Mike Strange: SEC welcomes Mizzou, Aggies — for now

Mike Strange

As the SEC's final hours as a 12-team league play out, the focus has already shifted to a bigger and presumably better future.

Wednesday night the SEC threw a gala welcome for Texas A&M and Missouri in Atlanta. Coaches, officials and alumni of the SEC's new members whooped it up in Buckhead, complete with mascots.

You know Reveille and Truman, don't you? One's a real collie. The other is Tony the Tiger's cousin.

Reveille and Smoky will sniff each other out if Tennessee and A&M ever get around to a football game.

As for Truman, it's not as if the SEC needed another Tiger. At least Truman won't take your arm off if he gets a chance like LSU's Mike would.

Anyway, it was, by all accounts, quite a display of Southern hospitality.

"This is like walking into a bowl game,'' an Atlanta columnist quoted Aggie football coach Kevin Sumlin as telling basketball coach Billy Kennedy. "Or the Final Four.''

Which is an opening to pose the question:

When will the Aggies and Tigers ever get back to Atlanta for a football game?

The Chick-fil-A Bowl doesn't count.

When there's a ballgame involved, the Southern Hospitality is over.

Actually, the fresh faces didn't have to wait until September to find that out. LSU's women recently eliminated first the Aggies and then the Tigers from the NCAA softball tournament.

LSU won a Super Regional on Mizzou's home field. Even the Geaux Tiger fans left an impression with their intensity.

"For softball,'' Missouri AD Mike Alden told the Columbia Daily Tribune, "that was amazing to me.''

Wait until he gets a load of a football weekend.

It will be interesting to see how the Aggies and new Tigers fit in once the ball is in the air. Both have experienced big-time success and not just here and there.

Neither will finish last in their first SEC football season. Missouri will be all Tennessee can handle in Neyland Stadium on Nov. 10. The Tigers have an overwhelmingly winning record — 20-8-1 — against the SEC.

As to acclimating the new members, there have been hits and misses.

The SEC will hold its 2013 outdoor track meet at Missouri. However, neither Missouri nor Texas A&M were included in the next SEC/Big East Challenge in basketball. The omission was blamed on the Big East not committing enough teams.

Florida football coach Will Muschamp has been to A&M before, wearing Texas Longhorn gear. His recent quote at a Gator booster event went over well:

"Have you ever been to College Station? It'll be the only time you go.''

College Station mayor Nancy Berry replied with a video extolling the virtues of her fair city. This is relevant because Florida plays at A&M on Sept. 8.

Missouri probably had mixed feelings about this week's news that the SEC has re-connected with the Independence Bowl. The Tigers have played there three times in the past nine years.

So Shreveport is one place they'll feel at home.

Throwing another party in Atlanta? That's a different story.

Mike Strange may be reached at strangem@knoxnews.com. Follow him at http://twitter.com/strangemike44 and http://blogs.knoxnews.com/strange.

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Comments » 14

chuckfromwoodberry writes:

Two more teams vandy can't beat.

VolinCalif writes:

in response to chuckfromwoodberry:

Two more teams vandy can't beat.

Poor Ky.

VolinCalif writes:

But this will make Ky BBall look all the better.

fearthehound writes:

Two good teams coming into the league. A lot more SEC teams than Vandy and Kentucky should be a little worried--all sports.

Chappy writes:

Very snarky and condescending tone and attitude throughout this article.

BIVOLAR_BEARE writes:

in response to VolinCalif:

But this will make Ky BBall look all the better.

Why?
MIZZOU and A&M have decent BB and they are both solid in FB. Winning in either place on the road will be difficult.

rtrchatt writes:

Someone tell that 24/7 idiot WR to put his past yrs college fb predictions next to Phil Steel and let the comparison begin. WR writes a BIG game.... PS has forgotten more about college fb than this SA will ever know.

GONAVY writes:

in response to chuckfromwoodberry:

Two more teams vandy can't beat.

Such an enlightening, well thought out response. Vandy must have really gotten to your mind...which was a small, easy job.

GONAVY writes:

in response to fearthehound:

Two good teams coming into the league. A lot more SEC teams than Vandy and Kentucky should be a little worried--all sports.

Well said...

tovolny writes:

Mike, you do an excellent job. You, Griff, and Erin know what relating the sporting news is all about. If it wasn't for the pair of Jacks and John the Joker, you three ACES could probably win every hand. I appreciate you guys and your common sense approach. You three keep KNS afloat. Does Birmingham ever critique you guys? Does he even care?

GerryOP writes:

Here's how much respect the College Station mayor is showing for Little Willie! Gig 'em!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2FvvNM...

BIVOLAR_BEARE writes:

in response to GerryOP:

Here's how much respect the College Station mayor is showing for Little Willie! Gig 'em!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2FvvNM...

Muskrat may have opened a can of worms, and let me be the first to say (only when they are not playing the real UT) go Aggies!

chuckfromwoodberry writes:

in response to GONAVY:

Such an enlightening, well thought out response. Vandy must have really gotten to your mind...which was a small, easy job.

Navy, just a large collection of seamen.

ProfessionalHandicapper writes:

in response to chuckfromwoodberry:

Two more teams vandy can't beat.

It's a sad day when UT now has to be jealous of Vandy. We all know Vandy went to a Bowl with a new Qb and new coach, played in the NCAA Tourney and NCAA Baseball tourney while UT sat home in all three Mens sports. We also all know Vandy finished number 3 in the Nation last year at the World Series while Ut has not had a Top 3 team since Fulmer in 1998. We also know Vandy has crushed UT in combined wins the last two years in the big three mens sports by a 162-98 win total. We also know Vandy has NEVER lost to Austin peay twice in the same year. So basicly if Vandy cant beat them, UT sure cant beat them. The past is long gone, wake up and smell the real SEC. Only one school went to both conference Championship games this year (basketball and Baseball) and that one SEC school was VANDY!! And we won the SEC basketball Championship.. Hilarious!!

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