While some are blatantly set upon scaring Missouri (and Texas A&M, for that matter) away from the defense of the SEC, Mizzou CB Edwin Gaines remains confident...and excited.
"I'm feeling great," Gaines said of the transition. "I'm excited to play new teams and see new venues."
Because Missouri is making the jump - not only to the southeast, but the most dominant conference in college football - the test to come on Saturdays this fall will be nothing short of a challenge. Facing the conference that is nationally acclaimed for its speedy defenses, Gaines is confident in the Tiger transition.
"Being challenged is good," Gaines said of his new conference. "That's where you meet opportunities to be successful.
"I'll just have a little less time to make plays," he admitted. "I'm excited to be in the best conference in the nation."
Gaines continues to face questions not only about how his team's offense will adapt, but how his own defense will measure up. "We have a lot of leadership on defense," he assured Mizzou fans. "And they're ready to show what they can do."
Known not only for its more aggressive style of play, the SEC boasts, arguably, the most impressive college football atmospheres conference-wide in the nation. Missouri? "It's as crazy as I've ever seen, personally," Gaines said of his home atmosphere. "The fans are excited to bring other teams in and show what their team can do.
"I expect to be the underdog coming into the SEC," Gaines said. "It's a new conference. They don't know what we can do. I think we can definitely surprise some people."