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Big 12 Expansion Q&A: The Case for Missouri

Yeah, they won the SEC East a couple of times. So what?

Mizzou leaving was all Gary Pinkel's fault. (That's our story and we're sticking to it.)
Mizzou leaving was all Gary Pinkel's fault. (That's our story and we're sticking to it.)
Nelson Chenault-USA TODAY Sports

No, EXPANSIONPALOOZA isn't a daily thing anymore, largely because with the Big 12 backing away for the time being the excitement seems to have dimmed. We're not through yet, though; we've still got pending inquiries with some other folks, most notably Nebraska.

But today, we speak with one of our own. As you all know, Luke Thompson is a life-long Wildcat fan, but the dirty bigamist attended Missouri because of their stupid journalism school. Terrible excuse, I know, but we're stuck with it. So we asked Luke to make the sales pitch for his alma mater.

Jon: Be honest: is there any segment of the Mizzou fanbase which kinda sorta wants to come back to the Big 12?

Luke: Absolutely there is, and I'd like to consider myself one of the unspoken leaders. Sure, we may be the minority and sometimes it's hard to argue against all that $$$$, but it just doesn't feel right for Mizzou to be in the SEC and not the Big 12. Putting us in the East division only added insult to injury.

Plus, have you seen what's happened to Mizzou athletics since leaving the Big 12? It's like there's a curse or something. So many off-the-field issues that I don't know where to begin, so let's stick to athletic successes, or rather, lack thereof.

Yes, a couple years of good football was a nice surprise, but basketball (men's and women's) have been bottom-feeders, baseball and golf (of course) can't hold their own against warm weather schools and track and field/CC are in the bottom half. It was nice to see a good soccer year and we know by now that Mizzou wrestling can beat anyone, but maybe going back to the Big 12 would be nice. Not necessarily because the competition is worse (it often isn't) but because then the curse might be lifted. Or something.

Jon: Is there anyone with actual power insane enough to entertain the notion?

Luke: No, I really don't think there is, and again, $$$$ rules all. This is where we're at and on the plus side, it should give Mizzou an upper hand when the Big 12 inevitably fades away into the sunset. But wouldn't it be cool if the SEC could put Mizzou on loan to the Big 12 like European soccer teams do with their players?

Jon: What sort of lunacy do you think we could count on if Mizzou came back?

Luke: Oh my. Where to begin. Honestly, there's a lot of stuff that is really awful enough I don't want to dredge it up right now, but then there's fun things like teams rebelling against the athletic department that maybe was out to get a coach, basically the entire basketball team transferring, quitting, or getting kicked out of the program, and subsequently, awful attendance. But we do have some really cool helmets!

Jon: Who would be Mizzou's arch-rival now that Kansas doesn't care about them anymore?

Luke: What? Since when has Mizzou's partcipation in the Border War hinged on whether Kansas cared or not? That's silly. Tigers fans are born and bred to hate the Jayhawks regardless of what Bill Self or any entitled, self-righteous pricks from Lawrence think, and that's never going to change.

But if you really want me to indulge your fantasy, sure, let's pretend Mizzou would try to find a new rival. I think Baylor might be a good option, since it's the one athletic department you could even begin to argue has dealt with more turmoil than the one in Columbia. As a Mizzou fan I'd enjoy actually being able to claim some moral superiority, so down with the Bears!

(Ed. Note: As we all know because Nebraska and Texas have reminded us of it incessantly for 20 years, a rivalry has to be two-sided to actually be a rivalry. I think Luke forgot this small detail.)

Jon: Yeah, it's only been a few years since Mizzou left, so we know all of these answers already. But being in the SEC changes folks. So with that in mind, why do WE want to come visit Faurot Field again? What's great about Columbia? What's your fanbase REALLY like (warts and all)?

Luke: Manhattan's a nice little college town with a decent bar scene, but Columbia is an actual, grown-up college town with its own quaint little downtown and a thriving arts scene. We get legitimate music acts at The Blue Note and MoJo's (technically called Rose Music Hall now but I don't care) and our brewery (Broadway) may not be as good as Tallgrass, but at least it's downtown, a short walk from campus. If you come in March, the True/False Film Festival attracts a legitimately impressive list of documentary filmmakers.

Shakespeare's Pizza and Booche's (burgers) offer great places to eat/drink, plus we've got a place called Trops where you can get your high alcohol content flavored liquor drink in a styrofoam cup -- like an adult. Tailgating is solid in the parking lots on campus and the bars like Harpo's are close enough we can carry the goalposts to them if we ever get a big enough win. Except probably not anymore. But whatever.

Jon: And now, the big one. Pretend we're the Big 12 Board of Directors. How exactly are you going to pitch Mizzou's return?

Luke: Listen, you guys know you never wanted us to leave and you made yourselves feel better by saying we abandoned ship at the first sign of trouble. But the reality is almost any other school would have taken the same offer to make more money in what ESPN tells everyone is the nation's premier football conference.

Now we're willing to limp back in (though we're not going to apologize) to help make the Big 12 whole again, and obviously our location/market fit/whatever else is better than anything else you're going to get. We belong in this conference (unless the Big Ten wants us, of course) and you know it. Plus, you still play the Big 12 basketball tournament in our state. You don't want other conferences mocking you for playing in a state where none of your schools are, right?

Of course, this ignores the little fact that Kansas City is a KU and K-State town, but we'll let that slide. So what do y'all think? You want Mizzou to come home and restart the #UnholyAlliance? Or do you want Donald Trump to build a wall down Noland Road? (Not State Line Road, silly people. We have to keep Sprint Center, Arrowhead, and the K accessible.)