Posts Tagged ‘Big 12’

MIZZOU ON THE MOVE? The Reality of An Uncertain Future

Posted: September 22, 2011 by The Cheap Seat Fan in NCAA
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The Missouri Tigers are in the middle of a hurricane that changes paths every day.

They have an unsettled and abusive home situation, and potentially have a shiny new home waiting to save them from all of their problems. However, such as abusive relationships go, the abusers have come back home and said it’s all going to be alright again. But this time things are different. Help’s come…and it’s come from the form of the most promised of all lands, and has made the University of Missouri the biggest wild card in crazy hand being dealt around the NCAA these days.

The tables have turned for the fortunes of Mizzou, now will they make the move to seal the deal...and where does that land them.

Last summer when the conference was being picked through, there was nothing that Missouri could do but hope for the best. The Big 10 only wanted Nebraska and Colorado was a geographical benefit to the then-Pac 10 to expand its reach into the Mountain Zone area. At this point, the rumor is the rule and nobody is saying anything about a future move, which can be spun either way.

Oh, what a difference a day makes. In the course of well under 24 hours, the entire power balance that has crippled Mizzou’s progress and clouded the view of their future was lifted from over one state, and drifted to the south. When the SEC and Pac 12 simultaneously opened and closed their respective doors, the tables turned on Oklahoma, Texas and all of their neighboring dependant schools and left them to inherit the most uncomfortable space in college sports: a future in the Big 12.

Isn’t that funny? All the schools that held so many of their conference mates hostages to their decision have now had the gun turned on them. The Pac 12 isn’t interested. The SEC, while secretive about its overall intent, or goal to become an absolute Super-Conference, hasn’t said anything more than it wants a 13th and 14th team. Texas A&M’s jump is complete, and if Mizzou is to follow, then the door could be closed for any other Big 12 refugees to follow through. Oklahoma and Texas will get their wish to become the strangest bedfellows in college sports and find out how cold it is in the Midwest these days. A climate they created with their selfish power plays and attempts to get their way with no other considerations made. And the decision to latch onto the future of these two schools from Baylor, Texas Tech and Oklahoma State will send them reeling into the same uncertainty that Kansas, Kansas State and Iowa State have lived in with Mizzou for the last year. Role reversal is fun, right boys?

The debate about whether Mizzou can make the switch from a division that has meddled to get over multiple humps created by their potential new conference foes on the is both relevant and not. The program has made incredible strides over the last 10 years, and has crafted a niche in its current place that isn’t a consistent champion, but is never much of an underdog either. It will take time to reestablish such a groove in another conference in all sports. The two flagships, money raking programs will have different roads back up the hill. In basketball, the program would slide into a similar place in their potential new home. Old foes Kansas and Texas would be substituted out for new ones in Kentucky and Florida in terms of powerhouse upper tier teams that provide a constant challenge to overcome. The football team however is in for a much greater, yet not completely unfamiliar challenge.

Regardless of which division they join, they would have to step up their performance to keep with the curve. SEC is as good as it gets. It’s the most dominant gathering of teams in all of sports, collegiate or professional. The East Division features the Florida Gators, and current down but strong programs such as the Tennessee Volunteers, among others. The West is where is hot and haziest, with three of the last four BCS National Champions in the Auburn Tigers, Alabama Crimson Tide and LSU Tigers. The team has never faced the upper tier programs in the SEC in recent times, but has fared well in matchups with the division, going 4-1 against the SEC under Gary Pinkel, including two bowl victories in the 2005 & 2007 seasons.

In the midst of the silence of the last few days, an unlikely voice spoke the loudest truth of all. When Pinkel, who has showcased an uncanny blend of stoic agility in dodging any and all questions about his employing institution’s future, called the Big 12 both “sad” and “embarrassing”, it spoke volumes about how bad things have become in the conference. There is no word that can put a concrete future in front of the Big 12. If the invite to the SEC is real, it’s not even a matter of when, rather its how so can we get there. The university should follow the lead of its football coach in moving again the “home” that as treated them as visitors for so long.

