Missouri Tigers Still In The Big 12 Conference (Sort Of)
Don’t be surprised if it didn’t make the headlines, but the Missouri Tigers have joined the Big 12 again in 2021.
It took this writer nearly a year to notice it, but the Big 12 conference added the Missouri Tigers wrestling team as an affiliate member. Announced in April 2021, the Tigers have left the Mid-American Conference (MAC) for their old conference.
Affiliate schools make up the majority of wrestling schools in the Big 12. “Former members”Include the state of Iowa, Oklahoma, the state of Oklahoma and West Virginia. Missouri joined seven other affiliate teams to complete a 12-team conference, including Air Force, Northern Colorado, North Dakota State, Northern Iowa, South Dakota State, Utah Valley and Wyoming. Cal-Baptist will join as an Affiliate during the 2022-2023 school year.
“I never thought that coming back to the Big 12 would be a possibility for Mizzou”, Missouri wrestling coach Brian Smith added when the move was announced. “The Big 12 has an exceptional wrestling tradition; having the opportunity to return home is so special to our current and past student-athletes who helped make Tiger Style what it is today.
The Tigers left the Big 12 in 2012 on a positive note, winning their first Big 12 Conference tag team wrestling championship. Missouri then joined the MAC as an Affiliate and began a nine-year period of domination. They’ve won nine straight tag team titles, including the 2021 title when they scored a MAC tournament record of 188.5 points, 59.5 points ahead of second-place central Michigan. Missouri also recorded 40 individual conference champions, six tournament’s most notable wrestlers, six conference wrestler of the year winners and six freshman of the year winners at the MAC.
“Our nine years at MAC have been tremendous for Mizzou Wrestling as we competed at the highest level in program history with nine consecutive conference titles and placed in the Top 10 in seven NCAA Championships,” Smith said. “The MAC administrators and coaches are top notch people who have always been looking to develop the sport of wrestling, and I have enjoyed the opportunity to work with and compete with them over the years. “
It’s as if the Tigers have never left, as they are ranked 10th nationally, according to InterMat NCAA Division I rankings. Their 6-2 team record makes them the second-highest ranked team in the Big 12, behind third-placed Oklahoma State. Missouri are 4-0 squad against conference opponents so far and won’t face the Cowboys in a duel until February 6, 2022. The Tigers ended 2021 with a victory over Lehigh, 17th, finishing third in Collegiate Wrestling. Duels.
With wrestling barely filling winter TV shows, the Tigers kick off 2022 with the massive Southern Scuffle. One of the biggest annual events in varsity wrestling returns on January 1, 2022, and features the best programs from across the country. Fans can watch the entire meet on FloWrestling the first two days of 2022.