I think by now, I’ve labeled myself as a geography nerd by now but I also am a total junkie for college sports. The NCAA really should thank me for the amount of money I have spent on tickets to their sanctioned events but also on their licensed clothing. And this not only means Mizzou, but it also includes the list of Missouri State, Arkansas, Texas, Vanderbilt, Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Drury. Though I am a Tiger at the core, I would say that my utility as a fan spreads to different states and conferences. I feel like I’m not betraying my Tigers as long as I shout M-I-Z! at home, I am being true to my school.
The other day I was hanging out with some of my friends and was met with boos at the attire I had chose for a day. A maroon short-sleeve T that simply said “Missouri State Bears.” I was bombarded with questions such as, “Why?” “How could you?” and “Mo State sucks!” It’s hard to explain to people that I still have loyalty to my local university growing up in Springfield all my life and also having relatives who are alum. They seem to think that Missouri State has some rivalry with MU but really it can’t be compared to other state rivalries such as OU and OK State or Florida and Florida St.
Why not a rivalry? Because although it would break my father’s heart to say, MSU in no way compares to Mizzou. Let’s look at conferences. MU is a powerhouse. Though we regrettably hold no national championships we did just secure the top high school recruit in the nation and are entering a conference known for its high capacity stadiums, record winning seasons, and large fanbases. Missouri State is Division I – AA team in the Missouri Valley Conference where we face schools with student bodies of 8,000-15,000 and some schools don’t even have football teams in the conference. And even more importantly, Missouri State is terrible in football so there is no question as to who is the better school.
Conclusively, I stand behind the MSU Bears because I have some hometown pride and I know that in the end, I’m not putting apples versus oranges or apples versus bigger apples, but more apples versus apple seeds. So I will still wear my Missouri Gold and my Mo State maroon and know that I’m supporting all.
In addition, here is a lovely map that shows the geography of college football fandom: http://media.photobucket.com/image/recent/JimmyMB777/430080_10150670608363828_367033813827_10836198_245467878_n.jpg