These decisions aren’t made in the athletic department, but within Board of Curators meetings for a reason. It’s all about money, and securing the safest yet most lucrative home possible. With all these considered, that makes this whole thing a slam dunk, with a bit of an unexpected bonus as well. Make the jump out of the fray, and while giving in some in results department on-field, but get a safe home…as well as some revenge in the process.

Sounds good over here.


Here’s my view from the CHEAP SEATS (from the middle of a celebrating fan base in Missouri) 

For the past few weeks the structure of the Big 12 has dominated the sports news scene like none other. Even the 

The Red River foes allegiance to the Big 12 ultimately saved the Big 12.

 World Cup and NBA Finals were struggling for headlines with the fate of population of the Big 12. Yesterday the suspense was brought to an end as the league was saved when the Texas Longhorns committed to continuing their affiliation with the conference. At the last-minute Big 12 Commissioner Dan Beebe step up and pulled an amazing rescue job for his conference that had been on life support since last week. This set a string of events and commitments that will come to a head later today when the Big 12 conference announces its continuing of operations as a BCS program. Here is a summary of each program’s position throughout this whole standoff and what some scenarios on expansion, the Pac 10 and Big 10. 

**The Big “12”** 

Dodds played Texas Hold Em perfectly and made Texas the most lucrative program in the NCAA

Texas: As I predicted last week, Texas was the key. Once University President Bill Powers informed the Big 12 that the school would stay in affiliation with the Pac 10, the entire league rejoiced. In the end this was an easy decision for Texas, as they were clearly given Superpower status as head program in the conference. It has been acknowledged for years now, but Texas Athletic Director Deloss Dodds now has UT being given the king’s ransom that proves it. A $25 million per year payout, along with an independent Texas Network that will feature the university’s programs. Most importantly, their pledge to the conference kept the other south schools in as well and allowed for appropriate payouts to be alloted to those schools as well. Everything is bigger in Texas, and it’s not cliché when it’s true. A hail the Kings of the Big 12. 


Oklahoma: The Sooners are a program that  controlled their destiny if the conference had broken apart. They have the national notoriety and programs to have seamlessly moved to either the SEC, as it seems was their favorite over the Pac 10. In the end they benefitted the most from staying in alliance with Texas in a familiar conference and taking the increased payout as well. They will net $20 million annually from the newly structured payout. 

Texas A&M: This program was at a crossroads, as it was not blindly committed to Texas as it appeared. They were the top team that was thought to be moving to the SEC, but they played the proceedings well. They also fangled a larger cut of the Big 12’s new payday at around $20 million annually in order to keep them aligned with the conference. This keeps the SEC or Pac 10 from entering the state of Texas and leaves a key cog in the Big 12 picture. 

Texas Tech: Tech is a program that was aligned with what the University of Texas did and they committed to the new Big 12 as soon as the Longhorns did. They did not take one of the larger cuts in the conference, but will continue to benefit from association with the existing schools in the conference and the increased exposure of Texas’s pending network. 

Truman & Mizzou's free fall was caught right before rock bottom


A university that was backed into a corner and was potentially was to be left homeless, Mizzou was saved by the renewed commitment to the Big 12 by the southern schools. Missouri was one of the first schools to be rumored to be jumping ship to the Big 10, but when that offer proved to be false, they were left without a clear future. The Mountain West Conference was interested in acquiring Missouri, but by being able to stay in their familiar position they will increase revenue to around $14 million per year, keep their familiar rivalries and recruiting tabs. A huge save for an up and coming program. 

Baylor: The Bears were the quintessential nowhere man in the mix. They were the least attractive Big 12 South program and the Pac 10 were not interested in taking them on with the other Texas/Oklahoma programs. They were courted by the MWC as well, but TCU was protesting against them joining that conference as well. Baylor was saved from a potential big time mess of a transition. 

Oklahoma State: OSU was considered to be next program closest to following Colorado to the Pac 10, in order to secure a spot that was considered to be eligible to several other schools. They could have freely made the jump with less friction than other smaller programs, due to Oklahoma not contributing as much to them as Texas does to its surrounding schools. In the end Oklahoma State made to decision to stay close to newly empowered southern Big 12 schools and take a larger cut of the smaller Big 12. 

