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Suzanne Venker on Title IX: Time to Revise?

Sometime when I was watching ESPN in the last year, I saw a commercial where girls where playing sports together outside, and then, one by one, began leaving the field, their uniforms changing into beautiful dresses and formal business suits. At the end of the commercial, there was a brief message trying to convince young women to stay in athletics. Implication: if you have to convince girls to stay in athletics, you’ve got too many programs.

Title IX, while it was necessary at the time it was implemented to make sure athletic departments offered women’s sports, has since over-proliferated a women’s programs when the cost of all sports has exploded. Suzanne Venker, a conservative author and speaker, has written about the affects of Title IX in her book The Flip Side of Feminism.

“Enrollment in academic courses is now approaching 60 percent women to 40 percent men…athletic teams must enforce this same ratio. This rule is absurd because it’s a fact of human nature that men are more interested than women in participating in competitive sports….”

Also skewing this ratio men who want to work in trades like plumbing, mechanics, or construction, are more likely to go to a two year college and never set foot in a D-1 school. Venker continues:

“When the U.S. Civil Rights Commission in 2010 recommended colleges use a survey to determine student interest in athletics as the ‘best method available’ for complying with the law without requiring arbitrary gender quotas, the Obama administration-predictably-rejected that helpful suggestion, sticking to the proportionality rule…Demanding equal participation in college sports is absurd-and it’s wholly unfair to men.”

In addition to using a student interest survey, sampling participation in high school and junior high could be a fair way to determine which programs a college has to offer.

Due to radical feminism, Title IX is that it is Teflon when it comes to the rising cost of college athletics. Every now and then, a”serious journalist” will gasp over million-dollar football budgets…without mentioning the fact that there’s a federal law mandating universities carry programs that are destined to loose money. This is why you can’t a reasonable conversation about paying college football players because a chunk of every dollar every scholarship football player brings the university automatically gets cut off and sent to support another athletic program at the university, even though the money is better spent on the track teams rather than a linebacker’s weekend binge.

Let’s consider how the culture has changed since Title IX: major college sports aren’t just a ten-hour a week, extra-curricular activities. They are full-time jobs that involve regular travel (and longer travel because of conference realignment), plus off-season workouts, on top of being a student. When Title IX was implemented in the early 1970’s, woman’s college sports were underfunded or non-existent. Now the market has been over-saturated.

Cutting back on woman’s programs could actually help the competitive balance in woman’s sports. Consider how woman’s college basketball has been largely dominated by two programs, UConn and Tennessee, over the last several decades. Consider UConn’s long winning streak a couple of years ago: women’s college basketball is often the top women’s sport on campus,and takes little money to compete in, because they share a facility with the men. How can UConn carry on such a streak in this earth-is-flat, even-resources world? Cutting back the number of woman’s teams can help the school focus its resources.

Granted, Title IX can’t be scrapped completely, and indeed, there is a very fair component to it: making sure woman’s programs have funds. Many unions in this country began when workers were vastly underpaid, overworked (think sixty hour work weeks), and sent into unsafe working conditions. While their overall value is debatable now, worker’s unions are still needed to ensure safe working environments (as is necessary in a mining or construction business). Title IX is needed to ensure woman’s sports can have the resources they need to provide a positive experience to their participants. And with the advent of conference networks, all non-revenue sports aren’t going to lose the money they did ten years ago.

But still, society’s evolve. Given how much it takes to field a competitive team, let’s not saddle athletic departments with teams that the girls don’t want anyway. There’s no shame in admitting that boys want to play sports more than girls.

Vidcasts: Thank you and Penn State

Yesterday, I was in the middle of a long day that started out in Hasting and ended with a meeting at church at night. In between, I ran into Lincoln with my Dad to pick up my truck from my mom and bring it home. Of course, I ended up getting caught in a log-jam on the interstate, so I decided to do a couple of vidcasts, one as a thank you and another on the issues at Penn State post-Freeh report: Penn State getting NCAA sanctions (possibly the death penalty) and Joe Paterno’s statue.

Something I didn’t mention in the Penn State vidcast: while I understand a lot of the people coming into this debate who aren’t following college football regularly saying that Penn State should be given the penalty, I would say this: yes, Penn State’s lack of action is horrid, and the program needs to be punished. But a lot of other parties will get hurt in this: namely, Penn State’s non-revenue sports depend on football for funding and the Big 10 depends on Penn State. This is a “too big to fail” situation. This is not just taking away a recreational activity; this is dropping an atomic bomb, and even if it were necessary, it needs to be debated seriously.

