First time, long time here. Like all Horns, the thought of Saturday’s conference "championship" between 2 teams we've already beaten convincingly has taken me through the stages of grief this week. It also got me to thinking. You know, the kind of thinking that your wife/significant other might call obsessive-compulsive disorder. It’s enough we have to suffer through our hated rival taking our spot in the title game(s). But watching Barry “Couldn’t Find the High Road Even With a Garmin Stuck Up My Ass” Switzer smirk through the BCS standings and listening to Stoops taking thinly veiled shots at us during his presser made me sick. Sick and tired. Of the Big 12.
I’ll admit this sounds like a “Take Our Ball And Go Home” rant, and let me say I’m aware of what the Big 12 has done for us since the lil’ SWC crumbled. Recruiting, national exposure, and relevance have all gone way up. I get that. But I also happen to think it could be even better. How? By telling the Okies and their Big 8 cronies to suck it and hitting the road to the Big 10. Yeah, I know, it’s been talked about before. Kinda crazy? Not if you think about it…and seems to me we have more reasons to do it than not. So, please bear with me as I share my vision (I apologize in advance for its length – insert double entendre joke here):
Since the power brokers at the Capitol made us take the Ags with us to the Big 12, let’s assume we'll have to take them with us. Sorry, Tech and Baylor, but this time you're left on the porch. Ann Richards and Bob Bullock (RIP to both) ain’t walkin’ through that Capitol door this time. Y’all can stay back and recreate the SWC if you’d like. Let North Texas in while you're at it. Or, stay put and let the Horny Toads and Ponies replace us. I don't care.
Only problem with taking the Ags (besides the obvious) is it leaves the Big 10 unbalanced (remember they're actually the Big 11 right now). So, we take Mizzou with us too. They’ve always wanted to join the Big 10 anyway. Plus, geographically it makes sense - they can serve as a bridge between the north/south gap.
Now you've got a 14 team super conference with more money and clout than even our hayseed cousins in the SEC. Premier athletic programs? Got it. Good academic fit? Got it - UT, A&M and Mizzou (along with Colorado) are the only ones in the Big 12 that can match up academically with Big 10 institutions. And, most important in the big biz of "amateur" college athletics, you've got TV sets. Lots and lots of TV sets. Mizzou brings the Kansas City and St. Louis markets. We bring Houston, Dallas, San Antonio, and Austin. Add that to what the Big 10's already got (Chicago, Detroit, Minneapolis, Cleveland, Cincy, Indianapolis, Milwaukee, Pittsburgh and Philly), and maybe WE will be telling the TV execs what time we're going to kickoff (only night games in Austin until November, thank you very much).
Once we bolt with the Ags and Mizzou, Colorado probably jumps to the Pac 10 (maybe they'll bring BYU or Utah with them). That leaves the Diminutive 9 with those major markets of Okie City, Tulsa, Omaha, Des Moines, and Topeka. Good luck on negotiating your next TV contract without us. Maybe they'll pick your games up on Telemundo and drop in subtitles so you can understand the announcers.
Well, with so many teams in the new Big 14 (I say we call it the Grande Catorce), we'll obviously have to split up into divisions. Here's what made sense to me:
West Division - Texas, Texas A&M, Missouri, Illinois, Iowa, Minnesota, Wisconsin
East Division - Michigan, Michigan St., Indiana, Purdue, Penn State, Northwestern, Ohio St.
This set up allows the conference to maintain traditional rivalries within each division (Horns/Ags, Minnesota/Wisconsin, Iowa/Minnesota, Michigan/Ohio St, Michigan/Michigan St., Penn St./Ohio St., Indiana/Purdue). Only one that's left out is Illinois/Northwestern, and I don't think anyone cares about that one anyway. It also creates some new rivalries - natural (Mizzou/Illinois, Mizzou/Iowa) and super-power smackdown (Texas/Michigan, Texas/Penn State, Texas/Ohio State). And yes, we'll have a championship game in football, using the SEC tiebreaker.
Now sit back and think about what that does to the Horns' football schedule. With 12 games to fill, we could play all 6 of our division foes and a rotation of 4 from the East. Throw in 2 non-conference games (we can open with Rice every year - Mack and DeLoss like playing them - and continue to kick Okie ass in Dallas), and here's what you'd be looking at:
Okie U in Dallas
pick 4 between Michigan, Ohio St. Penn St., Indiana, Purdue, Northwestern, Michigan St.
Not too shabby, huh? Beats the heck out of Baylor, Okie State, Kansas, K-State, Iowa State. Too cold for the football team? They're already traveling to Nebraska, Iowa, and Kansas. The northern teams will also have to adjust to the heat down here in September/October, so that's a wash. Plus, we'll actually be competing with other schools who require their players to read and write.
Basketball will be much more interesting, too. Lots of good matchups there. Wisconsin, Michigan State, Ohio State, Indiana (once they recover from Kelvin Sampsonitis), Purdue, Iowa, Michigan, Illinois. The only sport that might suffer is baseball, due to weather issues. We’ll get used to it, and maybe adjust the schedule somewhat to factor in the weather by bringing teams down here in February/March. The NCAA has already delayed the start of the season to favor the cold weather teams anyway.
Travel really isn't much of an issue, as we already have to travel north frequently. And with the increased revenue from our ginormous TV contract, that won't be too much of a concern.
Why not the SEC? Well, they DON'T require their players to read or write - which is the reason we didn't go there in the first place. Why not the PAC 10? Time difference. Nobody wants to stay up until 10 PM waiting for us to kickoff or tipoff against Washington State. Not to mention the Grande Catorce has more appealing matchups.
Well, there you have it. Makes sense to me. I say we have DeLoss announce it on ESPN precisely as they're giving Okie U their "championship" trophy on Saturday night. And Darrell Royal can be by his side, giving a big one finger salute to Switzer and Stoops while a big ticker runs along the bottom of the screen announcing the birth of the Grande Catorce and the death of the Big 12. Adios, Big 12, Hola, Grande Catorce. Hey, I don’t get a Big 12 title this year, so let me dream.