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Missouri opens door to leave Big XII

The University of Missouri's Curators (equivalent to a Board of Trustees or a Board of Regents) met this afternoon and gave the green light for Missouri Chancellor Brady Deaton to "explore conference realignment options". If that wasn't telling enough, Deaton announced his resignation as the Chair of the Big XII's Board of Directors soon after the meeting.

That's all we know for sure at this point, but it is apparent that Missouri is taking serious steps towards leaving the Big XII. This has obvious implications for the SEC, as it is highly doubtful--and that's putting it mildly--that Missouri would be taking steps this bold without knowing they had a sure offer from a major conference elsewhere. That has all eyes, and most of the speculation, pointing toward the SEC. After all, it was reported a few weeks back by several outlets that the SEC was prepared to offer Missouri a position as its 14th team.

Nothing is certain at this point. It is still not certain that Missouri will leave the Big XII, though today's meeting certainly seems to be pushing them that direction. If they do leave, it is still not certain they will have a spot in the SEC, but again, given the previous reports of an offer and their willingness to leave the Big XII in the first place, you'd have to think that's where they're heading if they leave, unless the B1G has unexpectedly changed their minds about letting the Tigers in.

Again, nothing certain here, but Missouri to the SEC is coming ever closer to becoming reality. Such a move would obviously have huge implications for Alabama and the SEC for the long term future, but not only that, it could also directly impact the Tide's schedule as early as next year. If Missouri is to leave and come to the SEC, it will almost certainly be for next season, and their presence, like that of Texas A&M, would shape the divisional alignment and scheduling format for the SEC in 2012.

If anything becomes official, we'll provide additional updates, but for now it appears that the door has been left open for the SEC to pick up its 14th team in time for 2012.