Wow, we're really going back now. Next question: Was it really a good idea to claim independence from England??
In the early 1990s, the Big Eight and the Southwest Conference both felt like they weren't capitalizing on the TV business. There were clearly two tiers in the SWC between the haves and the have-nots and the haves (Texas, Texas A&M) were looking for greener pastures where they could make more TV money. The Big Eight wanted to cash in on the Dallas and Houston TV markets. A merger between the two leagues was discussed, but ESPN didn't want a 16-team league. The network wanted the Big Eight teams plus four from the SWC, with Texas and Texas A&M being two givens. A lot of state politics determined the other two, Baylor and Texas Tech. And just like that, you have the Big 12.
At that point Missouri was pretty much in lockstep with their peers in the Big Eight. No one was really thinking about leaving that conference. It was more about who they could add to enhance the league's appeal - and its bottom line. The Texas schools were the most logical geographically. By then, the two biggest independents had also joined other leagues, Penn State and Florida State, so there weren't any real attractive free agents out there to add.