Quote for the day: “Be not angry that you cannot make others as you wish them to be, since you cannot make yourself as you wish to be.” ~Thomas à Kempis, Imitation of Christ, c.1420 (h/t ELCA on FB)
UPDATE: This morning, all the smart money had Texas leading the charge out of the Big 12. By this afternoon, orangebloods.com was reporting that Texas would likely stay in the Big 12 and ask the other remaining schools to do likewise. As of this evening, it appears that:
1. Texas was negotiating the best possible deal (which would include help establishing a Longhorn TV network) with the Big 12 by playing up the Pac-10 negotiations.
2. Big 12 Commissioner Dan Beebe could sell a refrigerator to an Eskimo.
3. Movers and shakers in Texas politics, a few of them being UT Regents, decided they preferred the Oak Ridge Boys to the Beach Boys.
4. Despite the absence of powerful Baylor alum Ann Richards, there was nevertheless one or more Baylor supporters who threw a big monkey wrench into the works.
5. Texas realized it had enough muscle to influence a slow-down in the national development of Super-Conferences and decided that this was a good thing.
6. It was an Act of God to protect Kansas.
Whatever the case, the Big 12 is now the Big 10, or X. And it’s the athletic conference version of the guy thrown on the dead cart in “Monty Python’ and the Holy Grail.” “I’m not dead yet,” he cried. “I’m getting better.” And indeed, all talk of the death of the Big 12 has become similarly premature.
Now, here’s me basically throwing the not-quite-dead guy on the cart this morning:
News from America’s Foremost Religion, Sports:
I hear there’s something called the World Cup being played at the moment; maybe that’s something my future grandchildren will care about.
In the world of NCAA Division I conference re-alignment, we’ve got big-time schools and conferences going for the mega-million-dollar gusto. The epicenter of all the hubub is the soon-to-be late, great Big 12 Conference (sorry, boys, no more Roman numerals for you). It’s the one conference likely to disintegrate entirely after the departures of Big 12 South football giants Texas and Oklahoma, with Texas Tech and Oklahoma State joining them along with Colorado in the new Pac-16. And I am talking exclusively about the sport of football here, because football is the goose laying all the golden eggs at the moment, and is thus driving all these changes of address as schools drive their figurative U-Hauls from one conference to another.
Maroon-and-white doormat Texas A&M has decided to seek its fortune in the SEC, where it will likely learn the hard lessons learned by the once-fearsome Arkansas Razorbacks–namely, that joining a big, bad conference while in an anemic athletic condition results in a whole lot of whuppin’s before it leads to anything close to success. Remember back in days of the old Southwest Conference when Arkansas football went bowling regularly around New Year’s? Their thinking that they’d make more money and get better southern athletes by skipping over to the SEC didn’t quite pan out, as these days everyone gets a warm, fuzzy, sentimental feeling on those special occasions when the Razorbacks actually become competitive against SEC behemoths like Florida and Tennessee, and now Alabama.
Resurgent Nebraska has gotten all miffed over the way the Big 12 South Division, once the weak sister to the North, has gotten all the recent limelight and managed to garner enough political muscle to stage championship games in Dallas and San Antonio. This upset the Cornhuskers, who are most happy when they play at home in front of some 76,000 fans stoked to the gills on Big Red adrenaline-meth, with only a mere sliver of one end zone carved out for a few fans of the opposing team. St. Thomas of Osborne was also upset at the way he lost a couple of issues way back when the Big 12 was formed. The first had to do with his desire to have the conference allow participation of academically non-qualifying freshman (translation: dumb-as-a-hammer stud jocks stumbling out of high school). The second had to do with establishing a Big 12 championship game, which he disliked. (And given Big Red’s record in those games, we can see why he disliked them.) Nebraska, like A&M, may have made a mistake in throwing in with a formidable conference like the Big Ten. But, hey, given all the recent snippy behavior by the Bug-Eaters, which includes the class-less and insulting taunts screamed by their coaches and players toward Texas coaches and players after the Horns nipped them in last year’s Big 12 Championship, let’s just say that Herbie Husker ought not let the door hit his butt on the way out.
Teams that suddenly find themselves in limbo, like Kansas, Baylor, Kansas State and Iowa State, are no doubt working the phones to find suitable conference homes. No disrespect toward Baylor and Iowa State, but they might wish to seek lodging with Conference USA, which would put them on competitive footing almost immediately. Kansas and K-State are in a tough spot, especially–and ironically–the Jayhawks. The Wildcats of Manhattan would seem to be a tailor-made fit in the Mountain West. Kansas’ identity as a national power is found in basketball, yet the football program has been pretty salty the last few years. I’d think the Big Ten (12, 13, or 14) would be a logical place for them to land. But again, it’s all about $$$, so the Jayhawks may need to do some politicking over the next few months.
The beauty of the impending move to the Pac-10(16) is not just the great payout offered in joining this new mega-conference, but is also the geographic realignment of conference competition. And I say this as an unabashedly partisan Texas alum, who would just love to schedule a fall trip to Tuscon, to see Texas play Arizona. Or better yet, a trip to Palo Alto, CA, to see the Horns take on the Stanford Cardinal. I’d even invest in a burnt orange rain slicker to see Texas play Oregon. Poor Aggie fans will have to find ways to get stoked for that excursion to scenic Starkville, Mississippi, and also to Tuscaloosa, Alabama. The good news is that they’ll likely enjoy traveling to Knoxville and to Nashville to play Tennessee and Vanderbilt; and Baton Rouge is just a hop, skip and a jump away from College Station.
The tough and touchy issue in this impending implosion of the Big 12 is the potential loss of the traditional Turkey Day Tussle between Texas and Texas A&M. Those outside the Lone Star State shouldn’t be surprised if the Texas Legislature gets called into special session to legislate the continued playing of that game. Yes, that’s a bit crazy, but it’s Texas Crazy, and in the long run, that’s mostly a good thing.
Farewell, Big 12. We hardly knew ye. Rest in peace.
And best of luck to Kansas, Iowa State and K-State. As for the Baptist University in Waco, your future has been predestined; so no sweat, right?