Missouri officially announced its departure to the SEC on Sunday, and on Monday, coaches across the Big 12 weighed in with their thoughts. Here's what they had to say:
Texas coach Mack Brown:
"I felt like each school should do what’s best for them. It’s their right, and the rules were in place that you could choose the conference you wanted, so congratulations to Missouri and I’m excited that there will be a Big 12 moving forward, but I have not been a person who is angry at somebody who is doing something that they feel like is best for them. At Texas, we do what’s best for us, and I think it’s great for Missouri to get their wish and move forward."
Yes, Texas most definitely does do what's best for it. Fortunately for the Big 12, that's kept the league alive in recent years. Missouri's exit, though, doesn't have much effect on the Longhorns in any way, really.
Kansas coach Turner Gill, asked simply for his thoughts, went out of his way to make a statement.
I would just kind of make one little statement. I don't see us playing them in the future. I think the rivalry for Kansas and Missouri is something that belongs in the Big 12 Conference.
Call it petty if you must, but I can't blame Gill for falling in line with what KU has said all along. It's what he should do at this point. He'll earn a few points from the fan base for the strong stance, and Texas already set this precedent for doing the exact same thing to Texas A&M.
Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops:
Best of luck, and we’ve got two good teams right now and maybe more that are on their way in. So, we’ll keep playing ball here, too.
I wouldn't read too much into Stoops' comments regarding future expansion. I think he's just referencing the fact that you can't rule out future expansion and a move from 10 teams to 12 for the Big 12.
Oklahoma State coach Mike Gundy:
"I hate to see anybody leave our league. I’ve been a pretty strong proponent of the Big 12 for months now, since conference realignment has started. I hate to see anything that’s been a part of tradition and history in the Big 12 and what would be Big Eight football go away. But I don’t think it makes any difference at this point. It’s obviously history with those two schools. We have to be excited about TCU and West Virginia and the future of the Big 12."
Gundy, an Oklahoma State lifer from the Big Eight era, has been among the most nostalgic about Mizzou's exit since it first became a possibility. That's not changing any time soon. He's played and coached against Mizzou for a long time. It looks like that's coming to an end.
Only one man has been more nostalgic than Gundy, and that's Kansas State coach Bill Snyder.
It’s disappointing. I’m a traditionalist, appreciated the fact they were with us for so long. Disturbed, I guess, might be somewhat of an appropriate word. Each school has to do what they feel is in their very best interest, but I’m disappointed that they will not with us, but the bottom line is you have to move on.
Sheesh. Hearing Snyder talk in hushed tones about Missouri leaving the league is only slightly less depressing than an Elliott Smith album.
Missouri coach Gary Pinkel, an outspoken critic of the Big 12, declined to make any significant comment about the move.
"Our administration and university leadership, they made a decision that was in the best interest of the University of Missouri and state of Missouri long-term, which I fully support and we’re excited about. At the end of the season, I’ll be happy to discuss it further. For now, the focus is everything on Texas."
Texas Tech coach Tommy Tuberville, on the addition of West Virginia:
"I would have much rather Missouri stayed in. I think they fit more of what all of us are about in terms of the region, just better watercooler talk when you're playing fans of teams that are a little bit closer to you. But West Virginia will be fine, TCU I think is a good addition."
So, how will the Tigers do in their new league?
"They'll be able to compete. You hear all this about how strong the league is, but every year in every league, you're going to have 4-5 very good teams, and you're going to have a rotation of teams losing seniors, losing guys and they're not going to be as strong. In the SEC, there's 3-4 teams every year that's going to be strong. I think you can pretty much nail those. The rest of them, you try to work your recruiting around trying to hit that one year when you're going to be able to compete for a championship, or two years in a row. But over there, it's just so hard to compete year in, year out because recruiting is so tough. But they'll be able to compete. They'll be in the upper echelon of that league. Just watching, I've heard a lot of people say that they won't, but they will be. Them and A&M both will be very competitive and will be very successful in the SEC."
Do you agree?