Missouri should follow its heart in conference realignment

Berry Tramel: The Big 12 will survive even if the Tigers seek greener pastures. And if the SEC wants Missouri, then it should join.
by Berry Tramel Published: September 27, 2011

So why should Missouri go? I know, everyone says the same about Mizzou they said about A&M, that the Aggies will be squashed in the SEC.

I don't believe it for either the Tigers or Aggies. They won't contend regularly in the current SEC West landscape, but they won't be doormats.

And it's not like Missouri or A&M has been tearing up the Big 12. Missouri has made two Big 12 title games, 2007 and 2008, winning neither. A&M has made two Big 12 title games, 1997 and 1998, winning the latter. In a huge upset.

That's the success rate at stake in the Aggies' move and the Tigers' decision? Two division titles in 15 years? One major bowl berth (the '98 Aggies in the Sugar) between them in 15 years?

That's what Missouri is gambling with? Mizzou could make a lot more money, find conference stability and leave the Longhorns behind. And the Tigers should forego all that because they might win two North Divisions in 15 years?

Missouri's frustration with Texas is only now bubbling. Nebraska's feelings were well-documented. Then A&M's. Finally, OU's.

Now, Mizzou football coach Gary Pinkel carries the banner. His disgust with the Longhorn Network no longer is hidden.

Why would Missouri leave? Why in the world would Missouri stay?

If the SEC is interested, there's only one thing that should keep the Tigers in the Big 12.

The Big Ten. Missouri sort of started this mess 18 months ago, with its glee at Big Ten expansion. Turns out the Big Ten wasn't interested.

But Mizzou still would love to be in the Big Ten, both for academics and athletics. If Big Ten commissioner Jim Delany gives Missouri any reason for hope that his conference could expand in the future and Mizzou would be a prime candidate, that would prompt Missouri to, just like the Sooners did, swallow its pride and hold its nose and put on a happy face.

Otherwise, Missouri has little reason to turn down the SEC, which has many reasons to offer.

Not that it will make much difference back here in the shadows of darkness.

Berry Tramel: Berry can be reached at (405) 760-8080 or at btramel@opubco.com. He can be heard Monday through Friday from 4:40-5:20 p.m. on The Sports Animal radio network, including AM-640 and FM-98.1. You can also view his personality page at newsok.com/berrytramel.


by Berry Tramel
Columnist
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...
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