Headlinin’: Missouri braces for the SEC plunge

Dr. Saturday

Making the morning rounds.

Let's do this, part one. To no one's surprise — least of all its current conference mates in the Big 12 — Missouri has reportedly decided to follow Texas A&M's lead by formally applying for membership to the SEC. The withdrawal process likely begins when the university's board of curators meets on Thursday and Friday in Kansas City. According to one anonymous official who spoke to the New York Times, the Tigers' departure is "inevitable and imminent"; according to another, "I'm 100 percent sure we're going to the SEC."

Presumably, Mizzou's not willing to put itself out on that kind of limb without at least a wink-wink-nudge-nudge acknowledgement from the SEC that its application is likely to be accepted, thereby swelling the league's ranks to 14 and reducing the Big 12 to just nine after TCU joins the fold next year. The Tigers allegedly had an informal SEC invite in hand last month, contingent on the pending crack-up of the Big 12, and were the only ones who refused to pledge solidarity to a slightly reformed Big 12 after an Oklahoma/Texas bid to flee to the Pac-12 fell apart for the second year in a row. There's no question they'll jump at the invite if it comes. But there may still be a little convincing to do in the SEC before that happens. [PowerMizzou.com, Orangebloods.com, Kansas City Star, New York Times]

Let's do this, part two. Elsewhere, the Big East began its march toward doubling its current size by voting to double its current exit fee for football members from $5 million to $10 million, laying the groundwork for expected invitations to Central Florida, Houston and SMU in all sports and Air Force, Boise State and Navy for football only. That may be stretching the definition of "East" past its breaking point, but at this point — on the heels of losing Pitt and Syracuse to the ACC — an existing conference is an existing conference. And if Boise State is part of that conference, its automatic BCS bid (along with the full-fledged payout that comes with it) is likely safe for the foreseeable future.

First item on the agenda: Houston, which was reportedly extended an official invitation on Monday night and will send reps to New York to seal the deal. [Associated Press, CBSSports.com, Houston Chronicle].

. Colorado cousins Rodney Stewart and Douglas Rippy both suffered significant knee injuries in Saturday's loss against Stanford, in Rippy's case costing him the rest of the season with a torn ACL. Stewart, already well over 1,000 all-purpose yards for the second year in a row, is expected to miss at least four games with a sprain, possibly putting him back on the field in time to close out an underrated career against Arizona, UCLA and Utah — likely the only games remaining on the schedule the 1-6 Buffs have any realistic shot at winning. [Boulder Daily Camera]

In other injury news… N.C. State is redshirting 2010's leading rusher, Mustafa Greene, due to a foot injury. [Raleigh News & Observer] … Iowa State has ruled out starting tailback Shontrelle Johnson for the rest of the season due to a neck injury that's already cost him the last two games. [Associated Press] … Auburn hopes to get starting receiver Emory Blake back this weekend at LSU. [al.com] … And Utah safety Keith McGill will undergo season-ending surgery on his shoulder, forcing the Utes to move linebacker Brian Blechen — a freshman All-American last year as a safety — back to the secondary. [Salt Lake Tribune]{YSP:MORE}

In his dreams, the world is incredibly boring. Ole Miss coach Houston Nutt, now the owner of the longest SEC losing streak in school history at nine games, admitted Monday he sometimes wakes up in the middle in the night worrying about getting "a perfect week" in the midst of a slump that's more than likely going to cost him his job. "It's not fun," Nutt said. "Winning is how you spell fun. You can imagine that it's not a good feeling because you want to win. That's all you try to do each and every Saturday, and it's difficult."

Nutt has also dismissed wide receiver Melvin Harris, the seventh Rebel player hit with a suspension, dismissal or season-ending injury in less than a week. [Clarion Ledger]

Nothing to see here. Washington quarterback Keith Price is off to a fantastic start in his first season as a starter. But the U-Dub compliance would appreciate it if he watched the clichés, please:

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That's a funny, totally innocent and inconsequential slip. Mind if the NCAA takes a look at your bank statements real quick? [q13fox.com via CFT]

Quickly… North Carolina loses a starting linebacker to (altogether now) an unspecified violation of team rules. ... San Diego State's former president says college football has reached a crisis point, and the BCS must evolve or die. … Jesse Scroggins, a preseason injury casualty, is working his way back into the mix on USC's quarterback depth chart. … An Oklahoma fan gets an extra sack added to Corey Nelson's total. … Brady Hoke actually has to specify that Denard Robinson is still Michigan's starting quarterback. … And Todd Monken called his parents to remind them to watch him get bleeped more than 20 times on national television. He hasn't heard from them since.

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Matt Hinton is on Facebook and Twitter: Follow him @DrSaturday.

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