Missouris switch from the Big 12 to the Southeastern Conference turned Kansas City into a college sports crossroads this season.
By BLAIR KERKHOFF
The Kansas City Star
Both SEC division winners, Alabama and Georgia, played the Tigers at Memorial Stadium. MU fans got an early look at Bulldogs linebacker Jarvis Jones, one of the nations most dominant players. A few weeks later, Mizzou tangled with the Tide team that spent most of the season at No. 1.
Every other week brought seemed to bring another roster loaded with future NFL talent. Of the six SEC teams in the top 10 of the final Bowl Championship Series standings, Missouri played five, and the season was capped by an up-close look at Texas A&M quarterback sensation Johnny Manziel, perhaps the Heisman Trophy favorite.
Or maybe its Kansas State quarterback Collin Klein, who along with Manziel and Notre Dame linebacker Manti Teo make up the Heisman finalists. Klein drove the Wildcats to one of the best seasons in program history and the Big 12 title.
After Alabama was upset by Texas A&M, the Wildcats ascended to the top spot in the BCS standings for the first time. K-State won its first 10 games, beating a Bob Stoops-coached Oklahoma team in Norman for the first time, crushing a West Virginia squad in Morgantown and looking like a team that could reach the national title game.
The loss at Baylor derailed that goal, but the Wildcats still captured the Big 12 championship, only the third conference title in a century of league affiliation for the program.
With the Big 12 and SEC connecting in Kansas City, The Star picked individual honors for each conference and fused the leagues to produce one all-star team, the best of both worlds. Here it is: SEC power and strength and Big 12 speed and skill.
To reach Blair Kerkhoff, call 816-234-4730 or send email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him at twitter.com/BlairKerkhoff.