Missouri Football: Move to SEC Masks Larger Problem at Hand

Brian LendinoCorrespondent IINovember 7, 2011

COLUMBIA, MISSOURI - OCTOBER 23: Missouri Tigers fans swarm the field after upsetting the Oklahoma Sooners at Faurot Field/Memorial Stadium on October 23, 2010 in Columbia, Missouri.  The Tigers beat the Sooners 36-27.  (Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images)
Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images

It's official. Finally.

After weeks of flirting with one another, the SEC has finally accepted Missouri into its proud family and the crowds in Columbia couldn't be more excited.

For the most part, at least.

As I mentioned, the overall response to the move has been positive. Support groups have lined social media outlets for weeks now, as well as a strong base in the student body. People were ready for a change and ready to remove themselves from the stranglehold that Texas has gripped on the entire Big 12.

However, some aren't so enthused.

Down-homers are livid at the eventual end to Kansas and Missouri's storied rivalry. Those who claim to be old enough to remember when the games were good say that the athletic department is simply being money-hungry and myopic.

There are many who are weary simply because they watched an over-hyped game between LSU and Alabama. They don't quite understand that just because the SEC is the best at the top, doesn't mean the competition level is the same way throughout.

Missouri is prepped to become the seventh member of the SEC Eastern division, joining the division's more "easterner" members Vanderbilt, Kentucky, South Carolina, Florida, Tennessee and Georgia. A move that will help ease the Tigers into the conference rather than throw them to the wolves of the West.

I can tell you that Missouri at 4-5 is already in better shape overall than three of those eastern teams and are comparable to the Florida Gators. 

All is well and good in the state of Missouri following the news of the Tiger's recent nuptials.

But have the Tigers honestly forgotten the rest of this season because their eyes are so clouded with tailgate smoke and southern-style living?

Last time I checked this team is still 4-5 on a season in which they were thought to compete. Hell, what's a bowl game at this point?

Bowl eligibility is looking as bleak as ever and the Tiger faithful are more concerned with what is going to happen in July of 2012.

Athletic Director Mike Alden has a slew of issues on his desk and one of them is Gary Pinkel. The man has been a great coach for the Tigers and his 10-year tenure would be tied for the longest in the SEC, but he is growing increasingly inept at managing his quarterback and the secondary can't seem to stop a Pop Warner team.

The SEC is salivating at the thought of taking on this current Tiger team next year because they are incapable of showing up on the big stage. They continue to arrive unfocused and it shows more then ever with how Missouri as a school is handling the SEC announcement.

Well, news flash Tigers: Week-in and week-out we consider SEC conference games to be games set for the "big stage."

If you take one thing from this, let it be this. I don't think the Tigers will be the laughing stock of SEC football—Kentucky claims that one—but they have a lot of work to do both on the field and as a fan base.

But if the school wants to quiet the SEC haters there is only one true way to start. 

Stop prancing around like you've just won the lottery and beat Texas.

Because after all, that is why you left the Big 12, isn't it.