Missouri to SEC: 7 Major Changes for Mizzou Tiger Football in the 2012 Season
Missouri football fans are ready to enter a new realm of excitement in the 2012 season, as the Tigers will be competing in a new conference for the first time since 1907. Major changes are in store for Mizzou, which one can now call "SEC Country."
The idea of tinkering with tradition is never embraced upon first glance. Traditions are points of pride within alumni of any school, and messing with them can cause some serious backlash.
But traditions are a reflection of the culture, and in Columbia, Mo., the culture has already taken a big-time shift. The new traditions will simply reflect this.
Some of these changes will be viewed more severely than others. Not all of these changes will make everyone happy. But as a new generation of students, fans and ultimately prosperity enter Tiger Nation, embracing change will be essential.
Missouri football is ready to shed the stigmas of the past, mostly related to their inability to win the big games.
We'll now examine seven major changes that will help create a new atmosphere, and hopefully a new element to the tradition: winning.
Don't Think You're Getting Back in
Depending on who you're asking, this could be either the biggest change, or one that doesn't matter. In any event, no one who leaves the stadium during the game will be allowed to enter again.
The rule is in effect for an obvious reason: to keep violence and general mischievous activity to a minimum by not allowing fans to leave and drink alcohol during halftime.
For those who have become accustomed to leaving the stadium for an adult beverage, this change will be very hard. Missouri already does not sell alcohol inside the stadium, and now enforcing this well-established SEC rule may have some fans drinking more beforehand to compensate.
All in all, it should create a much more friendly atmosphere for families and visiting fans alike. It may not be viewed as a popular decision, but I think keeping the people turned off who are all about the alcohol, and getting the actual sports fans more involved, will work to everyone's benefit.
Gettin' all Swagged Out
In this now-infamous video of former Missouri standout Jeremy Maclin's reaction to seeing the new Nike uniforms, a lot can be uncovered about the design.
First, the dazzling new color created by Nike specifically for Missouri athletics known as "Mizzou Gold" is finally revealed. The new color will replace "Old Gold" and bring on the first ever season of new official colors.
By pausing the video at certain points, you can see blurred and incomplete images of the new uniforms. Perhaps the most exciting of these still shots is one that shows a full-body shot that includes the new helmet design.
The new design is hidden well in the distortion, but with the area it takes up, as well as the indication from athletic director Mike Alden that the new design will focus more on the Tiger logo, it can be likely assumed that an all-Mizzou Gold logo will be present on at least one side of the helmet.
This has been the most difficult element of change for many alumni, as seeing the block-style "M" on the side of the helmet removed has changed something that is as old as anyone can remember.
But let's not forget that Missouri isn't recruiting alumni to win championships. The kids who are being recruited, and their take on something that is cool and edgy, will help Mizzou stay in the spotlight of today's changing culture.
Visiting Fans Like You've Never Seen
The norm in the past for visiting fans has been pretty tame, save for Nebraska. From now on, though, it's going to feel like Nebraska is playing in Columbia every time there is a home game for Mizzou.
The athletic department has recognized this as well, upping the allotment of tickets for visiting fans from 3,800 to 6,000, which is actually right on par with the rest of the SEC schools.
At first glance, Missouri fans might not care much for this, but they should. The main benefit is obvious: More visiting fans at the game means more money for local businesses.
And if you think this move to the SEC isn't 100 percent about money in the end, you're not paying enough attention.
The other benefit that may not be so obvious will be the Missouri fan's desire to show up and act like they've been this driven about attending football games their entire lives. Watching the cultures of the midwest and south mesh together will be interesting, to say the least.
New Field Surface and Design
Say goodbye to the letters of Missouri presented inside the diamond shapes in each end zone. The design, which has been in place for almost two decades, will be done away with in favor of the word "Mizzou" on either end of the field—still, however, in diamonds.
In addition to this new design, which has not yet been revealed to the public, the material surface of the field will also be changed out.
The Tigers have played on the same artificial FieldTurf surface since its installation in 2000, which replaced the natural grass.
Tougher Price to Pay
No one will like this one except the university.
Ticket prices are set to balloon. As if the new television rights deal isn't going to be enough, prices to go to the game are going to be set at about the middle of the pack in the SEC.
But with Missouri planning to spend $65 million dollars—one of the lower-tier budgets in the SEC—on athletics during the 2012 year, fans are going to expect something in return.
Maybe a round of stadium renovations would be nice. The stadium's small seating capacity has already been the number one criticism from most SEC fans.
Strike up the band...a little more over that way.
Marching Mizzou has sat and played in the middle of the south end zone seating for some time. This will all change in 2012.
The band will now be seated in the lower south end of the east stands. This move is not only to create additional prime seating, but to allow sound to travel throughout the stadium rather than out the open north end, which the band previously faced.
New uniforms will not only be for the team, but for the band, as pictured above at a St. Patrick's Day parade in Ireland.
The move will also enable to band to reach the field more quickly in preparation for their halftime performances.
Now that Missouri has gotten their wish of being associated with a more financially inclusive conference, the only thing left to dream about is more seats.
In 1978, the south end zone stands were added, which upped the capacity by 10,800 seats. The next phase of Missouri's adventure will, according to Mike Alden, include stadium expansion.
This is another subject that has nothing official out in the public eye, but Alden has alluded directly to this, saying, "We must continue to progress with our facilities."
Rumors about what could happen have been everything from adding 2,000 seats in the south end zone, to tearing parts of the hill on either side of the rock "M" and adding permanent seating.
"You will see us introducing our next phase of capital improvements in the near future, and the costs associated with those will be well worth the investment," Missouri athletic director Alden said in his statement.