That’s right, folks. The end of the world is at hand, and the Mizzou football team is about to embark on a 7 year winless streak in conference games against their new friends in the SEC. This is dreadfully important news, because football is most definitely the only sport involved in the move (no, it is not). After all, the SEC currently has 6 teams ranked in the top 25 according to USA Today, and those teams could all probably slaughter Mizzou with just their second string players. Heck, I don’t know why the Tigers are going to even show up for the first couple of seasons in the SEC. It would probably be safer to just forfeit those games rather than embarrass themselves against the pre-ordained eternal powerhouses there.
On the other hand, Mizzou could show up and see what happens. Granted, LSU, Alabama, Arkansas, South Carolina, Georgia, and Auburn are all to be respected and deserve the recognition that comes with being a top 25 team. However, it is probably worth pointing out that Mizzou is leaving a conference that currently has 4 teams in the top 25 and is no stranger to that polled list itself. Certainly Mizzou is not peaking right now, but that doesn’t mean that the Tigers cannot compete. While the SEC does include some top notch programs, it also includes a few that are having down years as well. If I were a bettin’ man, I’d lay even odds that Mizzou can return to top 25 prominence just as quickly as any of the weaker SEC teams. Why all the rainbows and unicorns?
Mizzou just gave itself a leg up on the recruiting competition, and recruiting is the lifeblood of college football (although booster donations are the soul). Mizzou football was doing pretty well recruiting players from place like Podunk, Texas and Nowheresville, Kansas. The Tigers were even starting to get a handle on the concept of actually recruiting players from the state of Missouri as well. Now they have changed the playing field and added a large carrot to dangle in front of potential recruits. Just imagine how the conversation could go now…
- You! You want to play against the best competition at the college/semi-pro level, but you don’t want to live someplace down south? Come to Columbia, Missouri and join the SEC and remain a Yankee.
- Do you like predictably crappy weather, slush, and ice? Stay right here in Missouri, and we promise that you’ll get to experience all 4 seasons equally AND get to scrape ice off of your car every winter!
- Interested in meeting southern belles without having to learn something other than your “Country Grammar“? Come to Mizzou and circle the dates on the calendar for roadtrips to exotic southern locales like Tuscaloosa, Gainesville, and a completely different country, Arkansas.
- Turned down at Alabama just because you are a 6’3″, 240 lb linebacker who ONLY runs a 4.4 40-yard dash. We’ve got a place for your at Missouri, and you won’t even have to switch to cornerback. (NOTE: I’m kidding. You can totally put on a few pounds and play safety.)
If that doesn’t work, then maybe recruiters can play some highlight clips from the 2008 Cotton Bowl Classic. That was the Mizzou versus Arkansas bowl game from a few years back. That’s also the one that featured 2 of the top 4 Heisman candidates, Darren McFadden and Chase Daniels. It’s also the game in which Mizzou running back Tony Temple went off for 281 rushing yards and 4 trips to the end zone. The final score of that game? 38-7 in favor of Mizzou. FYI – Arkansas was not voted out of the SEC for losing to a Big 12 team, although it was probably a close vote. (Again, I kid.)
Now, nobody is going to mistake that Mizzou team for the current version, but it does show what Mizzou is capable of being in terms of football. It will most certainly take a few years, but it’s not like they are trying to bring the air traffic system into the 21st century or build a particle accelerator out of duct tape. Mizzou is just 1 really good recruiting class away from being legitimately good. Period. No qualifiers. Not SEC good. Not “in-transition” good. Just good. Maybe all it takes is that 1 really high end recruit to decide that he wants to play against the Alabamas and LSUs of the world, but maybe he doesn’t want to be too far away from his home in Des Moines…..or East Podunk, Kansas……or St. Louis.
Regardless, it’s far too early to pass judgment on a decision that has such far reaching implications. It may work out for the better, or it may be trigger the aforementioned zombie apocalypse. Either way, the move is being made, and it’s time to start getting comfortable. If there are any concerns in Columbia, MO, then maybe the concerned should take a look east across I-70. A team in St. Louis was recently given up for dead, and things turned out just fine for them.
TIDBIT: While I don’t think a storybook ending is in the “cards” for the Tigers right away, I do think it will be interesting to watch. I’ve always considered college football a game of matchups, and it will be fun to see how SEC opponents adjust to having yet another spread offense to contend with on a regular basis. Regarding the other sports involved, I do hope that some people more familiar with them than I am take the time to write their thoughts on how this move impacts gymnastics, diving, and all the rest.
MORE BITS OF TID: It should be noted that the Tigers join the “East” division of the SEC which already includes Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, South Carolina, Tennessee and Vanderbilt. Thank the Smurfy stars that they didn’t join the other one, although I had no idea that Mizzou was in any way “East” since I grew up being taught that St. Louis was the “Gateway to the West”. Silly public schools were wrong all along!
FINAL BIT O’ TID: I’d like to suggest some alternate names for the SEC divisions. For your thoughtful consideration, I submit the following options:
- Hatfields & McCoys
- Young & Restless
- Dumb & Dumber
- Student body left & Student body right
- Thelma & Louise
Also, it wouldn’t hurt to change the unofficial name of the SEC to “All Your Extra Teams Are Belong To Us”. Alright? Thanks.
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PS. Yes I know this isn’t about the Cardinals, but I found this “General Sports” category that I just had to use at least once. You will now be returned to my irregularly schedule blatherings about baseball and such.