When it comes to sanctions, remember this: USC got hit harder for Reggie Bush’s extra benefits (which mostly went to his parents) than Ohio State did for Terrelle Pryor and many other players. Ohio State was worse on so many greater levels: Jim Tressell knew about the scandal, Pete Caroll was merely ignorant. Point being, trying to predict what the NCAA will do (in a situation without precedence, no less) is next to impossible.

Again, thanks for reading and subscribe to my YouTube Channel.

BCS End in Sight: Can We Celebrate Greatness Now?

You got what you wanted.

So the college football playoff is here. Personally, I’m relieved, not be because I’ve hated the BCS , but because I’m tired of listening to the mortal rage against the system, while the teams on the field get ignored. Even in the last three years, when there wasn’t a huge argument over the two teams that played for the National Title, nobody cared about the National Title Game because the BCS had already lost its credibility.

For me, the most disappointing part of last season was that LSU and Alabama were two of the greatest teams I’d ever seen, and, no one really cared. Granted, part of that was the fact they were defense-based teams that produced two slugfests, and the other conferences can’t stand the SEC’s supremacy, even though it’s obvious. But, in the twenty-three games they didn’t play each other, the closest anyone came to either team was thirteen points twice (both Mississippi State and Oregon versus LSU). The last National Champion to beat every team by multiple scores was the 1995 Nebraska team. Still, fans barely acknowledge Alabama’s accomplishment because of the BCS.

Two of the greatest ever and for what?

The BCS tried too hard to get it. In its early year, the BCS was tweaked after each year to correct the error of the previous year, hurting its credibility. If they’d kept the formula used in 2000, Oregon would have played for the title in 2001, not Nebraska. But nobody mentions that. They should have used the exact same formula to decide the National Champion for the first four or eight years, then made changes instead of being reactionary on weekly basis.

There were actual years were you had two undisputed contenders, like Auburn and Oregon in 2010 and Texas and USC in 2005. You’re likely never going to have a year with four completely undisputed teams in the country. Not that I’m saying we should stick with the status quo, but a playoff is not going magically fix everything.

Some people think that it will be an easy march from here to 8 or 16 teams, but I would doubt it. First, there would be the logistical issue of the four quarter-final games, whether or not to play them in December on campus sites or incorporate them into the Bowl system and move that way. Then you’ll have the issue of who should get the eight seeds, and the at-large versus conference champions will come up again, and with eight teams, it will be more difficult to solve. Plus, some in college football circles (such as Phil Steele) who supported a four-team playoff won’t fight for a larger one.

What really could get the playoff to eight teams is the following scenario: a fourth team sneaks into the last spot in the playoff over a team that beat them. This won’t be like the NCAA Basketball Tournament, where arguing over the anonymous teams who got left out is done by the next cycle of Sports Center. There’s a month until both teams play again, and everyone sees all the major college football game, so the selection committee’s mistakes will be obvious. Then, the team that got in scores a memorable upset against the top team (akin to Ohio State upsetting Miami in 2002), and then the team that got left out of the playoff cries for a larger playoff. Three and four of those, and Death to the Four-Team Playoff books will start lining the shelves.

The regular season will still matter. LSU-Alabama last year probably still would have mattered as much as under the playoff system, because the winner controlled its destiny and the looser would still have to win all their games to have a shot at the playoff. Last year, it was pretty much assumed both teams would play for the title after Oklahoma State lost to Iowa State. Nothing would have been that much different under a playoff system, although Alabama wouldn’t have had to wait for as many teams to loose. The big question will be, will teams throw conference title games when their own position in the playoff is secure? Last year, it may have benefited LSU to throw the SEC Title game if they were playing an 11-1 team and loosing meant taking Alabama out of the playoff. Remember, Oklahoma was rolled by Kansas State and remained one of the top four teams in the country by a mile. Inviting in a team that flopped in its final games could be one of the biggest pitfalls for a selection committee.

These are just some of the issues that college football will face in its brave new world; let’s just hope that, when the dust settles, the focus is on the teams.

How would a selection committee look at Oklahoma’s 2003 letdown against Kansas State the previous night?

So now, is college football better off now in this brave new world? Yes, but not greatly.

