Chuck Neinas questions departures of Nebraska, Missouri

It’s a full decade since Missouri and Texas A&M left the Big 12 for the SEC, moves that came one year after Nebraska and Colorado left for the Big Ten and Pac-12 in 2011, respectively. And the departures by Nebraska and Missouri for what they saw as greener pastures is one that still puzzles former Big Eight and Big 12 interim commissioner Chuck Neinas.

Neinas, spoke with The Dallas Morning News on the latest round of Big 12 realignment Oklahoma and Texas leave for the SEC no later than 2025 and made it clear he still does not agree with the Tigers and Huskers exiting the league. The two programs were part of the Big Eight, which Neinas led from 1971-1980, before becoming part of the Big 12 in 1996.

“The ones you gotta question (today) are Missouri and Nebraska,” Neinas told The News. “Do you know why Missouri is in the East and not the West? LSU and Alabama would not vote to take them unless they put them in the East. Who in the SEC cares about Missouri? And Nebraska’s program has gone south. Just think if Texas A&M and Nebraska and Missouri hadn’t left the Big 12. You can forget Colorado. Just think. Oklahoma and Texas probably would not be leaving now. ”

As Neinas alluded to, life in the SEC for Mizzou and life in the Big Ten – even if the paychecks are larger – has not yielded longterm success for either on the football field. Mizzou did win the SEC East in 2013 and 2014 but has not finished ranked or won a bowl game since that stretch. As for Nebraska, historically regraded as one of college football’s blue bloods, the Huskers have won five games or less every year since 2017 and haven’t finished ranked since 2013.

How the latest departing schools from the Big 12 fare once they enter the SEC remains to be seen, but there are reasons to believe the opening years of SEC membership could present hurdles. The Oklahoma Sooners, as it is, have plenty of unknowns right now as they launch the Brent Venables era this fall after Lincoln Riley left for USC.

Texas, meanwhile, has struggled to find its way into the past decade aside from a 10-win season in 2018. The Longhorns went 5-7 a year ago in their first year under coach Steve Sarkisian. And the competition will not get any easier in their new home, either.

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While those leave, four new schools will join the league in a move that will briefly bring the conference to 14 schools from 2023-24 before OU and Texas depart. Houston, BYU, Cincinnati and UCF all enter the conference in 2023. BYU is independent, while the other three join from the American Athletic Conference.

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