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Realignment Review: Where do we go from here?
4:42 p.m. Update:
Just in under the three hour mark since my last post... Phew!!! Just a sign of how quiet things are today.
One bit of news that just popped up is from A&M country, where Chuck Carlton, of the Dallas Morning News, reported, via Twitter, that an A&M source said the school remained focused on moving to the SEC... Period.
"This gridlock has not changed our intentions," the source said.
I doubt that comes as much of a surprise to any of you, but it is interesting to remember that because if/when the Aggies go to the SEC, that makes 13 teams there. They'll still need a 14th.
That could be done quietly and without disrupting the national landscape, though I'm not sure how, or it could be the move that sets this whole thing off.
What a shame it would be for the Big 12 to fight so hard to survive only to see things blow up anyway. At that point, the conference would have some serious decisions/choices to make. My guess is they'd lean toward rapid expansion however possible.
TCU? Maybe. BYU? Definitely. Air Force? Possibly. Depends on how many and how far they'd have to go.
Like I've said all along, things are looking better and better for the Big 12 — or whatever it may soon be called — by the minute, but there's still a lonnnnnngggggg way to go before all this is settled.
1:43 p.m. Update:
All right... Not a lot new since I left you (thank goodness) but the people I'm talking to continue to say that the break in the action sponsored by Baylor has given the rest of the league a chance to catch its breath and really think this thing through. The more they've done that, the more they've realized that keeping the Big 12 alive is the way to go.
By now, it's pretty obvious where we stand....
All In: Texas, KU, KSU, Baylor, Iowa State and Missouri (yes, I'm told MU is 100% on board). Big 12 Lean: Oklahoma State On the Fence: Oklahoma Out: Texas A&M
So now the next several days (hopefully fewer) will be spent tracking OU's every move. Maybe this is what OU president David Boren wanted all along. Maybe he just wanted OU to be loved. Or maybe he wanted to make a move so bold and drastic that it would force Texas to play ball and make some concessions. If that was his plan all along, my hat's off to him for making it work. I still think there may have been a different way to go about it, but, then again, there may not have been.
Boren is a politician first and foremost. And we all know how politicians love the limelight. With all the attention on him and Oklahoma, I'd expect him to milk that for a few more days and maybe come to some kind of a decision early next week.
The Big 12 Board of Directors is scheduled to meet next Thursday but wouldn't it be nice if Boren made that meeting unnecessary? Or at least not as critical.
I'll stay on it and keep talking to people, especially those in the Sooner state, but for now that's what the whole thing boils down to. Regardless of what you read about who's talking to whom or what schools are meeting with what leagues, we're all waiting on the Sooners here. And I'm sure they're loving it.
In the meantime, here's a link I came across today from Tommy Hicks, of The Birmingham News. Hicks says the NCAA should take a do-over and host the first ever intercollegiate conference draft. It's a longshot and a wild idea, but it's an entertaining read.
11:07 a.m. Update:
I've gotta run out and take care of a few things for the next couple of hours — phone calls and meetings regarding the Big 12 among them — so sit tight for a while and I'll update the blog when I get back.
If you guys see any good links while I'm away, toss 'em into the comments below and have at it. I'll jump back in when I return.
11:02 a.m. Update:
Some interesting stuff from the Rivals site, RedRaiderSports.com, that seems to support the notion that the Big 12 will live. It's a pay site, so I'll bullet point the highlights here, but if you want to subscribe and read it all, here's the link: http://www.texastech.rivals.com/
Again, this is all according to RedRaiderSports.com:
• TV networks are saying deals will not change much if the league stays at nine. There may be some change but not enough to make the league feel like it has to go to 10 or 12 teams.
• Texas will agree to equal revenue sharing on first and second tier games.
• The Big 12's next scheduled meeting is set for next Thursday, most likely in person, and the ADs will continue to meet via conference calls and individual connections.
And here's the most interesting point...
• If OU decides to commit to the Big 12 there is some talk that the Big 12 as we know it could fold and come back under a new name. That would include new headquarters and new leadership.
• As has been the case for the past several days, it's OU's move.
10:09 a.m. Update:
Well, here it is, a little after 10 a.m. two days after the most dramatic Wednesday in the history of the Big 12 Conference, and things remain quiet.
Instead of scramble mode, in which media members and athletic departments are swimming upstream to keep up with the flurry of rumors and activity going on around the Big 12 and the rest of the country, everyone seems to have slipped into recovery mode.
A lot of the articles out there today have a pro-Big 12 slant and, even stuff coming out of Oklahoma, seems to suggest that the next step in all of this might very well be the announcement of a stronger Big 12.
Wednesday's activity, which included but was not limited to Baylor's bold move to block Texas A&M's departure to the SEC, refocused everyone in the conference and may go down as the move that saved the Big 12. Sources have said that the move brought the remaining Big 12 schools closer together and provided some serious solidarity in the league.
That's a step. And it's a good step if you're a Big 12 fan. But the final touches must still be tacked on and a resolution here could come as soon as this weekend or may still be two weeks away.
In case you missed it, mega-rich Oklahoma State alum T. Boone Pickens spoke to the ESPN broadcasting crew during the Cowboys' victory over Arizona on Thursday night and his stance seemed very pro-Big 12. He said he'd like the conference to survive, he wants the Cowboys to stay in it but that in order for either to happen, the league must come up with some sort of plan for equal revenue sharing, a model pretty common to the rest of the major conferences out there.
Having a guy like Pickens speak out in this matter is pretty telling. He has a ton of influence at Okie State and is as devoted to the well-being of that university as a man like Don Fambrough was to Kansas.
My gut tells me here that we may get an announcement soon that says the Big 12 lives, but the work regarding revenue sharing and a multitude of other issues facing the conference right now — including expansion — will be ongoing and will remain that way months down the road.
Many of you have asked about the status of the Big 12's automatic BCS if A&M and potentially others leave the conference.
Kirk Bohls of the Austin American-Statesman got in touch with BCS executive director Bill Hancock and asked that very question. The answer? The BCS has never discussed whether a conference must have a minimum number of teams to qualify for BCS participation.
Speaking of Bohls, he also has a story in today's paper that emphasizes — yet again — that the Longhorns have no desire to become an independent.
It's early and I realize we still have a long way to go, but just looking out across the media landscape of the Big 12 seems to indicate that most are now on board with the fact that the odds favor the Big 12 surviving.
Even the Oklahoma schools, as this Oklahoman story regarding OSU says.
One more for now, this one also comes from Austin, but it's from the A&M side of things. American-Statesman beat writer, Susan Halliburton, who covers the Aggies, hosted an online chat the other day to discuss A&M and the Big 12.
It's interesting to get her perspective since most of her time has spent covering an absolution. The Aggies are leaving. It's just a matter of when and how.
Here are the highlights of her chat.