intrigue level 5
Baylor isn’t exactly likable these days considering the scandals the University has been embroiled in over the years. And the matchup against the Bears was never one that much moved the needle in Columbia even when Scott Drew got them going a bit and the games got tougher. Mizzou holds a 16-7 edge in the matchups, which might play a role. It wasn’t often they lost to the Bears.
Anyway... if it’s one of the bottom four, who would you want to see Missouri play? Or feel free to make your case for any of the others I disqualified above in the comments below. After all it’s nothing but guesswork so I think anyone can truly be on the table.