Monday, December 7, 2009

Tigers to the Big Ten?

It is usually one little tiny thing that gets my interest and makes me think. It usually isn’t the big headline. Today was just like that. I am drinking my coffee and reading the paper trying to understand the Big 12 Bowl scenario for this year when the sentence that will pass by most sticks in my head.

The chatter has been that Missouri would get snubbed by the Insight Bowl and go to a lesser bowl in favor of Iowa State who has a reputation of traveling well. In fact, they did. Mizzou to the Texas Bowl in Houston and Iowa State gets the Insight Bowl.

I get all that. I get that, yes, they have been snubbed for the past few years and the one that really hurt was when rival and my alma mater, Kansas got the BCS Orange Bowl even though Missouri beat them. I would be pissed off too except that for the many reasons the Texas Bowl is better for them, ie National TV versus the NFL network, in the middle of their recruiting sweet spot, and a place where their fans can drive to see the game. I get it. It hurts to not be wanted, again.

I was reading with some interest as Mizzou officials were selecting their words carefully to not insult their hosts at the Texas Bowl as they expressed their displeasure with the selection process and that the Big 12 allows the Bowls to pick whomever they wish. Truly, their rancor is as much with the Big 12 as with any Bowl that overlooked them.

There was one little line that got my attention. It always cracks me up. It comes up from time to time and frankly I think it is quite laughable. The suggestion is usually officially subtle and less subtle from fans of Mizzou. They threaten or suggest that they might leave and go the Big Ten.

They like to put forward notions they really don’t understand.

1. The Big Ten is the better conference.
2. They really fit in better with the Big Ten academically.
3. The Big Ten wants them.

They think it is sorta like they are stuck at the kid’s table and the Big Ten is the adults table. I think it is more like they are wanting to take their Barbie dolls and go home.

The oft repeated notion which at first I thought was a quote from a Missouri official but really was just a baiting question from KC Star writer Mike DeArmond to John Junker regarding Missouri’s prospects of a future bid to the Insight Bowl, “…..Perhaps as a member of the Big Ten, or some conference that does not have a record of letting Missouri fall in bowl bidding?”

It makes me laugh because people in the know will say the truth is that lots of schools fit academically. Missouri thinks they are saying that Missouri is a better academic school than many of their partners in the Big 12 which really isn’t the case. In other words, they are superior academically to the rest of the Big 12. What they are saying Jr. Missouri Einsteins is that they fit as well as lots of other Midwestern State Schools. It has also been written that Nebraska, Iowa State and even Texas fit academically with the Big Ten. I’m not sure we think of any of those schools, or Kansas for that matter, as defacto members of the Ivy League. In fact, it is often speculated that it was the Big Ten’s talk of wanting to add Kansas AND Missouri that created energy toward the formation of the Big 12 in 1993.

I’m not going to debate which conference is better. They are both really good conferences with good rivalries and a great history of athletics and a probably slightly better than average academics. Of course I'm partial to the Big 12. Actually I liked the old Big 8 best.

Does the Big Ten want them? Well, the Big Ten, or is it 11….or is it 12 if you count the University of Chicago does want and need to add a 12th school that competes in major athletics. In short they want to be like the Big 12. It is about money and reach. They want to capture a larger television audience so they can get more money. Really, that is the beginning and ending of who fits. Missouri brings them St. Louis and some Kansas City viewers. Nebraska brings them a smaller but more loyal viewer but really isn’t a likely match. There isn’ t much competition for the Nebraska viewer so you get most of them. If Iowa State offered anything in television numbers I think they would already be in. Then you get schools like Rutgers and Louisville that have been on the rise and have a lot to offer as well. Would the Big Ten like a piece of the New York, New Jersey television markets? I’d like to think they might. So why the talk about Missouri? They, among several, fit financially, geographically and they are probably willing but ironically…..again are second choice already.

This all leads me to the one we all know makes the most sense to join. Notre Dame. Only the Irish are too proud to see it. Sure, right now they have broadcast revenues that they don’t have to share that are huge but we’ve all seen where the Irish football program has been heading the past few years and they have just fired another coach. Basketball hasn’t been much for sometime either. Notre Dame will always have a silly loyal following from countless numbers of people who couldn’t even dream of going to school there but live and die by it like they did. However, nobody wants to see a loser and these idiots don’t just expect to win they expect National Championships. I think it isn’t a stretch to say unless they modify their admissions for the student athlete their best days are behind them and someday, probably soon, they will wish the Big Ten would consider them.

While I’m at it……conferences are too big anyway. We shouldn’t be expanding them. Eight is a great number for football. They should all have to play each other every year. Simple.

By the way, we will end this football season with two undefeated teams and an outside chance at three if Cincinnati can beat Florida and no playoff to know who really is best. Incredibly sad.


Anonymous said...

who cares?

JOCOeveryman said...

Well, I guess you have a point there. Just what is on my mind. I'm not making you read it. :-)

Anonymous said...

I have never understood why people feel the need to leave snipey comments. Dont read if you dont like. Rudeness!

Winston said...

I've noticed that too about the Tigers saying they are going to the big ten. I don't think they will go unless the Big 12 breaks up or something like that.