Big Ten expansion candidate: Missouri

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March 31, 2014 | 2:16 am

The fifth installment in a series looking at 12 different universities that could potentially join the Big Ten

  • School: Missouri
  • Location: Columbia, Mo.
  • Enrollment: 30,200
  • Current league: Big 12 Conference
  • Number of sports offered: 20
  • Academic profile: Member of the Association of American Universities; 102nd in the U.S. News and World Report National Universities rankings
  • Why it would fit: Missouri might make more sense than any other candidate. The state includes two large metro areas within its borders and adds nearly 6 million people to the Big Ten's footprint. It's a member of the AAU and is the primary institution in the state. Missouri is geographically contiguous and borders two current Big Ten states (Iowa and Illinois). It has competed at high levels in both football and men's basketball within the last four years. State leaders expressed interest in the Big Ten concurrently with the league's plans to consider expansion.
  • Why it wouldn't: The athletics program has underachieved historically despite its massive reach in a populous state. It has the lowest ranking among all contenders by U.S. News and World Report.
  • Final verdict: It would be shocking not to see a larger Big Ten not include Missouri, especially if the league expands beyond one school. Missouri offers too much. If its athletics program ever gains consistency, watch out.
  • YouTube moment: Here's an all-access look behind the scenes at a Missouri Tigers basketball game

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