Pros and Cons of the New-Look SEC
You may have heard by now that it appears imminent the Southeastern Conference will expand, quite possibly as soon as next week. If you haven't heard this, ignoring the fact that you apparently haven't visited this website (thanks for your donation)--or any other website related in any way to sports--in a few days, Texas and Oklahoma are set to become the 15th and 16th members of the SEC sooner rather than later.
Reaction from Missouri fans has been...mixed. Nobody seems to have a huge problem with Oklahoma joining. Tiger fans might not be thrilled about it, but they don't hate it. Texas? Well, yeah, that's another story.
But there are some good things here. Right? Sure there are. But, yes, there are some drawbacks too.
CON: The old neighbors are moving to your fancy new neighborhood. I mean, you bought a house in this nice neighborhood to get away from them. They kept borrowing your lawnmower and not returning it. Their dog shit in your yard pretty often and they didn't clean it up. They talked about you behind your back to the other neighbors. They were not fun to live with. You thought you got away from them. But apparently their money impresses the homeowners' association in your new place.
PRO: At least it's the good-looking rich neighbors moving in. It could be worse. The other people left in your old neighborhood never borrowed your mower because they never actually mowed their lawn. They didn't even own a dog to let it crap in your yard. They owned dumb pets like hamsters and rats (maybe those weren't pets). Their car/truck sat on cinder blocks for years. So, these people moving in are kind of dicks, but at least they won't hurt the property value.
CON: Wasn't it already hard enough to win games in this league? You've got the best program in college football history over in Tuscaloosa. Auburn and Georgia have both been playoff good since Missouri joined the league. Florida appears on its way back and after 80 years, Texas A&M might finally be living up to the program everyone has always wanted to say it is. And now you're adding the Sooners and the Longhorns? At least Tennessee hasn't figured things out.
PRO: Well, only one of those teams has actually been good of late. The Sooners have only lost 25 games in nine years since Missouri left the Big 12, have finished in the top seven in the country six years running and have transitioned from a Hall of Fame coach to his chosen successor without missing a beat. But Texas? Texas is 65-48 since Mizzou moved to the SEC and has one ten-win season. The Tigers are 63-49, have two ten-win seasons and have won their division twice more (which means twice) than the Longhorns. And Mizzou didn't even get to play Kansas during those nine years.
CON: Some of the people that contributed to the history are gone. No more great moments like this.
PRO: Some of the people that contributed to the history are gone. No more ridiculous moments like this. (Honorable mention in this category to David Boren and Deloss Dodds).
CON: I might have to see more lists on Twitter from Big Game Boomer.
PRO: I get to see more tweets from Eddie Radosevich and Fake Dan Beebe.
CON: Texas has wrecked the last two conferences it touched. Arkansas bolted the Southwest Conference in 1992 in large part to get away from the Horns and their bullying ways. Missouri followed Nebraska, Colorado and Texas A&M out the door in the Big 12 in large part to get away from the Horns and their bullying ways. I know we covered this above, but it bears repeating: Texas has trouble playing in the sandbox with others.
PRO: If there is one league with the swagger to make Texas fall in line and be part of the group, it's the SEC. The league prides itself on unity. Sure Texas is big. There are four or five Texases in this league...and most of them have been better at football than the Longhorns lately. Right now, Texas football isn't even the biggest deal in its own state, much less its new league. If you can't behave here, there's no hope.
CON: There are a lot of fans left behind that Missouri has a lot of history with that are scared to death right now. It's hard to see how the Big 12 moves forward without Texas and Oklahoma. If it does, it's a greatly diminished product that will demand but a fraction of what it used to from TV networks. The worst case scenario is a lot of fans who have gotten used to being a part of big-time college athletics are going to be a part of much less big-time college athletics going forward.
PRO: Some of those fans are Kansas fans.
CON: Kansas may break its own record and win more than 14 consecutive regular season conference basketball championships going forward.
PRO: Those championships might be in the American Athletic Conference.
CON: It's not perfect. Nothing is. Yes, Texas has a history of being miserable to get along with. Yes, the Longhorns and Sooners both recruit a lot of the same areas Missouri does--including the state of Missouri--and putting them in the SEC may make them harder than they already are to beat on the recruiting trail and the field. It brings up a lot of alignment and scheduling questions that aren't going to be answered for a little while.
PRO: Missouri has a seat at the grown-ups table in college sports. Before the addition of Texas and Oklahoma, the SEC is the best athletic conference in the country (at least among the sports most people pay attention to; I'm aware the PAC-12 tends to win a billion championships, but a lot of those come in sports a lot of schools don't even have). But after? Nobody can even pretend it isn't the best by a wide margin. Whatever else you want to say about them, Texas and Oklahoma are pretty good at the sports. Beyond football, both basketball teams are NCAA Tournament regulars and have been to a FInal Four this century (both men's and women's). Oklahoma is one of the country's dominant softball programs and Texas baseball was in the College World Series last month. Oh, and there's the matter of the price tag they'll demand from the TV networks. The Sooners and Longhorns don't just make the league richer; they make it better.