SEC Stages Welcoming Party for Missouri, Texas A&M

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ATLANTA -- It's not often Texas A&M fans in Georgia have the chance to pose for photos with Reveille VIII, the collie mascot.

It's a similar rarity to see Missouri mascot Truman the Tiger high-stepping through the halls of an Atlanta hotel. LSU? Auburn? No, this is a different cat.

Southeastern Conference commissioner Mike Slive and the SEC held an official welcoming party for Missouri and Texas A&M, only three months before the Tigers and Aggies open their first football schedules as members of the conference.

Slive noted that Atlanta hosts the SEC championship game. He said for one night, the city "is Missouri and Texas A&M and we welcome y'all to Atlanta and the Southeastern Conference."

Missouri Football Coach Gary Pinkely said, "Since we've been using the brand name 'Mizzou' and marketing the SEC, it's been nothing but 100% positive. It's been much more positive than I ever thought it would be and we're excited about that."

"It's been amazing," said Missouri Athletic Director Mike Alden. "I was in Destin, Florida last weekend for SEC meetings and anywhere that we're at in SEC country, folks are so welcoming and they're so excited about Mizzou being part of the's been pretty special."