While the school remains conflicted about its place in the Big 12, SEC commissioner Mike Slive pretty much decided Missouri's short-term ambitions when he announced that his league likely will play with 13 teams until at least 2013.
"There are not any other institutions currently under consideration by SEC presidents and chancellors except Texas A&M," Slive repeated again on Tuesday.
As for "informal offers" to Missouri reported by two outlets, it probably comes down to semantics. Define informal. Were these bids made by SEC fans wearing jorts or the commissioner himself? Probably somewhere in between, but certainly not to the level of official consideration by the SEC.
Have there been back-channel communications between the SEC and Missouri? Almost certainly. But legally the SEC can't even hint at an interest in a 14th team. Look what happened to Texas A&M on Sept. 6. It wasn't until the Pac-12 turned down Oklahoma and Texas last week that A&M president R. Bowen Loftin felt comfortable enough to move to the SEC. In other words, when Baylor knew the Big 12 was going to survive there was no need to threaten legal action.
"[At that point], there's really no basis for litigation," Loftin said.
The Show-Me State is in a state of limbo. For the second consecutive year, it has hiked its skirt and flirted a new conference. For the second consecutive year, it could be embarrassed. While that situation could change in 15 minutes, Missouri is in much the same situation it was in June 2010 -- hoping for, but conflicted about taking a lifeline out of the Big 12.
Read between the lines. What's the rush for the SEC? It can play with 13 teams for a couple of years. Who knows if some better school shakes loose? The Big 12 is a daily soap opera. Who knows who is going to be upset tomorrow?
Slive did admit that he has spoken to Loftin about making A&M's first SEC game possibly a stand-alone affair on a special day or at a special time. Think of perhaps Labor Day night Texas A&M vs, maybe, Alabama in a celebration of Bear Bryant? Just speculating.
It's been discussed before but Slive also said there would be discussions about rescinding the two-team limit per conference for BCS bowls. Now that the SEC is the first major conference to grow to 13, it may think it deserves more BCS access.
"There are several issues important enough to have serious discussion," Slive of the BCS going forward. "That would be one of them."
Will Lyles could be the most significant figure of the 2011 season.
The notorious mentor/talent scout/rat now holds the fate of several teams. Lyles told Yahoo! Sports that former Tennessee assistant Willie Mack Garza sent paid for the airfare of Lache Seastrunk for unofficial visit.
Several things wrong with that: A school can't pay for unofficial visits. That's why they're unofficial. Garza resigned at USC within a couple of days of Lyles speaking to the NCAA on Aug. 30 in Los Angeles. Oh, and Tennessee just got hit with NCAA penalties, among them "failure to monitor."
The football program got off relatively unharmed when the NCAA penalized Tennessee in August. The NCAA might not be so forgiving if major infractions are found so close together.
The question is, who's next? There's been a buzz since that NCAA sit-down that Lyles has dropped a dime on several schools. In the short term, LSU and Oregon should be concerned. Perhaps Cal as well.
The foundation of this story is an NCAA determined to stamp out third-party influence in college football. Lyles, it seems, has turned state's evidence. All Ohio State did was get to a BCS bowl while its coach intentionally allowed ineligible players to participate. Oregon reportedly asked Lyles to assemble a national recruiting package on fly.
What's worse? I'd be way more worried at Tennessee, LSU, Cal and Oregon.
There has been this rumbling that Texas A&M is making a horrible mistake going to the SEC.
That it is going to be overwhelmed by ES-EE-SEE footbawl. That is has no idea what it is getting into.
A&M is as committed a football school as there is. I toured the A&M facilities Saturday before the Oklahoma State game and came away impressed. The school's total athletic infrastructure may be better than anything in the SEC. There are fans, I'm told, who park their RVs near the football stadium before the season and don't leave until the last pitch is made in baseball in the spring. That's loyalty.
A&M's one football conference title since the beginnng of 1998, is exactly two less than Ole Miss, Mississippi State, Kentucky, Vanderbilt, Tennessee and Georgia combined in that same time span.
There is no question the Aggies can compete in, and win, the SEC. Here is how I would rate a 13-team SEC in current strength of football program. I'm talking everything, on the field, facilities, recruiting, fans, fund-raising.
The threat of lightning can postpone a game but when lightning actually strikes, the score stands.
Lightning struck Saturday when Big East officials totally botched that extra point in the Toledo-Syracuse game. The clearly errant Syracuse extra point was ruled good, probably costing Toledo a victory.
Toledo and MAC officials protested but NCAA rules are clear: Once a game is over, it's over. That didn't come into effect a couple of weeks ago in that Utah-USC game.
Here's a solution in such games when officials clearly cost a deserving team a chance at victory (Also see The Fifth Down Game):
Declare the result vacated. In other words, the stats count by Syracuse and Toledo don't get credit for a win or a loss. Just vacations, same as at Florida State, Alabama and USC for NCAA transgressions, the games simply don't count.
If one or both teams finish 5-6, they would both automatically be bowl eligible (at 6-6). It seems to be the fair thing to do. The screwed team doesn't get a loss and the team that benefits doesn't get a win. Just a thought.
Extending my screed against boards of regents/curators, we give you these brief bios of the Missouri board of curators. These may be the seven people who will decide whether Missouri goes to the SEC.
Warren Erdman -- appointed in 2007 by then governor Matt Blunt. Erdman is executive vice president of administration and corporate affairs for Kansas City Southern. The transportation holding company has investments in the United States, Mexico and Panama.
David Bradley -- was appointed in 2009 by current governor Jay Nixon. Bradley is president of the News-Press & Gazette in St. Joseph.
Don Downing -- appointed in 2009 by Nixon. Attorney who is a former managing general partner of Stinson, Morrison, Hecker in St. Louis and is Missouri's former chief deputy attorney general.
Wayne Goode -- appointed in 2009 by Nixon. A retired former Missouri senator and state representative.
Donald Cupps -- appointed this year by Nixon. Senior partner at Ellis, Cupps and Cole.
Judith Haggard -- appointed in 2007 by Blunt. A family nurse practitioner and drug abuse counselor.
David Steward -- appointed this year by Nixon. Deep breath here, kids. Steward is chairman and founder of World Wide Technology of St. Louis, a leading systems integrator that provides technology products, services and supply chain solutions to customers around the globe.