Monday, July 2, 2012
What they're saying about league moves
By ESPN.com staff
It was a big weekend on the realignment front. Texas A&M and Missouri are officially in the SEC. TCU and West Virginia are officially in the Big 12. Here's a selection of what some folks had to say about the moves.
The Horned Frogs hosted a midnight party at Billy Bob's in Fort Worth to celebrate the occasion. Stefan Stevenson of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram was there:
“It’s been a long time coming, but tonight it’s a official,” (TCU athletic director Chris) Del Conte said from the stage. “We fought our way back, we earned our way back and today we’re in the Big 12.”
Big 12 commissioner Bob Bowlsby welcomed the Frogs from the stage and received a custom-made pair of Justin boots from Patterson and Del Conte.
“I had dinner with Coach Patterson tonight and he seems pretty intent upon keeping the run he’s had going these last few years,” Bowlsby told the crowd to cheers. “It’s all good and there’s a lot of good ahead. Welcome to the league.”
The move means more media coverage and and growth in facilities, writes the Star-Telegram's Brent Shirley.
"There have been a lot of discussions about the tier-three TV deals, whether or not we are going to have weekly coach radio shows and many other issues," (women's basketball coach Jeff) Mittie said. "None of those things have been finalized. But we are looking at every avenue."
TCU will also have to update its facilities. Amon G. Carter Stadium, where the Frogs' football team has made its mark, is nearing the end of its makeover, which includes two decks on the east side, a new north zone, new west decks with suites and media services, and large video boards.
Now, other facilities will require updates, starting with Daniel-Meyer Coliseum, where the basketball teams play.
The Big 12 released a video welcoming TCU and West Virginia to the league. TCU also released a pretty cool hype video about what the move means to the school and community.
Meanwhile, the SEC released a video of its own welcoming Missouri and Texas A&M.
The Kansas City Star's Kent Babb is a South Carolina grad, and introduced Missouri to what will await the school in its future.
Today is Day One. The next 364 or so will be about adjusting to an environment that, at least for a while, will seem over the top and strange. Maybe even a little intimidating.
“All the other fans — Auburn fans, Alabama fans, everybody, Tennessee, Georgia, right down the list — they’re looking at them, going, ‘What are these guys doing here?’ ” says Paul Finebaum, a radio host who has refereed SEC sports discussions for around 30 years. “Come on over here and let us indoctrinate you into the world of the SEC.”
You got yourself into this, Mizzou.
Meanwhile, on the other side of the state, Stu Durando of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch examines the effect the Big 12 had on the growth of Mizzou athletics.
But as the move neared, athletics director Mike Alden found it impossible not to give a final nod of gratitude to a 16-year relationship that crumbled in the last year.
"Where we are today is absolutely a direct result of the competition and type of institutions we were associated with," he said. "We’re better because of that and thankful for that type of opportunity.
"When we went into the Big 12, think about where we were ranking-wise across the board academically, financially, competitively and facility-wise. When we went into the Big 12, we were ill-prepared to compete."
Finally, David Harris of the Bryan-College Station Eagle names off the top 12 moments for Texas A&M in Big 12 history.
1. Champions at last
A&M was a decided underdog in the 1998 Big 12 Championship. Kansas State was ranked No. 2, undefeated, playing close to home and needing a win to secure a berth in the national championship game. The Aggies trailed 27-12 heading into the fourth quarter and looked beat. But with 5:40 remaining, replacement quarterback Branndon Stewart found Leroy Hodge for a 13-yard touchdown pass. Then A&M’s Warrick Holdman forced a Michael Bishop fumble, and with 1:05 remaining, Stewart found Sirr Parker for a 9-yard touchdown pass to bring A&M within two points. The Aggies connected again on the two-point conversion to force overtime. The teams traded field goals in the first overtime, and KSU kicked another one to start the second OT. Then on third-and-17, Stewart found Parker again, on a slant. Parker covered 32 yards, slipping inside the pylon to give the Aggies an unthinkable 36-33 victory and the Big 12 Championship.
Good stuff from a historic weekend around the landscape of college sports. Take some time and drink it all in.