Iowa State: Without a doubt Iowa State was in position to be the biggest victim in the breakup of the conference. They are close to the bottom of the conference in both competition and revenue, so they had no attraction to either BCS conference looking to expand. By the Big 12 staying intact, they will by default increase their income and save themselves from a further drop into anonymity by moving to the Mountain West potentially. 

Kansas/Kansas State: Due to a shared Board of Regents, both Kansas institutions were placed in a coupling throughout this entire process. Despite the attraction of KU’s basketball program, the weight of K-State was coupled with them and made them an unattractive prospective mate. K-State is annually at the bottom of revenue brought into the Big 12 and despite having some competitive programs, were never a highly desired program to move. Also potentially hindered by the developing internal ticket scalping scandal at Kansas, it works out best for both universities to stand pat in the Big 12. 

**The Other Players** 

The Pac 10: Conference commissioner Larry Scott has to be dejected at the decisions of the remaining Big 12 schools 

Texas's decision assured Scott as winner of "The Biggest Loser"

 to stay together. He had huge plan to expand his conference, which is often seen as the lesser of the BCS programs, into a perhaps unparalleled national super-conference, but ends up with a lower tier University of Colorado team as his only acquisition from the Big 12. The Pac 10 could still acquire the University of Utah to round off at 12 teams and have a lucrative conference championship game, but his grand vision of immense media support of his conference are most likely dead without Texas or Oklahoma joining their ranks. 

Big 10: The Big 10 did exactly what they wanted the whole time and added a name-brand, power program in Nebraska to their conference, which will grow their powerful Big 10 Network’s reach and make them eligible for a conference championship game, which will grow revenue as well. They also keep open the potential to grow to the east coast and leave space for Notre Dame, if they ever successful court them. A big winner in the entire scenario. 

Mountain West: The MWC was on the verge of gaining the BCS entry they so desperately have wanted for years and could have potentially broke through as a major player if they could have acquired the leftover Big 12 programs of Missouri, Iowa State, Kansas, Kansas State and Baylor, in addition to Boise State. This task could still come to be, as Boise State’s huge success could push them through, but it is going to be much more difficult and if they lose Utah, it could be a lost cause as a whole. 

Big 12 Expansion: Although they have saved the core of the conference, there is still a matter of gaining through loss that needs to be addressed. With the departures of Colorado and Nebraska, the Big 12 drops below the NCAA-required 12 teams needed to have a conference championship game. This is a financial and competition concern, as the performance in the regular season is everything now and the television and attendance revenue from the Big 12 Championship Game is removed. 

Big 12 Commish Dan Beebe deserves a cape for saving his fledging job.

These reasons could push (or force) the Big 12 to consider expansion to re-establish their championship game eligibility. No schools have been officially discussed in this scenario, but regional schools that could be considered for membership would have to be Houston, TCU (if Baylor doesn’t return the “favor”), Colorado State, BYU, Air Force or Nevada. This schools are all from smaller conferences that could stand to benefit huge from alignment with the Big 12. Time will tell, but Commissioner Beebe’s conference shows it’s grit and power by standing firm and seeing its future.

Here’s my view from the CHEAP SEATS on this weekend to this morning. The view was from here, there and everywhere.

1. VY’s Fight Club: I’m convinced that some people just don’t get it. Vince Young should be the backup quarterback for this team (behind the immortal Ben Roethlisberger). I commended Vince for being able to pull himself back from the

$58 million gets a lot of drinks, but can't pay for a shirt for the club?

brink of the crazy house to show his growth as person and player to help the Tennessee Titans rebound from a disastrous start last year. However, I pull that praise back now and realize he’s still just one step away from Ron Artest territory again. Young was arrested this weekend at a Dallas club for punching a club patron for taking the “Hookem Horns” hand gesture and putting down, as if to say “Eff the Longhorns”. Here is what Vince Young is, indisputably: a 27-year-old, $58 million dollar, starting quarterback for an NFL team….and he’s fighting over a hand gesture in a club? Seriously? It’s rumored that he scored a 16 on the Wonderlic exam when he was at the NFL Draft combine (10 is the minimum to prove literacy…..). 5 years later, I’m sure that he was having a smart day when he got that score. Once again, I call for Goodell’s Silver Hammer to slam down. At least get in those pockets. It’s all illiterate, immature, club hopping Prima donna’s understand.

