Before Missouri and Kansas kick off Saturday, fans of both shows should give a quick thanks to Southeastern Conference Commissioner Greg Sankey.
This should be easy for those who wear black and gold. Sankey’s predecessor and mentor Mike Slave helped Mizzou get the Big 12 in SEC before the old league of the Tigers turned into chaos. Sankey was a constant defender of Mizzou during his time in the big chair. The most recent example came last week, when he forcefully dismissed the harmful speculation that tiger leopards may be in danger of being processed at some point in the SEC’s future. Mizzou has to worry about how to catch up and keep up with the growing. It is not necessary to eat an incoming net to pull it out.
Purple-clad fans probably don’t think as much of Sankey. That is understandable. His sudden catch of the Big 12 in Oklahoma and Texas has made the future of the Big 12 something uncertain, and Kansas State could be affected by the fallout going forward.
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But as these two former conference opponents evoke old memories, the work that Sankei and others have done to get the next expansion of the college football game across the goal line should be celebrated. by Mizzou. by K-State. By any program proud exists outside the inner circle of elite college football. This game is a good example of why the 12-team picture is so much better.
“We designed and presented an effective plan for the shape of my future,” Sanke said during his first week trip to Mizu. “Not everyone agreed. We’ll see if there’s a point people agree on.”
They did. finally. Luckily. The 12-team plan that has since been approved and is due to be operational no later than 2026 – hopefully earlier – looks broadly similar to the one Sankey championed more than a year ago. You have to try really hard to find reasons why you don’t like this transformation. Especially if you care about programs like Mizzou and K-State.
Signs of rising waters for both teams were determined (at least for now) by the right coach who captures something special but at the same time is constrained by a difficult, low dividing ceiling. Imagine if Gary Pinkel and Bill Snyder had taken shots in a 12-team playoff.
A Sports Illustrated cover in 2007 featuring Tigers quarterback Chase Daniel—”Mizzou, That Who”—was not to eliminate the top-ranked team’s chances of competing for a national championship in a hit-and-fail test against Oklahoma in the league title game. A playoff game on the field against Arizona State and all the intrigue it presented was waiting for the Tigers.
Blaine Jabert’s 2010 Tigers had taken an underdog shot at Andrew Luck Stanford on the road.
One of the most exciting games Mizzou has played since entering the SEC, a heartbreaking home overtime loss to South Carolina in 2013, would get CoMo’s well-deserved rematch, with everything at stake.
If the 12-team format had been in place since the start of the BCS era (1998) the Tigers would have made it three times with two close strides in 2008 and 2014.
As for Kansas? eight times. That’s more than Clemson and one less than Notre Dame. Snyder is often accurately referred to as the underappreciated college football coach. This format would spread the word.
These days, giving programs outside of Alabama and Ohio state legitimate hope in the final is a good thing. Giving players fewer reasons to opt out of what has come to be seen as mostly meaningless pot games is a good thing. Giving fans play-offs at home is the best of the good.
Coaches will figure out another method for expulsion; Getting into Sagittarius will be an anticipation for some, the loss of which becomes a mistake worthy of possession. Those who like to argue against players getting paid – not just by name, image and likeness deals but by the schools they represent on the field – have lost more ground because of the money that the expanded tranche will create. The biggest losses he will incur will be from those who insisted this wasn’t the right way to go, whether it was to protect the integrity of the regular season or some other situation that would soon be over.
None of us — well, at least none of us enjoy college basketball — tune in to the big hoops games of the regular season because we know teams can virtually end up meeting again in the NCAA Championship. And we all go crazy in March. why? Well, for one reason: it lets more than one Bluebloods dream big.
Mizzou’s Eli Drinkewitz and Kansas State’s Chris Kleiman can’t be Pinkle and Snyder. They know what’s possible in their shows, because of what Hall of Fame coaches have accomplished under an unforgiving separating ceiling. Ups soon.