In other words, I'm not sure any alarms should be going off about sagging attendance. Maybe 10,000 show up for Gonzaga on Tuesday. Truth is, this is a team that's been a lot of fun to watch so far, Thursday's loss notwithstanding.
"We've got great fans. There's just 4,000 of them,'' Huggins said the other night, trying to put a politically correct face on all those empty seats. "Some teams have 16,000, we have 4,000. I keep hearing this team is exciting. It must not be exciting enough.''
As the SEC and its many unapologetic media shills continue their PR war insisting that the league's champion should be granted automatic entrance into the national title game no matter its record, I can't help but try to put Missouri and Texas A&M into perspective.
First of all, understand that I'm not going to argue that the SEC isn't the best conference in the country. Don't even go there. You might be able to come up with all kinds of stats and records and comparative scores that attempt to prove - and might well succeed proving - that the SEC isn't as dominant as the league would have you believe. But if you do, I can apply the same reasoning and downgrade every other power conference to a much greater extent. Annually, the most difficult league in which to win consistently is the SEC. Period.
But didn't Texas A&M and Missouri go into the SEC just a year ago universally seen as being overmatched, particularly Mizzou? "If you thought it was a struggle in the Big 12,'' all were told, "just wait until you have to play Alabama and LSU and Florida and Georgia and, etc., etc., etc.''
And then in year one in the SEC Texas A&M beats Alabama and its freshman quarterback rips up the league and wins the Heisman Trophy. In year two, Missouri is a blown 17-0 fourth-quarter lead over South Carolina away from being 12-0. Missouri.
Now this is in no way an attempt to prop up the Big 12, from which both schools bolted, but rather to point out that two schools that were really nothing special (sometimes good, never dominant) in their old power conference instantly became players in the SEC.
Granted, there might be a lot of extenuating circumstances, but the point is that the SEC constantly preaches that teams with gaudy records elsewhere could never duplicate those playing in their conference. A&M and Missouri are proving them wrong.
Reach Dave Hickman at 304-348-1734 or dphickm...@aol.com or follow him at Twitter.com/dphickman1.