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SEC newbie Mizzou still doesn't feel like a great fit

SEC CULTURE — Missouri is the only school in the SEC that doesn't fall into the South region of the United States. The geographic difference seems to have carried over into cultural differences in the Tigers first year in the SEC.
by Jason Kersey Modified: August 28, 2013 at 9:00 am •  Published: August 25, 2013

Missouri is now a full season removed from its longtime association with the Big 12 schools.

In terms of both culture and football, the Tigers' 2011 move down South seemed strange and out-of-place when they made it, and the odd feel between Mizzou and its new conference brethren hasn't completely dissipated.

“It didn't seem like a real natural fit,” said Dave Matter, a longtime Missouri beat writer for the Columbia Tribune and now the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

“I grew up in Missouri and have lived here all my life, so it just seemed a little off. But I think in the whole context of conference realignment, that's kind of where college sports are right now. There's just so much mixing and matching that it's kind of the new reality.”

The United States Census Bureau splits the country into four regions — Northeast, Midwest, South and West. Missouri, in the Midwest, is the only SEC school that isn't in the Southern region.

“When Arkansas joined the SEC (in 1991), they might've seemed like kind of an odd fit too,” Matter said. “But now when we think of Arkansas, we think of that as an SEC-type program and culture, so I think it'll just take time.”

Missouri was a founding member of the Missouri Valley Intercollegiate Athletic Association, which evolved into the Big Eight and then the modern-day Big 12 Conference.

By the time it jumped shipped, Mizzou football had finally become consistently competitive in its old conference. The Tigers were one win away from a berth in the BCS national championship game at the end of the 2007 season, and won 48 games between that year and its final Big 12 season in 2011.

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by Jason Kersey
OU Sports Reporter
Jason Kersey became The Oklahoman's OU football beat writer in May 2012 after a year covering high school sports and OSU recruiting. Before joining the newspaper in November 2006 as a part-time results clerk, he covered high school football for...
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