Taking a road trip through the SEC

How the Missourian's special section came to be
Monday, August 13, 2012 | 2:00 p.m. CDT; updated 12:07 p.m. CDT, Wednesday, August 22, 2012

It might be the biggest topic of conversation in town.

Missouri’s in the Southeastern Conference now. What do you think?

It is a major move. Moving from the Big Eight to the Big 12 wasn’t really a move, was it? It just meant adding a few new opponents.

But sliding into the SEC means adding ALL new opponents. The defending national champion Alabama Crimson Tide will be coming to Columbia this fall. Kansas will not — for only the second time since 1891 — be on Missouri’s schedule.

(The 1918 Missouri-Kansas football game was canceled due to a flu outbreak. The reason that there won’t be a 2012 Missouri-Kansas game depends on whom you ask.)

But back to the future. Missouri and Texas A&M are the 13th and 14th members of the SEC — a conference that produced the last six football NCAA National Champions.

(The list - Alabama, 2011; Auburn, 2010; Alabama, 2009; Florida, 2008; LSU, 2007 and Florida, 2006.)

Even so, the SEC is a neighborhood that most Missouri fans are unfamiliar with.

So we went for some visits. This spring, the Missourian sent reporters with notebooks and camera to every SEC city. The assignment was simple: Find out what it was like there. Emily Becker, Katy Bergen, Ben Frederickson, Harry Plumer, Tony Schick and Andrew Wagaman hit the road and checked out the towns and campuses.

Most made visits to two or even three of the SEC towns. They shot some guns, ate some crawfish, listened to the music and the stories. They stood in the shadow of Strom Thurmond’s statue, wandered through the Alabama football museum, looked at some alligators and visited William Faulkner’s  home.

They would want me to tell you that they had a blast.

But I’m pretty sure that you’ll see that in their stories and their snapshots.

Editor's note: This is part of the Missourian's "SEC Road Trip" special section.

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