Monday, June 14, 2010


The Big 12 10 X lives! I found this photo of Dan Beebe violating a temporary restraining order and playing the Eyes of Texas outside William Power Jr.'s house all day Sunday. Fortunately, Billy P Jr couldn't hear him because he was watching the World Cup and those freaking vuvuzelas were drowning out Dan's boom box.

This whole thing is just...awkward. To me, it has the feel of some awkward relationship. Texas said they still loved us, but wanted to see other people. Nebraska and Colorado leaped into the arms of another suitor. Now Texas has seen the error or their ways, has pledged monogamy but still have a roving eye. Dan Beebe is just glad to have his hubby back.

Seriously, how many relationships really survive the "define the relationship" talk the Big XII - II had two weeks ago. We're back together. But I wonder for how long.

And a special shout out to my older daughter, who executed the artwork above.

Little Brother Syndrome

I've seen some items this week discussing whether OU is playing "little brother" to Texas in following them in their conference decision. First of all, OU is a national brand on the level of Nebraska or Texas already. They don't have to follow someone around to be relevant. We were quite relevant for 40 years while not being the same conference, and struggled to win six national championships without benefitting from joint conference affiliation.

Nonetheless, I do believe there are some benefits to joining conferences with Texas.

1) Tradition: OU has played Texas every year since 1929, and 104 times since 1900. To keep the series going, it's best if OU is in the same division of the same conference as Texas. That way we don't have to schedule a perennial top 10 program on a non conference game every year. You'd hate to lose a match with Utah State, or Idaho State, and exchange it for Texas.

2) Exposure: the exposure OU gets in Texas for it's annual series is invaluable. I'm sure some economist could quantify it, but it would be difficult to replace the media coverage in the Dallas Morning News, for example, if OU was not a division for of Texas. During the college football season, there's some note or comment every day. During OU-Texas week, there's a front page article every day. That exposure is a tremendous help in recruiting. As for the all important television, I've watched every game I've wanted to on TV in Dallas for the last several years, either via Fox, Versus or ABC/ESPN. Telling Texas parents they can watch their son play every week is a tremendous help in recruiting.

3) Money: At OU, you must accumulate a certain amount of Sooner points to purchase OU-Texas tickets. You accumulate points by many ways, but the most significant way is money. Being a season ticket holder for 20 years doesn't get me much, but 20 years of tickets plus about $200 gets me in the stadium. Many people donate just to make sure they qualify for OU-Texas tickets. Furthermore, and probably more significantly, some of the more prosperous season ticket holders with actual good seats along the sidelines sell their OU-Texas tickets to pay for their donation to the Sooner club and effectively fund their priority points.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

TCU, where the C stands for...

Payback. A story from the Dallas Morning News says TCU is pushing to keep Baylor out of the mountain west, as they're still pissed the Bears got the last ticket to the Big 12 fourteen years ago.

In the words of the great pacifist Rodney King, can't we all just get along?

Friday, June 11, 2010

Breaking down the conference realignment

It's been awhile since I've posted, but wanted to break down all the conference realignment stuff that's been happening.

As I've seen in many periodicals, I thought I'd break it down in a Q&A forum:

WTF? Great question. In a nutshell, it's all about TV money.

Oh Wise One, can you elaborate more? I'd be glad to. The Big Ten network, which many ridiculed (me included), has been a raging financial success. It's allowed millions of government employees and unemployed people in the rust belt to pass their time watching the good old days, when Michigan and Ohio State were good at football at the same time. Somehow that's translated into $20 million per Big 10 school, and they wanted to share it with other schools.

What's the difference between an unemployed person in the Rust Belt and a government employee? Can I get back to you on that? It's a complicated question that's outside the scope of this forum.

Why did the Big 10 they pick Nebraska? You know, the Big 10 values academics. According to the US News and world report rankings the best fit geographically and academically is Iowa State. No one gives a S*** about Iowa State. Since the Big 10 is so smart, they knew that too, and went with the Huskers. Nebraska is a nationally recognized football brand.

