Goodbye Big 12, Hello SEC

By Steve Goldberg

Last Sunday, the University of Missouri announced that it was officially joining the Southeastern Conference.

Saturday afternoon, Missouri made a statement when the Big 12 powerhouse Texas Longhorns came to visit Columbia. Mizzou’s defense held the Texas offense to just a first quarter field goal in a 17-5 Tiger victory, their first against the Longhorns since 1997. Chants of SEC were heard around the stadium throughout the entire game.

This final year in the Big 12 is about saying goodbye to old friends and looking forward to the change that will come next year. Fans are disappointed that Mizzou’s century-old rivalry with Kansas will likely come to an end after this season, but there are many things to look forward to in the new conference.

1. Games against Arkansas:

While it will not be nearly as intense as the Missouri-Kansas rivalry, games between Mizzou and Arkansas will still be very entertaining. Arkansas is Mizzou’s closest opponent geographically, and the two schools have some recent history. Missouri beat Arkansas 38-7 in the 2008 Cotton Bowl, and former Mizzou head basketball coach Mike Anderson left to take the same position with the Razorbacks this season. The competition between these two schools should be very exciting for fans on both sides of the state line.
2. Road trips

Hitting the road for SEC games will mean more travel for Mizzou fans, but it will definitely be worth it. The Tigers will play in the SEC East, which means football games every other year at “The Swamp” in Florida, “Between the Hedges” in Georgia, and “Rocky Top” in Tennessee. The SEC has many historic basketball arenas as well; Kentucky’s Rupp Arena, Vanderbilt’s Memorial Gym, and Arkansas’ “Basketball Palace of Mid-America.” These historic and unique venues are a must-see for all diehard Mizzou fans.
3. The SEC on CBS

Can’t make it to the big game? Don’t worry, CBS broadcasts the SEC’s top games every week. Nothing against ESPN or FOX, but CBS really brings the whole game-day experience right into your house with their camera work, graphics, broadcasters, and catchy theme songs. Watching Mizzou football and basketball games on CBS is definitely something to get excited about.
4. Tailgating

Nothing says SEC football like huge tailgates on Saturday. Fans gather at SEC stadiums hours before games enjoying the simple pleasures of food and football. In the Big 12, there are a couple big games that fans get hyped up for, but the others do not always draw huge crowds. But in the SEC, every game is a big game, whether it is against Vanderbilt or LSU. Hopefully with the increased level of competition, the overall game-day experience in Columbia will be even more enjoyable next year.
5. Stability

In the SEC press conference at the University of Missouri, Commissioner Mike Slive stressed how NONE of the SEC schools EVER try to leave the conference. Missouri has been in the spotlight of conference realignment for a while, but they finally have found a functional family. Mizzou will certainly not be the last team to change conferences, but the actions of other schools will no longer have any affect on Mizzou’s future.

Follow Steve on Twitter @SG_Mizzou15

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