Friends, today is the day.
Mizzou officially announced its move from the Texas League to the SEC last November, but Tuesday we'll make the move official on our blog network.
Mizzou will now officially be a member of the SEC blog and move off the Texas League blog. We'll have a full day of posts Tuesday commemorating, debating and celebrating, but we'll kick things off the right way: with an introduction.
Texas League blogger David Ubben introduces the SEC to its newest member on the blog with a Q&A with SEC blogger Edward Aschoff.
Edward Aschoff: Once the Texas A&M talks with the SEC heated up, Missouri's name was thrown right in. It wasn't much of a secret the Tigers would join, but what was your reaction to Missouri joining the SEC?
David Ubben: It's a complicated one. This move has so many facets to it. In terms of stability, I totally understand. When Texas, Texas Tech, Oklahoma and Oklahoma State started looking west at forming the Pac-16 for the second consecutive year, Mizzou knew it didn't want to have to wonder where it's future league home was going to be. The summer of 2010, when it looked like Mizzou, Kansas, Kansas State, Iowa State and Baylor were going to be left out of these new "super-conferences," was scary for the Tigers. A move to the SEC, above all, ensures those conversations won't have to occur anymore.
A ticket to the SEC became possible. The Tigers chased it and caught it.
Well, now they're here. Fans are going to have to travel a long way to see road games. The recruiting game is going to be vastly different, and much more cutthroat, perhaps a world the Tigers are a bit unfamiliar with.
This season, they were right outside the national top 25 in recruiting, but that ranked ninth in the SEC. The bar has been raised. The big question is can Missouri clear it and be a successful program in the long run?
By signing Dorial Green-Beckham, the Missouri Tigers showed the school can attract top recruits.EA: Travel will be really interesting. Columbia, Mo., is almost 900 miles away from the other Columbia in South Carolina, and Gainesville, Fla., is more than 1,000 miles away. Talk about Delta miles. Missouri won't have to worry about filling opposing fans' ticket allotments, because SEC fans travel well. So when these fans get on campus, what are some of the new traditions they'll be exposed to from the Missouri faithful?
DU: Good question. There are teams with stronger traditions in the Texas League, but Mizzou's are solid.
The most evident one will be the Rock M at the North end of Faurot Field. Every August, Missouri adds a few rocks, and the university's freshmen offer a fresh coat of paint to keep it looking fresh, which it always does.
For the biggest games, the Rock M and the field surrounding it will be packed with fans. Lately, the Tigers have had a few big wins to celebrate with ripped-up goalposts. Wins over Oklahoma and Nebraska come to mind. When that happens, those goalposts are toted up that field and carried almost a mile to Harpo's, a bar downtown, where fans will cut them up and take home a piece.
If Bama goes down in Columbia next season, the Tide fans will see that up close and personal.
During the game, you'll get a taste of the “Missouri Waltz,” which is a pretty recognizable song featuring the fans waving their arms to the music.
They'll also get to meet Truman the Tiger, who treks around the track surrounding the field in a fire truck before the game with a hose to spray fans on hot days.
Faurot Field only seats a little more than 70,000 fans, but it's a solid atmosphere more often than not. It won't wow many folks, but it has a very unique feel, and the stadium is set into the ground, so it feels a little underground, too.
EA: I also hear homecoming is a pretty big deal in Columbia. Let's hit the team a little. Some guy named Dorial Green-Beckham signed with Missouri, and from all accounts he's a pretty big deal. The Tigers return a couple of solid receivers to help James Franklin, but Green-Beckham might really be special. How big was that pickup and how do you think he'll be used in the Tigers' offense this fall?
DU: Ah yes, how could I forget?
You want to be wowed by Mizzou? Come to campus during homecoming weekend and check out house decorations. I've seen plenty on several campuses in my day. None top Mizzou.
The DGB signing might honestly be bigger off the field than it is on it. He signifies that if you're one of the nation's top recruits, you don't have to go to somewhere like Alabama, LSU, Oklahoma or Texas. It's OK to go somewhere in-state or somewhere you feel comfortable.
Most importantly, you can go to Mizzou, and DGB will vouch for that.
On the field, I don't think you can expect him to walk in and be a game changer. The SEC is a lot different than Missouri high school football. That said, I'd be surprised if he had fewer than 40 catches this season, and of course, he has the potential to become one of the best receivers this game has ever seen.
That idea is kind of crazy to think about. Mizzou's offense will give him a chance to fulfill that potential.
EA: Well, the guy throwing the ball to DGB ain't so bad. We saw quite a bit of Franklin last season, and he was pretty impressive running and throwing, but this is the big league. SEC defenses prevent shootouts. So how do you see Franklin adjusting to all that speed on defense? And I might as well put you on the spot and see how you think Missouri will do in its first season in the SEC. What's your prediction, David?
DU: I think he's well-suited for the SEC, really. He doesn't get his yards on the ground with a lot of speed. He's really instinctive and runs when he should run. He does it with power and a great feel for creases in the offensive line and some nice wiggle that makes it hard to lay a good knock on him like SEC defenses will want to do.
Mizzou's production will dip a bit, but I still think the Tigers' offense will be effective. As for my pick for the Tigers in Year 1? Nine wins. Second place in the SEC East. Not a bad first season, eh?