The SEC stands a lot to gain with each new member they add as long as they do so carefully. Obviously they don’t want to dilute their product, so you won’t see them adding a school that’s not well-rounded. The SEC is the premiere conference in the country, so clearly they can name their price. And that price is going to include new television markets and great all-around athletic programs.
Missouri has been seen as a good fit here for the SEC since they’re already shopping into the aisle known as the Big 12’s cadaver. Texas A&M already officially joined and gives the SEC a nice step into Texas and expands the conference’s reach in a westward direction. Missouri would do the same to the northwest and bring St. Louis and Kansas City into the market picture.
But is this worth it for the Missouri Tigers? In the Big 12, they’re a top 25 team in both basketball and football and have developed an obvious identity and recruitment ability. When they hit the SEC, the positives look beautiful on paper. The quality of recruits can go through the roof when you’re pitching to someone that you’re a part of this elite conference filled with TV appearances and notoriety. The university itself also takes on a higher profile and could profit from the new ties in the SEC.
But will it also hurt the athletic product on the field? Is Missouri capable of withstanding an SEC-like schedule when the Big 12 has some obvious holes despite also having the top ranked team in the nation? For every Oklahoma, there’s an Iowa State. For every Texas, there’s a Kansas State. The SEC is a bit more loaded top to bottom, depending on how the conference aligns itself when everything is said and done.
The Tigers have some choices ahead of them before automatically saying yes to a conference like the SEC. Will it hurt their ability to compete and/or recruit? Should they wait for a possible overture from the Big Ten? These questions aren’t so easily (or quickly) answered.