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Columbia Missourian

THE WEEK IN MISSOURI FOOTBALL: Exploring other options, another road loss

By Zach Miller
October 9, 2011 | 6:29 p.m. CDT
Linebacker Zaviar Gooden tackles Kansas State running back John Hubert in the fourth quarter of the Missouri game against Kansas State on Saturday. Hubert ran for 126 yards.

Conference realignment dominated the headlines last week before Missouri lost for the third time this season.

Exploring other options

On Tuesday, the UM System Board of Curators granted MU Chancellor Brady Deaton the power to explore other conference options for Missouri. The curators did not decide to commit to the Big 12, despite the efforts of other school presidents to hold the conference together.

If Deaton chooses to leave the Big 12, it appears that it would be to join Texas A&M in migrating from the Big 12 to the Southeastern Conference. The SEC has not publicly expressed an interest in Missouri, but Tennessee athletic director Dave Hart said he expects the SEC to add another school. The addition of Texas A&M leaves the SEC currently with 13 schools, an awkward number for scheduling purposes. A move to the SEC would be a big change for all Missouri sports, not just football.

Despite not getting a commitment from Missouri, the Big 12 made steps to move forward last week. The Big 12 board agreed to a six-year grant of television rights, making it more difficult for any school to leave the conference. The board also unanimously decided to begin negotiations to add Texas Christian University to the Big 12. TCU is expected to approve a move to the Big 12 this week. The Horned Frogs won the Rose Bowl last season and have won 48 games since the beginning of the 2007 season.

According to a CBS Sports report, the Big 12 also expressed interest in adding Air Force to the conference but was turned down. BYU, Louisville and West Virginia have also been mentioned as other possible Big 12 expansion candidates.

Another road loss

Coming off a bye week, the Tigers (2-3) suffered another disappointing road loss Saturday, this time a 24-17 defeat at the hands of No. 17 Kansas State (5-0).

Kansas State has had a lot of success running the ball this season, and the Missouri defense wasn't able to take that away. The Wildcats ran for 174 yards and scored all three of their touchdowns on running plays.

The Missouri offense didn't do its defense any favors, making mistakes and failing to convert on big plays. The Tigers only converted four of their 13 third-down attempts, and kicker Grant Ressell missed two field goals. Ressell has now missed six field goals this season after missing just three in the two previous seasons combined.

Missouri now has a losing record for the first time since Nov. 6, 2004.

Next up: Iowa State

All three of Missouri's losses this season have come on the road, while both wins have come at home. Fortunately, the Tigers return to the friendly Faurot Field on Saturday to face Iowa State (3-2). The game is at 1 p.m. as part of a full day of Homecoming festivities at MU.

Missouri has not lost to Iowa State since 2006 and has not lost a home game to Iowa State since 2001. The Tigers' all-time record against the Cyclones is 60-33-9.

Iowa State comes in on a two-game losing streak after losing to Baylor on Saturday. The Cyclones won their three games by a total of eight points, including a 44-41 overtime win against Iowa.