15 June 2010
The conference has changed. Opinions have changed. But one thing remains the same.
(Video courtesy of wearemizzou.com)
Two teams, seven months, and dozens of anonymous sources later, the dust in the Big 12 Conference appears to have settled. From the possibility of superconferences and Armageddon, Mizzou has been relegated to the anticlimactic reality of life in a ten team Big 12. So the question is, now what?
As fans so often do, Mizzou supporters seem to disagree on this one. There are those of you who are relieved. Finally, the speculation is over. Mizzou keeps its BCS status, gets more money, and fans no longer have to worry about dragging their tiger tails to a Mountain West showdown against someone like New Mexico.
Then there are those of you who feel the way I do: disappointed. Remaining in the Big 12 is safe, but playing things safe rarely takes you to new heights. Weeks ago we were assured by many sources that Mizzou was a lock for the Big 10. Our beloved university was destined for equal revenue sharing, more money, and increased respect in a new college landscape. Then, earlier today it looked like Missouri might be SEC bound. Incredible football and a chance to be a “big dog,” in hoops presented an intriguing option.
Instead, we are “rescued,” by Texas and their “generosity,” for staying in the Big 12. Let’s make this clear. Texas is not saving anybody. They are strictly acting in their own best interest. In this weakened Big 12, Texas stands to make more money, start their own television network and further the gap between the Big 12 “haves,” and “have-nots.” If only Missouri could have acted so aggressively.
Missouri coaches and fans griped about the old Big 12 on three main accounts:
- Revenue was not shared equally.
- Mizzou was repeatedly snubbed for bowl games.
- In general, Mizzou was deemed “second-tier,” compared to certain schools in the conference.
Well, this new conference that the brain trust of Deaton and co. are so proud to be part of solves exactly zero of those problems. If Dan Beebe’s new TV deal actually comes to fruition, Mizzou will make more money than it did. That is the good news. However, the money will not be shared equally. Texas is reportedly guaranteed up to $25 million in the new deal and other teams like Mizzou will get $14-17 million. In addition, MU is about to sign into this punishment deal for 18 years.
The conference bowl selection process remains the same, so like it has happened so many times before, a team with a worse record could still be chosen for a better bowl game. Given Mizzou’s national perception lately, I don’t like the Tiger’s chances.
Finally, if this week proved nothing else it is that Missouri is definitely perceived as “second-tier.” Now, I know that the University of Missouri is not second-tier. I am proud to attend school here. In football, only UT and OU have won more games in the past three seasons. In basketball, as long as MU has Mike Anderson at the helm, the Tigers are a force to be reckoned with.
However, perception is reality for Missouri. The Tigers were passed over by the Big 10 for the Nubs, an afterthought for the SEC, and even on the radar for the Mountain West Conference. As if that’s not enough, Nebraska gave Mizzou one last cheap shot by blaming them for “starting the whole process,” and meanwhile T. Boone Pickens refuses to acknowledge Mizzou’s presence in the new Big 12, stating the conference only has nine teams. This mess has certainly given Missouri a nice helping of humble pie.
The situation stinks. Mizzou thought it was Big 10 bound and then dropped the ball. Fans have the right to be upset. However, at the end of the day this is the university that we support. This is the team we’ve come to love. Are you a Mizzou fan because they play in a particular conference? Are you a Mizzou fan because they played Nebraska and Colorado every year? Or are you a Mizzou fan because this is the team you grew up loving? Because this is the school you went to? Or the state you live in? At the end of the day this is our University and our team. I don’t give a damn who we play. I don’t go to games to see the opponent. I don’t support Mizzou because they play in a particular conference. I support Missouri because this is my school. This is my team.
So go ahead Nebraska, run to the Big 10. We can’t blame you. And go ahead Texas, keep your arrogance and fat TV deal. I am going to continue to support Mizzou.
As the signs all over the Mizzou Athletic Training Complex say, “We Are Mizzou.” And that remains true no matter who we play or how much money we get for doing so.
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