Paterno Was Who He Appeared to Be

One of the things that didn’t bode well for Joe Paterno when the Jerry Sandusky scandal broke last November was that Paterno’s management style was very hands-on, to point Penn State president Graham Spanier felt he had to run academic matters by him. While it wasn’t conclusive, Paterno claiming he just passed up Mike McQueary’s reports didn’t fit the profile the legendary coach created for himself. Reading Sally Jenkins interview of Paterno and Lavar Arrington’s response to it, I kept wondering for myself about the McQueary incident and the 1999 Sandusky-shower incident that was reported to university police which Paterno said he didn’t know about. Not knowing a coach had a run in with campus police? Paterno advising someone else to take early retirement and just passing an incident up the chain of command? This was the coach who, three years later, would kick Spanier and athletic director Tim Curley out of his house when they came to suggest to him that he should retire.

So when CNN reported that Curley consulted with Paterno about the 2001 incident, I wasn’t really all that surprised. Granted, I had theorized that Spanier and the other officials at Penn State may have worked to prevent Paterno from finding out every single detail about Sandusky, wanting to protect Paterno’s legacy by giving him “plausible deniability”. But what really looks bad is that Curley and Spanier first thought about going to the authorities and then changed their minds after Curley talked to Paterno.

My most significant conclusion from reading the Jenkins interview was that Paterno should have retired ten years before the 2001 incident even happened; now it seems that Paterno may have indeed been more active in keeping Sandusky at large. I wanted to believe what Paterno was saying at the time; he was, after all, a eighty-five year-old man with lung cancer. He had no reason not to tell the truth, but even then, I was skeptical that he hadn’t been more involved in 2001 or known about the 1999 incident (Paterno telling someone else to take early retirement?). Sadly, we may never know the full truth of how involved he was.

I don’t know that I would go as far as Gregg Doyle has suggested, writing that Paterno’s statue should absolutely be taken away, although I could understand if Penn State did so. Ultimately, they know what is best for their community.But Louis Freeh has not filed his full report, and until then, we don’t know exactly what Paterno’s role was in deciding how to deal with Sandusky. It is still possible some people in the Penn State community will feel compelled to protect Paterno’s legacy, even though there is a sense in the community that Sandusky’s shame has stained everyone and the truth needs to come out.

Did Curley take the fall for his former coach?

End the Supremacy: Occupy the SEC!

Two days ago, I took to this blog and lamented Nebraska’s fall to a superior SEC team. It’s not just the Big Red-it’s the Big 10, and it was on display last year and this year. Other than Michigan State’s overtime win over Georgia (a game that a senior-laden team had to scratch tooth and nail to win), the Big 10 got rolled by southern teams. An off-year Ohio State team lost to an off-year team Florida. Iowa got rolled by a disappointing Oklahoma team. Michigan needs overtime to beat a Virginia Tech team who shouldn’t have gotten into the BCS. Wisconsin at least lost to a big-boy program in the Rose Bowl this year. Northwestern still can’t win a bowl game, and Nebraska’s home lay-down against the Wildcats was for naught. And of course, my Cornhuskers. It’s not even fair to pick on Penn State because their interim coach, and all the turmoil surrounding their program.

Today, I am coming with a plan: no longer am in morning, but I am proposing action. On the eve of the BCS Title game matching two SEC team, and the conference’s supremacy is at an all time high, I propose that Big 10 fans Occupy the South Eastern Conference.

Yes, I know this sounds ridiculous. That would because it is ridiculous. But the fact of the matter is, the SEC has gotten too good and powerful. Before we realize what has happened, the SEC will win eighteen out of twenty national titles (the other two likely going to USC or Texas), and many of our great northern programs will give up hope. Think about it: even with its own TV network and three stadiums that have 100,000, Penn State, Michigan, and Ohio State have only two national title game appearances since the Buckeyes’ title win.

Don’t mistake this for complaining about two SEC teams playing for the national title this year: LSU and Alabama should play for the national title, that’s the point. The SEC has gotten the best players year after, and no, it’s not their fault that Michigan couldn’t hire a great coach for ten years, or that Penn State allowed Joe Paterno to coach into his eighties, or that Nebraska has to import California’s leftover football stars. Our society is built on multiple entities sharing power, and when that balance is upset, it’s not good.

What is the downside to the SEC having all this power and prestige? Granted, I can’t think of one off the top of my head, and I can’t see one coming around the corner. But as I said, it is not good when a single entity has all the power.

What I propose is, fans of the Big 10 teams go the campuses of Auburn, Alabama, Florida, and the other SEC schools. Walk around with sign that say, “Stop hoarding all the good football players”, “Snow makes tough football players tougher”, and “Limit SEC schools to 65 scholarships”. Tell recruit their not obligated to play for the traditional southern powers, and that they can often get on the field immediately in the Big 10.

