Every couple of months or so, it seems, some media outlet down in Texas trumpets an impending alliance between the Southwest and Big Eight conferences.
So it was again this week.
"It must be a slow news time," was Kansas athletic director Bob Frederick's reaction. "The last meeting of our subcommittee was in late September or early October, and we don't have one scheduled. . .to my knowledge."
Such an alliance is, in fact, more eminent than imminent, and not all that eminent really.
If you're like everyone else with an IQ above room temperature, you're no doubt confused about the ramifications of what has so far been more hot air than hot stuff.
WOULD THE alliance mean, for instance, that Kansas would have to play home-and-home basketball games against Texas Tech? Would Iowa State play Houston in football every year? Would the annual Texas-Oklahoma shootout become a conference contest?
The answers are maybe, probably not and doubtful. Or doubtful, maybe and probably not. Or. . .well, you get the point.
Several other questions come to mind, too.
Does Texas athletic director DeLoss Dodds still smoke a pipe? Is former Nebraska coach Moe Iba still at TCU? Is Texas A&M always on probation? And why does the SWC have an official airline (Delta) while the Big Eight doesn't?
All of these questions, I'm sure, will be answered in due time. As you know, these are not overnight decisions. No one rushes into a marriage without first checking all the closets.
The Big Eight might want to consider, as an example, rejecting any alliance unless it contains a pre-nuptial agreement stipulating that no SWC schools will ever receive so much as a farthing of Orange Bowl loot.
NO ONE associated with academia, however remotely, ever jumps briefcase first into anything without first appointing several committees, subcommittees and task forces. Until those buttons are pushed, the machinery cannot start.
Hopefully, fathers of each conference will be sage enough to appoint a group of veteran media people to advise and consent on such weighty matters as convenience of travel, accessibility of restaurants and comfort of accommodations.
It would behoove the Big Eight, as I see it, to send a task force of venerable scribes and broadcasters into Texas to test, so to speak, the waters. Not to mention the watering holes, if one should be so inclined.
Dallas (SMU) and Houston (Houston U.) are, of course, the primary attractions of the Southwest Conference, not only because of their massive television markets but because of their myriad attractions and contemporary lifestyles. Each city has two airports, too. That's a plus.
AUSTIN (TEXAS U.) has only one airport, but may need two some day. Austin boasts more people than metropolitan Kansas City and more TVs than Taiwan.
I like Fort Worth (TCU). It's sort of a Dodge City with a glandular problem. Waco (Baylor) reminds me of Lawrence because it's about 50 miles from a metropolitan area and boasts a college-town atmosphere.
My memories of Bryan-College Station (Texas A&M) are foggy, but I do remember it isn't easy to travel from here to there. Same for Lubbock (Texas Tech). I was in Lubbock once, but I'll bet a lot of people have said that.
George Washington warned us about entangling alliances, but I know this. I'd approve an alliance in a minute if one of the SWC schools moved its campus to San Antonio.