Chuck Neinas questions Nebraska, Missouri departures

It’s been a full decade since Missouri and Texas A&M left the Big 12 for the SEC, moves that came a year after Nebraska and Colorado joined the Big Ten and Pac-12 in 2011. And the descents from Nebraska and Missouri to what they considered greener pastures is one that still baffles former interim commissioner of the Big Eight and Big 12, Chuck Neinas.

Nahas, talked to me The Dallas Morning News on the latest round of realignment of the Big 12 Oklahoma and Texas will go to the SEC by 2025 at the latest and made it clear that he still doesn’t agree with the Tigers and Huskers leaving the league. The two programs were part of the Big Eight, which Neinas led from 1971 to 1980 before becoming part of the Big 12 in 1996.

“The ones you have to question (today) are Missouri and Nebraska,” Neinas said The news. “Do you know why Missouri is on the east and not on the west? LSU and Alabama would not vote to take them in unless they bring them east. Who in the SEC cares about Missouri? And Nebraska’s program has gone awry. 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 wouldn’t go now.”

As Neinas alluded to, living in the SEC for Mizzou and living in the Big Ten — even if the paychecks are higher — haven’t delivered long-term success on the football field for either. Mizzou won the SEC East in 2013 and 2014, but has not finished rankings or won a bowl game since that stretch. As for Nebraska, historically ranked as one of college football’s blue bloods, the Huskers have won five games or fewer every year since 2017 and haven’t finished ranked since 2013.

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It remains to be seen how the schools that have recently left the Big 12 will fare after entering the SEC, but there is reason to believe that the early years of SEC membership could present hurdles. The Oklahoma Sooners have a lot of unknowns right now when they start Brent Venables era this fall after Lincoln Riley left for USC.

Texas, on the other hand, has struggled to find its way over the past decade aside from a 10-win season in 2018. The Longhorns went 5-7 in their freshman year under coach a year ago Steve Sarkisian. And the competition isn’t getting any easier in their new home either.

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As these go, four new schools will join the league to briefly bring the 2023-24 conference to 14 schools before OU and Texas depart. Houston, BYU, Cincinnati and UCF are all joining the conference in 2023. BYU is independent while the other three join from the American Athletic Conference.

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