Is this nothing but the hopeless griping of an inferior conference? Yes, in all likelihood, but we in the Big 10 cannot give up. We have to do everything we can to shift the balance of power back to our schools and programs, even if it means setting up tents inside the Swamp, Between the Hedges, and in Death Valley. Colin Cowherd will mock us, and we will deserve some, but we must stay the course. It’s our only choice.

Penn State and the NCAA: Hunting for the Truth

As I alluded to before, the question of sanctions now loom over Penn State. Both the NCAA and the Big 10 have said that they will investigate the Penn State administration for their “lack of institutional control” in the Sandusky matter. While no specific by-laws appear to have been violated, the both governing bodies likely feel the need to look into the matter, given how heinous a crime sexual abuse is.

This isn’t a time to mock the NCAA for being a toothless organization, even if they look the part. Beyond Sandusky’s crimes, there was a culture of looking the other way, and iconic Joe Paterno was at its center. What the NCAA needs to do is come into Penn State, and ask the question, why didn’t people look further into the incidents that were reported?  Why didn’t the administration report incidents to the police and follow to make sure the investigation was complete? And why wasn’t Sandusky kicked out after multiple incidents were reported? To surmise, what the NCAA needs to find out is why Penn State consistently was looking the other way.

The purpose of this report may not be to sanction Penn State, although they may deserve it. What is the concern here is an organization was used to mask criminal activity. The NCAA is in the territory where the FBI was with Al Capone; they have to get all the information on the case (or as much of it as they are able), and decide if and how Penn State should be punished, although unlike Capone, the NCAA shouldn’t go in with the direct objective to punish Penn State, but only do it if it is deemed that the school didn’t do enough to stop Sandusky or investigate him more throughly.

Here’s my take: Penn State probably does deserve some punishment, but not the harshest. Joe Paterno and most the administration has been fired, and one thing we know about how the NCAA punishes people: if you fire the culprits (Ohio State), your punishment is lessened. If you don’t (USC), you’re going to get slapped pretty good. Going back to my post yesterday, this is why Penn State shouldn’t promote Tom Bradley and should clean house on all of its assistants. Not saying they knew or were at fault for what happened, but with the NCAA, it’s best not to take chances.

One wild card in this is that, even though Paterno has been fired, there really isn’t any way to punish him. Unlike Jim Tressell, no one will hire him at his age, so there’s no point in attaching sanctions to another program. Although to be fair, he is 84, and Richard Nixon-pardon situation could be in order.

Many liberal educators will likely come out and say that Penn State deserves the death penalty, and this was an opinion I considered briefly when the scandal broke. While this incident may show the worst consequences of lack of institutional control, the death penalty is the NCAA’s harshest penalty and should only be reserved for the harshest, multiple offenders, as was witnessed in the SMU scandal. Maybe it needs to be put on the table in this instances, but it is unlikely that it would need using.

The real concern here is how a major university, and specifically, an athletic department, was used to mask criminal activity.  Before Penn State, many probably didn’t think that an athletic department could hide a pedophile, but that certainly is the case here. Could they use to be launder drug money or smuggle terrorists into the country? Those things are likely the stuff of John Grisham novels, but athletic success can blind people, and major college football has a culture of looking the other way as players and booster share $100 handshakes. If the NCAA wants to be prepared, they should make a through investigation, find out how Sandusky’s behavior was kept secret, and create a policy, perhaps similar to the personal conduct policy for NFL players, stating that universities will be subject to discipline if they engage in behavior that is criminal or damaging to the reputation of the NCAA.

Boeheim’s PTI Gripping: College Basketball getting dragged along in Conference

Earlier this year, Jim Boeheim interviewed on PTI, wasting a Five Good Minutes segment during football season to express his mild dissent on Syracuse’s move from the Big East to the ACC. This is not the first that PTI has allowed Boeheim to go on a personal crusade in their interview segment: a few years ago when Syracuse was one of the last teams to left out of the NCAA tournament, Boeheim was allowed on the post-selction Monday to whrine about his team missing out on a thirteen seed. All those Syracuse connections at ESPN sure pay off, don’t they? So Boeheim went on ESPN’s most visible platform and whined about football and money driving the college athleic bus, loosing rivals like Georgetown and St. John, and how he’s only okay with Syracuse’s leaving the Big East because they are going to a basketball-first conference.

