If Dan Beebe actually pulls off this reconciliation of what’s left of the Big 12, Barack Obama should forward his Nobel Peace Prize.
The state of Kansas should ship him their proxies. Missouri should promise never to mention the Big Ten again. Iowa State ought to change its mascot to “BBs.”
If the embattled Big 12 commissioner salvages his job and league, as now seems apparent, he should be named dictator-for-life. Art Briles should give him a cut of his next Baylor contract.
By the way, Art: Next time Texas Tech calls, maybe you should listen.
And how should Texas and Texas A&M; react? All’s well that ends well.
Of course, that’s assuming it all holds up overnight and Beebe cleans up a mess even BP might have backed away from.
How he got the Big 12 pieces to this point is a study in never-say-die fortitude, not to mention a burning desire to remain employed.
Beebe was helped by two overriding factors: Texas’ desire for its own TV network and A&M;’s refusal to go west. Without both, this unlikely preservation would not be a possibility.
The Pac-10 offer might have seemed better than it was from a TV standpoint. Larry Scott promised to double Big 12 revenues, but most of it had to be taken on faith. As it is, the Pac-10 has one of the worst TV deals and among the lowest revenues of any major conference. No wonder Scott lusted after Texas’ TV market.
Texas would, instead, develop its own network in a reconstituted Big 12. It would not have been allowed to do so in the Pac-16.
Still, Texas might have jumped if A&M; hadn’t balked. The Aggies simply don’t like the Pac-10. Left Coast think tanks are a bad philosophical fit with A&M;’s conservative base.
But the SEC? Now that’s another matter.
Two of A&M;’s most famous alumni, Gene Stallings and John David Crow, came down on opposite sides. Stallings, who won a national title at Alabama, pumped up the Aggies’ swelling pride by telling them they don’t need to “piggy-back” anyone anymore. Crow, the school’s only Heisman Trophy winner, correctly countered that rejecting the Pac-10’s overtures wasn’t about standing on your own two feet.
No one’s accused Oklahoma of playing a Texas patsy. The Sooners were only too glad to accompany the Longhorns. Crow simply wanted to preserve rivalries, which is the difference between pro and college football.
Consider the words of Frank Broyles, who, 18 years after the fact, had this to say about Arkansas’ life in the SEC:
“We don’t have a rivalry.”
Yes, the Aggies would have Arkansas and LSU. But neither comes close to the heat Texas generates. Passion of a similar kind must fester for decades, preferably in close proximity. Add alcohol as desired.
The Texas rivalry would have ended if A&M; had gone to the SEC.
The Big 12 or 10 or whatever it’s to be called won’t be as watered down as you think. Colorado’s TV market was a little overrated. Bo Pelini did a great job with Nebraska last season. Let’s see him do it again.
No conference title game in football? Hooray. The Big 12 loses the revenue but lessens the odds a loss could foul up a BCS bid.
All things considered, Beebe’s plan isn’t perfect. Neither is the league’s makeup. But it’s the best resolution, one that seemed entirely unlikely 48 hours ago.
Anyway, those were the story lines available at press time. More may have developed since I brushed my teeth. If Dan Beebe succeeds in putting this back together, he should proceed directly to the Middle East, then work his way around the globe counter-clockwise. Humpty Dumpty should have been so lucky.