Mizzou to SEC? A Discussion with Spencer Hall of EDSBS
While the hysteria around the Cardinals comeback is occupying most of brain power of local sports fans, for some there still is a sliver that remains interested in the conference affiliation status of the Missouri Tigers. It’s been a bizarre ride as Tigers fans have watched the Big 12 threaten full implosion on multiple occasions only to stagger back to the table for another round.
Now the big dogs – Texas and Oklahoma – have re-committed and expected the rest of the conference to do the same, including Mizzou. But the Tigers may be headed elsewhere. One rumor that continues to produce smoke is Mizzou entering the SEC. Fan reactions are mixed – some love the idea of joining what is the undisputed best conference in football, while others are still holding up a ghettoblaster and blaring Peter Gabriel outside of the Big Ten’s front door.
But we wondered what the other side thinks. How does SEC country view the Tigers as a potential 14th team in their league? So to get that perspective we brought in one of the most notable college football writers in the land and SEC veteran, Spencer Hall from the award-winning Every Day Should Be Saturday to educate us all…
1.) As an SEC afficionado, what is the general perception of Mizzou within SEC country? Are they viewed as a solid addition or just another team for the big dogs to steamroll?
SH: The general perception is that there is no general perception. I think people think of Mizzou as “Arkansas without an accent,” and in the sense that Arkansas has been a solid but not overwhelming addition to the conference slate, we would be okay with it.
2.) Is there any truth to the rumor that Mike Slive is on a mission to hoard as many teams that have Tigers as their mascot as he can? Any chance that Clemson is on the radar as well? Fort Hays State Tigers?
SH: The notion is a pattern, to be certain. However, Slive and the rest of the SEC will not bring in a team from a state with another SEC member already in the house, so Clemson is out. The Fort Hayes State Tigers of Kansas are, as far as I know, theoretically still in play.
3.) If you could add one (reasonable) team of your choice to bring the SEC to 14, who would you go with and why?
SH: The one choice I’d make for a 14th member in a very real and politically active world is West Virginia, but I am biased from just having been there this weekend. Virginia Tech is probably the most logical move due to their massive appeal in the DC market. They are also a good fit for the SEC by fan profile, and that means they’d probably burn their team’s logo in the lawn of a neighbor who was a fan of a rival school. That is an important test for conference membership.
4.) What is one piece of advice you’d offer to Mizzou fans to get them prepped for what they’re about to experience should their team join the SEC next year?
SH: I would just be prepared for a level of interest and animosity you might find shocking at first. Also, we’re faster across the board on defensive line and offensive line than the Big 12, and that can be quite frustrating at times. I think Mizzou would compete well enough, but there would be an adjustment, and it would begin on the recruiting trail first.
5.) If you’re a Mizzou supporter and you’re only allotted time and funds to travel to one of their SEC road games, which city should you go with?
SH: Baton Rouge. It is everything the SEC is supposed to be: hot, loud, and sensory overload in every sense of the word. Once you can shake off a few “Fuck you!”s, you’ll adjust quite nicely.
6.) Gut feeling – do you think Mizzou will be playing in the SEC in 2012?
SH: I don’t think so. I think the expansion process will be a bit slower than people think, and that the SEC more than anything else does not want to be seen as raiding another conference. The biggest step comes with Mizzou leaving the Big 12, not with the SEC’s invitation. The first is a legitimate question; the second is a given, since it is apparent Mike Slive has already flashed some garter at Mizzou.