What about Notre Dame? Everyone knows the Big 10's been whispering sweet nothings in ND's ears for years. I figured you already knew that. If it's all about TV money, why would ND walk away from their TV contract that they have to share with no one?

Why is Texas A&M interested in the SEC vs the Pac 16? I think it boils down to two things: 1) Tradition. 2) Travel schedule. it's much shorter travel time and cost to travel to the oil slick region than it is the pacific northwest. 3) Football.

That was three moron. Sorry, Aggie Football is about tradition. Aggies born prior to 1980 are used to seeing strong defense and mediocre quarterback play. If that doesn't scream ESS-EEE-SEE I don't know what does. Plus, in Aggie history, they've played 17 games against Pac 10 foes. Four of those were bowl games. They've played 151 games against SEC schools, primarily LSU and Arkansas.

All this stuff is coming out about poor chemistry in the Big 12. Do you see that being an issue in the Pac 16? If I may quote my father, "Does a bear poop in the woods?" Let's see, you've got Colorado joining a conference that Texas is going to join. Colorado is really pissed at Texas for trying to get Baylor in the conference instead of them. The original Pac 8 kicks Arizona and Arizona State (latecomers to the conference, joining in 1978) to Pac 16 Eastern Division with the Big 12 South + Colorado. You've got all the makings for acrimony and politics right there.

What should TCU do? If the Mountain West has any sense, they will organize a reverse merger with the remnants of the Big 12, where there continues to be a Big 12 conference that consists of Air Force, Baylor, Brigham Young, Colorado State, Iowa State, Kansas, Kansas State, Missouri, New Mexico, San Diego State, TCU, UNLV, Utah, Wyoming. Add Boise State and drop UNLV or Wyoming, for example, and you have a decent 14 team conference.

What about Baylor? Realistically, Baylor has three options: 1) remain in the Big 12/Mountain West as per above; 2) Join Conference USA and renew those Rice and SMU rivalries; 3) wait and see what happens with the rest of the college football landscape. Baylor has solid basketball programs, and baseball and tennis. The Art Briles era has lifted Baylor football from mediocrity to cute and mildly competitive. There's not TV eyeball allure to Baylor football, and that leaves them in a bind. I don't know where it shakes out for them.

How do you feel about the Pac-16 prospects. I'm excited about it. Football wise, the Big 12 was for the most part all about the Big 12 South. That's now the Pac-16 Not as Far West as the other guys Division. 1) It gives OU football more exposure in California, which can only help recruiting; 2) I can see Oregon-Oklahoma being a fun rivalry, even thought it'll only be played twice every eight years; 3) When USC recovers from their sanctions in 2018, it'll be interesting to watch USC-Texas or USC-Oklahoma locking horns on a regular basis. 4) I want to see how the schedule plays out, and how they do division championships. Think about play your seven division rivals, plus two crossover games. Some year, Texas will get a game at Washington State and host UCLA (not the 1997 team), and OU travels to Oregon and hosts Stanford. The Sooners faithful will be howling about the unfairness of the schedule. Reverse the situation, and Longhorns are screaming about the imbalance of it all. It'll make for good, healthy internet dialogue amongst anonymous parties.

What do you think about the USC probation? From afar, USC appears to have taken the 1989 OU Compliance Guidebook and followed it to the letter: fail to cooperate, deny, then throw your hands up and say, "everyone does it, you're jealous of our success and are jsut out to get us." That being said, that's a harsh penalty for whatever they did. Admittedly, I've not read two paragraphs into a story on the USC investigation in five years, so I'm not an expert.

Will OU be awarded the national championship for that season now since USC has had to vacate  all the wins? Did you watch the freaking game? We don't deserve a Poulan Weed Eater Independence Bowl t shirt for that performance. However, I've no doubt that someone dispatched a plane to Uganda to recover all those Oklahoma, 2005 National Champions t shirts, as they just became a little bit more valuable in Woodward, Broken Bow, Miami and several points in between.