There’s a certain former Big 12 team that many of us cannot wait to see Texas play again, but it’s certainly not the Horns’ actual 2017 bowl opponent, Missouri. For the last few seasons, Texas and Texas A&M have flirted with rekindling pleasantries during the bowl season, but the current excuse is that officials don’t want the rivalry renewed in a glorified exhibition.
So it’s Mizzou that will have us harkening back to the Big 12 of yesteryear.
It’s not like this series is completely without heat of its own, though.
After the Aggies and Tigers left the Big 12, former Texas athletic director DeLoss Dodds had the slickest burn when he bigtimed Mizzou with this barb.
We're going to have good years again. Our bad years are not that bad. Take a school like Missouri. Our bad years are better than their good years. But we've created a standard.
More on that comment in a moment.
Missouri was a charter member of both the Big 12 and one of its predecessor leagues.
The formation — and later dissolution — of the Big Eight conference serves as a bedrock of Texas and Missouri hostility. This isn’t a series with much animus on the field, but it’s festered in the boardroom.
Missouri was a charter member of the league that would become the Big Eight. In 1981, the Big Eight and other leagues signed their own television deal in defiance of the NCAA. The governing body threatened sanctions, and Georgia and Oklahoma sued for the right to negotiate television rights. They won, and it ushered in the era of conferences negotiating TV rights by themselves.
By the mid-90s, the Big Eight had aligned with the Texas-based members of the now-defunct Southwest Conference to create the Big 12, packaging TV rights and following the SEC and Big Ten in cashing out.
And TV ended up helping to split the Big 12 apart.
Big 12 member schools agreed to a revenue distribution plan that gave schools that are on TV more a bigger share of the pie. That means a school like Texas would earn more than a Missouri, with UT also adding Longhorn Network money to its pile. The conference did this to keep its big guns from leaving, but it was messy, sowing the seeds for Missouri and Texas A&M to leave for the SEC.
That’s exactly what both schools did in 2011.
Money talks, and the Tigers listened. On their way out, interim Big 12 commissioner Chuck Neinas called their decision to leave the league “very selfish.”
It was also around that time that Dodds took to blaming Mizzou for the whole situation, according to former Tigers AD Mike Alden:
When all this was going on, there was one athletic director in particular, I can’t remember what school it was, but it’s in Austin. Anyhow, I heard a guy in that chair, he just started flipping out—flipping out is probably too strong a term, but he got pretty agitated, this person—and started dropping expletives about this and firing them kind of at us, at Mizzou, because Mizzou was rumored maybe the Big Ten is looking.
Since Dodds made those comments, by the way, Missouri’s won two SEC East titles.
Texas, meanwhile, has to beat Mizzou in order to secure its first winning season since 2013.