Mizzou is likely as good as gone from the Big 12, with chancellor Brady Deaton stepping down as chairman of the Big 12 and the Board of Curators (read: regents) authorizing him to explore the university's options. Today's announcement is kind of like a coach who says "I'm not going to comment on that" or "I'm happy where I am" but doesn't say "I am not a candidate for that position." Gone. But we could be wrong. (We doubt it.) Look for this to quickly turn to Mizzou accepting an invitation as the SEC's 14th team and joining the Aggies in perpetual football mediocrity.
Make that, continuing to join the Aggies in perpetual football mediocrity. We obviously don't get it--why go to a new conference just when this one is giving you what you want in terms of equal revenue sharing, you've built some success in this conference, and you will likely be overwhelmed on the field in the other conference? A&M has been a middling Big 12 team for most of its time in the league and will continue to be a middling SEC team. It's hard for us to imagine that in Missouri's case this won't push them further out to the margins than they already are in football, and in basketball it will lower their profile--not raise it.
Regardless, much like A&M the decision has probably been made, whether it's actually in the best interests of the institution or not. They'll miss their rivalry with Kansas, but forget not that it was Mizzou that largely started all this mess last summer by making eyes at the Big Ten and then getting embarrassingly rejected. So, off they go. We wish them luck.
What will this mean for the Big 12 when it inevitably happens? Well, it actually in all likelihood sounds the death knell for the Big East. This will take the SEC off the table for West Virginia, which makes it more likely the 'Neers will express interest in joining a revamped Big 12 with a more socialist television rights deal. The Big 12 still needs to decide whether it wants 10 or 12 teams, but assuming it ends up wanting 12 then Louisville and West Virginia both look likely to receive offers. All this is speculation, of course; but that would be exceedingly problematic for the Big East as a football conference, especially if TCU came to the Big 12 as well.
Also: OU sucks. It' still Hate Week, and the 2011 football season is still way more interesting than speculation about future conference affiliation. As such, we recommend you just remember OU sucks and don't worry about all this foolishness anymore.