"It's about money. TV money. And it's about the BCS. Everyone's trying to be loyal but at the same time trying to figure out what's best for themselves. And that's a hard thing to do." - Mack Brown
Everything is fluid.
With the future of the Big 12 seemingly up for grabs, the presidents and athletic directors of Texas and Texas A&M met Thursday to discuss the future of their athletic programs after Colorado accepted an invitation to join the Pac-10 and with Nebraska weighing a move to the Big Ten.
A person briefed about the discussions said the situation was "still fluid" and the Texas schools could stay in the Big 12. The person, who spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitive nature of the situation, said everyone was waiting for Nebraska’s expected announcement Friday.
Sour grapes, Nebraska?
From the Cornhuskers' perspective the Big 12 was their league. They were the dominant program in the mid-to-late nineties, the benevolent powerhouse that graciously opened their doors to the refugees of the corrupt, crumbling SWC. Within five years, though, the power had shifted to the South: With Tom Osborne in the Nebraska legislature, Mack Brown and Bob Stoops became the league's premiere coaches, ad Nebraska's traditional, winner-take-all rivalry with Oklahoma paled in comparison to the Sooners' annual South Division rubber match with Texas. The South champion beat the North in six straight championship games, including last December, when officials infuriated Nebraska by adding a second to the clock after it had expired with the 'Huskers leading 12-10, allowing Texas to kick the game-wining, BCS-clinching field goal on the final snap. Last week, against Nebraska's protestations, the conference awarded the championship game to Cowboys Stadium in Dallas through 2013. And of course, Texas always brought home the largest share of the league's unequal annual payout.
Colorado belongs in the PAC-10.
Ever since talks began, Colorado playing in the Pac-10 made a lot of sense. It's a physical outlier in the Big 12, the conference's only school in the Mountain West. Only two other schools in the Big 12 fit inside the top 35 of the U.S. News & World Report best public national universities. The list's top two schools are in the Pac-10. Anyone who's stepped foot in Boulder can tell right away it has plenty more in common with Berkeley or Palo Alto than it does with Ames or Manhattan.
Dan Hawkins' current roster has 23 California natives. Texas? Just three.
The Big 12 lacked leadership.
The Big 12 commissioner's rudderless leadership doomed the Big 12 from the moment the Big Ten announced last December that it was exploring expansion plans. Instead of being proactive and pursuing a mega-television deal and/or building a Big 12 Network , he sat back and watched the Pac-10—with a brand new commissioner and a conference reputation of USC and the nine dwarves—meticulously and quietly build a plan to take over the Big 12.
Will the Buffs be happy to see Rick Neuheisel again?
Neuheisel was the Buffaloes' coach from 1995-98 before being hired by Washington after the 1998 season. During Thursday’s teleconference call about Colorado’s enlistment in the Pac 10, Neuheisel said: "I‘m personally thrilled that the University of Colorado is joining the Pac 10.… I have firsthand experience recruiting for Colorado and it is an unbelievable university, with all the virtues."
Whether Colorado fans will have similar warm and fuzzy feelings about seeing their former coach is debatable. Colorado was placed on two years' probation by the NCAA in 2002 for violations that occurred during the Neuheisel years.
Keith Kevin Weiburg really is the architect of the current realignment chaos.
Kevin Weiburg will get some props. Larry Scott may get the headlines, but my guess is that Weiburg came up with the plan to put a wedge between the Big Ten and Texas. Forget about his role in running the BCS; the former Big 12 commissioner, developer of the Big Ten cable network and now the key hired gun for the PAC 10 will be a key player in college athletics for the next decade.
Manhattan's paper isn't impressed with the Cornhuskers and their new home.
The world has stopped. The greatest athletics program in all of college sports is reportedly leaving the Big 12 Conference. Oh wait, that's the perspective of a Nebraska fan. Never mind. I forgot, Cornhusker fans relish in their illustrious past. Forget the present.
As I think about it, the Cornhuskers are an absolute juggernaut. Guided by a strong commitment to their men's basketball program, Nebraska has produced a total of zero wins in the NCAA tournament. They also haven't won an outright conference title since going 12-0 through the Missouri Valley Intercollegiate Athletics Association in 1916. That's impressive and a hard feat to accomplish.
Oklahoma BFFs Texas! The Pokes haven't talked to the PAC-10, but they will go with Texas.
However, OSU officials have said they have not had any talks with the Pac-10 leadership but have been told by University of Texas officials that they would be included in any potential conference realignment.
Things to ponder about the PAC-16.
The flawed notion that adding the Central time zone to the Pac-10 conference is a riot. It's not going to keep the West Coast teams from playing late Saturday night games. And it's not like Texas and OU fans are automatically going to stay up late to watch Washington State-Oregon.
Do their fans watch Iowa State-Colorado now?
Former Arkansas AD Frank Broyles is a psychic.
Frank Broyles always seemed like a college administrator ahead of his time, and now we can quantify it.
Twenty years, to be exact.
He helped alter the landscape of college athletics in 1990, when he revealed that Arkansas would be leaving the SWC for the SEC.
"We were worried about Texas and Texas A&M pulling out and leaving us for the Pac-10," he said.
"Where would we have been if they'd done that? What kind of athletic prestige could we have without those two?"
It is about time USC got their comeuppance.
Despite that contradiction, Jacob Hucko felt like a winner Thursday after receiving the news of the sanctions against USC. Hucko was an offensive lineman for the Ducks in 2005 when USC beat Oregon, a Trojans victory that is now vacated.
"You feel vindicated in a little way," he says. "Look, they still beat us on the field. That doesn't change. But for the players in those games, players like me who were just scrapping by on our $1,000 stipend while Reggie Bush was living the dream, it feels good to know the truth is out there.
"At Oregon, we have this setup where nobody breaks NCAA rules. At USC, they didn't do it the right way, and maybe a lot of opposing players always suspected that, but to have it out there in the open is important."
"There was a culture of cheating there. It was there with Pete Carroll. He knew. (Carroll has denied any knowledge of cheating.) That was why he booked it for Seattle."
On possible Pac-10 expansion, which could include Texas joining the Pac-10: "I’d like another shot at Texas after they screwed us out of the Rose Bowl." - Cal coach Jeff Tedford
The Acho family is going on another mission trip to Nigeria.
Beat the hell out of the Horned Frogs. Hook 'em.