Mystified at Missouri’s decision to bolt the Big 12 for the SEC, yes. Shocked? No. Remember, this is the same school that interviewed Quin Snyder and Bill Self to replace Norm Stewart and decided to hire Snyder.
This is the same school that after losing basketball coach Mike Anderson to Arkansas hired Frank Haith.
At Sunday’s festive news conference to announce the move to the football conference that features fast, huge, in-your-face defensive linemen, Missouri Chancellor Brady Deaton cited “continuing instability in the conference we were in” as impetus for the move.
He has a point. After all, it wasn’t long ago that a school whose chancellor was the Big 12 board chairman triggered the instability by publicly expressing its desire to draw an invitation to the Big Ten. That school, of course, was Missouri, and Deaton was the Big 12 chairman until last month.
The Big 12 now has the sort of fair TV deal that the SEC has. Missouri always seemed to want more power in decision-making in the Big 12 and begrudged Texas its leading role.
Here’s how powerful Missouri is in the SEC: The Tigers will be in the East division, despite it making no sense geographically.
Apparently, big-money boosters promised to fund facilities upgrades as long as Mizzou joined the SEC. Better facilities mean better recruiting. But that presumes Missouri can continue to recruit Texas as well as it has when it was a Big 12 member. Dangerous assumption.
Plus, it’s not as difficult to get a Texas player out of the state of Texas as it is getting an Alabama athlete out of Alabama, a Georgia standout out of Georgia. Ditto for Louisiana, Mississippi, etc.
Athletes from the deep South tend to like to stay in the deep South.
The move to the SEC hasn’t worked out as well for Arkansas as it had hoped. Snazzy facilities might help to change that, but so far the school hasn’t had nearly as high a profile as it did in the Southwest Conference.
None of that will scare Gary Pinkel, a confident man for a reason. He’s a heck of a football coach. On the positive side, his spread offense is one that SEC defenses don’t often prepare to face, so the unfamiliarity could close the talent gap a little.
• If Mississippi boosters fed up with coach Houston Nutt get their way, Pinkel might not be the only pass-happy coach joining the SEC.
Ole Miss fans love the idea of Mike Leach bringing his aerial show to Oxford. Ole Miss, like Kansas University, is 0-6 in conference and 2-7 overall. Zack Stoudt, the juco recruit who chose Mississippi over KU, has thrown six picks and two touchdowns and has a 50.5 completion percentage.
Ole Miss boosters are growing louder by the minute about their desire to replace a Nutt with a (pirate) nut.
• A couple of former Mark Mangino assistant coaches had big weekends.
Rice University’s offense, coordinated by former KU offensive line coach John Reagan, amassed 671 yards in a 41-37 victory against UTEP.
Northern Illinois head coach Dave Doeren’s Huskies, who lost to KU 45-42 in Week 2, won at Toledo, 63-60, to improve to 6-3 overall and 4-1 in the MAC. Doeren’s Huskies rank 10th in the nation with 41.2 points per game.