This is the attitude of college basketball, or at least some of it: let’s just begrudgingly go along with conference realignment because we have to. It is a network of good ‘ole boys, where even Bob Knight, whose boorish behavior got him fired at the school where he was a legend, could still get an under-the-radar, major conference job at Texas Tech. And every Friday after NCAA selections, the coaches of the last five teams out blame the selection committee for changing this criteria or that criteria. Meanwhile, you never hear a peep of college football teams who go .500 and don’t get invited to bowls. Even current Miami football coach Al Golden didn’t make a scene when his 8-4 Temple Owls didn’t get a bowl invite last year

But back to college basketball: Bill Self and Jim Boeheim both have the same point of view, and to a degree, it’s valid: they don’t like being the top athletic figure at their respective schools and then being dragged into conferences in moves that aren’t driven by their sport. But this is the way college athletics are these days: football schools and basketball schools aren’t equal. And while Boeheim acknowledges that the moves are about “football and money”, he doesn’t go into how an unsuccessful football program can burden an athletic department. If an athletic department has a bad basketball program, no one cares because it’s not a financial drain. But a bad football program is, and even a successful basketball coach like Boeheim can’t make that difference up.

In many ways, Boeheim’s like a guy who works at a farm seed company and sells forages. No matter how much alfalfa and red clover he sells, he’s never going to make as much as the guy who sells money-making crops like corn or soybeans, and thus he won’t be as influential in the future direction of the company. Is that the best thing? Perhaps not, but it is what it is. At least Boeheim was able to go to a conference that cares about basketball first, and he should learn something from the ACC’s approach: it is a basketball conference whose leadership told its members they had to care about football. The ACC added Florida State into the ACC in the early ninet. John Feinstein wrote in book A March to Madness that all of the basketball coaches in ACC questioned why the league needed Florida State, even though privately they knew why. Because the ACC continued to care about football, they now have a lucrative football championship game, a secure TV contract, and most importantly, a $20 million exit fee. Hence, secure future.

And as a Nebraska fan though, I should thank Boeheim for not encouraging Syracuse to seek membership in the Big 10. With Syracuse’s position in New York, ties to Penn State as a rival and to ESPN, they could have been a more enticing fit for the Big 10 if Boeheim had pushed for it. Indeed, Syracuse was the leaked list of five teams that the Big 10 originally wanted for a sixteen team conference, and I wonder how Tom Izzo, Thad Matta, and Bo Ryan would feel if Jim Boeheim came out and said point blank that he didn’t feel Big 10 basketball was up to Syracuse’s standard.

In the final assessment, I do feel bad for college basketball in some regards. Conference realignment is solely football-driven, and it may not be the best thing for major universities and conferences to have all their eggs in one sports basket (see the Big East). But ultimately, football has to drive now the bus because of its cost, and no matter how great Jim Boeheim has been for Syracuse, he can’t be the one making the decision of which conference Syracuse plays in., something he openly admits.  And when that decision is made, I would look better if he came out more fully supportive in the way his university is going because it will be around long after he’s gone.

Bowling Issues and Cold Field Advantages: Missouri in the SEC, continued

Yesterday, I shared my initial thoughts on Missouri’s move to the SEC and why the move didn’t make sense to me. Today, I want to tackle two specific issues in the Tigers’ conference switch. First, I want to speak directly to Missouri fan on the bowl selection process, and second, I want to address the potential home field Missouri would have in the SEC.

During Missouri’s initial process of leaving the Big 12, they questioned the league on the bowl selection process which often rendered the Tigers a lesser choice in bowl games. The process always seems to work Missouri’s media; the day after Iowa State upset Oklahoma State to become bowl eligible, the Columbia Daily Tribune published an article that was already bemoaning Missouri’s bowl prospects three weeks before the selections were made. I know that it’s not fair, Missouri fan, but you have to get over be relegated to bad bowls. It’s not about your season, it’s about your fan base. And it’s not going to get better in the SEC.

For starters, the bowl selection process isn’t like the NCAA tournament selection, so don’t make that comparison. the NCAA tournament picks teams based on merit, and even that process is subjective and gets tweaked every year. That is a process to select teams to play in a national championship tournament, so complaining about seeding, while petty, is reasonably fair. The bowl selection process, while it considers records and tries to reward the teams with the best season, values your fan base and whether or not they can be counted on to travel and spend their tourist dollars in the city where the bowl is being played. Missouri has a poor record for doing that.

