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For football's sake, Missouri better think about this SEC thing

by Berry Tramel Modified: October 20, 2011 at 7:29 pm •  Published: October 20, 2011

Missouri still seems headed for the Southeastern Conference, despite nothing coming out of the Mizzou board of curators meeting Thursday.

Can't really blame Missouri if they go. Even if you subscribe to the theory that Mizzou started this mess by lifting its skirt and sticking out its thumb at the Big Ten. The Big 12 has disintegrated into a ghost ship; Jack Sparrow for commissioner of Conference Chaos.

Any chance to find smooth sailing, you take it.

But Missouri is making a mistake by leaving. Maybe its administrators and fans will feel better. They will not be better.

Unlike the others who have jumped ship, Missouri is putting its football status at risk.

Nebraska was not. Colorado was not. Texas A&M was not. All were treading water at best. The salad days of all three came pre-Big 12, in the olden days of the Big Eight or the Southwest Conference.

But the Big 12 has been good to Missouri. Very good. Mizzou football is as good as it's ever been, matching the Dan Devine '60s.

Can Missouri maintain that status in the SEC? Doubtful. It's not that Mizzou will be Vanderbilt; that's silly. But Mizzou might be Ole Miss. Might be South Carolina.

To whatever heights Missouri has reached the last six, seven years, it has done so in the Big 12 North, with a down Nebraska and a down Colorado and a down Kansas State. Mizzou in the SEC West would be like Mizzou in the Big 12 South, and the Tigers are 7-11 against the Big 12 South during the Gary Pinkel golden age the last five years.

Stay in a 12-team Big 12 sans Nebraska, and Missouri has a fighting chance every year to be in the conference title game. The SEC offers no such opportunity.

Of course, conference decisions can't be made on short-term success or failure. A long view is required.

So here's a long view. Missouri recruiting has been enhanced by its ties to Texas. Gary Pinkel has signed the likes of Chase Daniel, Danario Alexander, Sean Weatherspoon and James Franklin from south of the Red River.

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by Berry Tramel
Berry Tramel, a lifelong Oklahoman, sports fan and newspaper reader, joined The Oklahoman in 1991 and has served as beat writer, assistant sports editor, sports editor and columnist. Tramel grew up reading four daily newspapers — The Oklahoman,...
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