Missouri to SEC Press Conference: Go East, Young Men -- There's Gold in Them Hills

There wasn't too much new news in the official press conference re-announcing that Missouri has moved to the SEC for 2012, but here are a few tidbits for those who missed it:

  • Missouri will go to the SEC East. That's not really a huge surprise given the scheduling headache that the Tigers would have caused if they had been in the SEC West. The names are a little ridiculous, but you can actually draw clean line between the SEC East and the SEC West (even if it's not really a north-south line) so it's not like some of the other conferences out there (cough cough ACC cough cough Big Ten cough).
  • A cross-divisional rival to be named later. I didn't hear anyone directly address which team would be Missouri's rival from the SEC West, though Texas A&M has to be the front-runner for now. The other two additions to the conference were paired with each other in the 1992 expansion (Arkansas and South Carolina), which is both a pattern and a reason to keep those two teams together. If we go to a nine-game schedule (dicey) and two cross-division rivals (unlikely), Missouri might get Arkansas as its other annual foe from the SEC West.
  • The most telling moment of the press conference was when Mike Slive didn't know. There were several mentions of how Missouri would be a full member of the SEC from day one -- HELLO BIG 12 -- but the best veiled shot probably came when a reporter asked Mike Slive what the SEC's policy was toward a grant of rights, a television term that's gotten a lot of play in the Big 12 as that conference tries to piece itself back together on slightly more equitable footing. "I'm not sure I know what a grant of rights means," Slive responded. One of the things we can be grateful for as SEC fans is that our league has never decided to allow some teams to become wealthy by leaving others behind. There's a reason why teams are more eager to join this conference than to leave it.

In addition, it was pretty clear that the SEC and Missouri really expect this to take place for 2012. I have a hard time believing they would make a point of this if it's a losing battle. The Big 12 seems to have given up on Missouri as a member, and will instead take its chances that the courts will rule in favor of West Virginia on the exit requirements.

There are still plenty of details to be ironed out over the next few months, but the SEC finally appears to be done with the big-ticket expansion issues. Finally.

Read all of Team Speed Kills' conference realignment coverage.

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