I know Missouri list of bowl disappointments: getting passed down to the Independence Bowl multiple times; the Insight Bowl picking Iowa State over Missouri in 2009, when Missouri had two more wins and beat Iowa State; and last year getting passed on by the Cotton Bowl when Missouri had dominated Cotton Bowl-invitee Texas A&M in College Station. Complain if you will, but the reason the Tigers are in these games is the 2008 Alamo. The year before, Missouri fans had traveled en masse to the Cotton Bowl after their team had gone 11-2 in the regular season and watched the Tigers crush border-rival Arkansas; the attendance even surpassed that of the previous’ years Nebraska-Auburn game (attended by yours truly). This was a great opportunity for Missouri to build on momentum, but David Ubben pointed this out in his Big 12 blog for ESPN following Missouri’s drop to the Texas Bowl in 2009: the 2008 Alamo Bowl had the worst Alamo Bowl attendance in five years by 10,000. Yes, the other team was Northwestern, whose alumni are less passionate about football than Missouri’s, but come on. The Alamo Bowl is in one of America’s best recreational cities, not Shreveport, Louisiana.

And as a Nebraska fan, let me point something out to you: this system has worked in your favor, and you didn’t complain about it. Last year, when Nebraska was the school leaving the Big 12, the Insight Bowl took you over them, because it already had Iowa, who they knew would sell tickets. Nebraska crushed you and won your division, reasons you were pointing that you should gotten to the Insight bowl in 2009 over Iowa State. Now, to your credit, the Insight Bowl did have record attendance that year, more than Iowa State-Minnesota did the year before. But when the system works in your favor, don’t complain when it doesn’t. And by the way: you have only yourself to blame when a regional school in a small state gets picked over you to go to a bowl game.

By the way, how in the world do you expect the bowl selection process to be any better in the SEC? As I’ve said yesterday, every fan base in the SEC (even Mississippi and Mississippi State) care more passionately about their teams, and pretty much all of them have travel advantages over you to most of the bowls in Florida. If you do manage to make it to a bowl game most years, get ready for a lot of trips to Nashville, Memphis, and yes, Birmingham, Alabama’s falling-down Legion Field, what Pat Forde considers the worst bowl site in all college football. At least the two of the Big 12’s worst bowls are played in Houston’s Reliant Stadium and New Yankee Stadium.

One of the obvious things that may benefit Missouri football in the SEC is weather. With its northern locale that gets nippy in November, Missouri may benefit from getting Florida, Georgia, or Texas A&M up on their tundra in 40 degrees and a blustery wind. Look at Oklahoma State’s game at Iowa State: the Cowboys play in Ames on a short week, at night in the wind, and looked like they didn’t want to be there. During Nebraska’s famous game in the rain at Missouri in 2009, Jayson Whitlock speculated to Lincoln Journal-Star reporters that players were too used to practicing in nice indoor practice facilities, and even a little bad weather gets them off-target.

But Missouri’s November home field advantage in the SEC may not be the boon that Iowa State’s has the potential to be in the Big 12, or that what Missouri’s was in Big 12 for that matter, when the Tigers beat Texas and Texas Tech in their final two home games. First, the Big 12 is more a finesse, timing league that can be easily upset by conditions. The SEC is a league built on toughness, defense, and straight-ahead running, all things that travel to cold weather well. In an snow-game in November, Georgia or South Carolina could come into Columbia and run 50 times, while Missouri struggles to run its spread, the definition of getting embarrassed in your own house.

And unlike Iowa State, Missouri isn’t well-suited to play an underdog, fly-in-the-oinment roll in the SEC. Paul Rhoads can rant and rave to his Iowa State team about how all the down-south Texas and Oklahoma schools overlook them, and how they have they have the backing of an entire fan base. Pinkel could do the same with Missouri, but they barely have the backing of their state, who’d rather go to Cardinals game in September than drive to Columbia to watch the Tigers play a cupcake.

But the weather in Columbia is what it is, and Missouri will have to maximize every advantage it has in its new, super competitive league.

The Kansas City Star has been largely neutral on Missouri’s move and more concerned about keeping their precious basketball tournament in town. (Shades of Omaha getting paranoid over loosing the College World Series, Ugh.) The St. Louis Post-Dispatch has at least seemed reasonably honest about the challenges Missouri will face in the SEC and leaves the impression that the Tigers will have to step their game up in the new league.

Finally, I have to commend Missouri for at least talking about keeping their rivalry with Kansas intact. Even though the Jayhawks are angered by Missouri’s move and want to end their long series (even in basketball), Missouri seems to be making the initiative to keep the series together, as they should. Missouri and Kansas share a city together, and it would be too bad to see another longtime rivalry go by the wayside as Missouri moves on.

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