2. Union Jacked: In what was hyped as the biggest game in United States soccer in decades, the US faced off against

The Softest Schoolboy of em all. The Shame of the Nation, post Geoffry Butler

England in the opening round of the World Cup this weekend. It goes a long way to speak to either the development or shortcomings of the US soccer program that an opening round game against England is a landmark matchup, but it was exciting all the same. For me, that excitement turned to comedy in a hurry. After an early goal, the US scored on a Clint Dempsey shot bounced directly off the chest of English goalie Robert Green. It seemed to be an error in placement or whatever, but then the announcer got started with his two cents, which quickly became change for a dollar. He started of calling it terrible mistake, then it evolved to “a shot that schoolboys would have blocked” and ended up (10 minutes later) described as “the softest goal that you will see on the world level.” Wow. If the World Cup is gonna be a comedy show too, we may need to get Tracy Morgan, or at least Dennis Miller, in the commentary booth to maximize this experience for me.

3. Texas 2 Step: While the world watches and waits for where the Texas Longhorns will choose as their next conference bedfellow, a few of the lesser programs in the state are going at each other’s necks. With affiliation free agency looming for Baylor and the Mountain West Conference courting them, one member of the current MWC stands firmly against this: TCU. The Horned Frogs are rumored to be filing a complaint against with the conference to block Baylor from joining. The reason is the kicker though: they just don’t like them. This goes back to the formation of the Big 12 and how TCU feels it was passed over for membership in favor of a Baylor program they felt was lesser than theirs. So now, 20 years later, TCU is attempting to return the “favor” and keep Baylor as girl with no dance partner. I sincerely hope that MWC commissioner Craig Thompson plays the role of Dana White and not only takes on Baylor, but pits them against TCU in game 1 of the 2011 season, just to make an aggressive rivalry right away for his expanding conference. This is funny, like watching your little brothers have a slap fight.

4. The Kings of Kings: It’s June, and finally the New York Yankees have ascended back to the top of the AL East. The

General Girardi is just getting all his troops together in June. The Evil Empire lives.

Tampa Bay Rays have been the undisputed best show in baseball so far, but the Yanks have finally caught up to their act and the Boston Red Sox are getting healthier and are only four games back as well. This is nothing to panic about for the Rays, as nobody was going to run away in that division, but it shows how day in and day out it is to stay relevant in sport’s toughest division. Both the Yankees and the Red Sox are batting injuries and Tampa has stayed mostly healthy, but the Yankees are without a doubt the most talented team in baseball and if they can take the lead while dealing with injuries to Alex Rodriguez, Curtis Granderson, Nick Johnson and Jorge Posada, along with a struggling Mark Texeira, this could be just a matter of the inevitable happening.

5. Know When to Say When: The once great Chuck Liddell got destroyed this weekend in his match against Rich Franklin. This is not to be unexpected, as Chuck has been past his prime for years now. However, the issue at hand is that he continues to get to prove it. For years fighters of all sorts have attempted to extend their careers with fights that happen long after their window of talent has closed, it’s almost a staple of the sport. It’s usually done to secure another pay-day to extend the lifestyles they’ve become accustomed to, but this has to stop. If the payday isn’t offered and the arena to square off in isn’t offered, then the problem is solved. Mixed Martial Arts is an extremely dangerous competition, and Dana White must evaluate the complete loss of one of his fighters receiving a potentially deadly injury, live on Pay Per View against the payout of getting one more big name fight for ratings.

**Hit and Run**

There are alternating reports of Texas being aligned to the restructure of the Big 12 & others having them out the door, it’s virtually totally speculation at this point overall……Utah is also being said to be the final team to join the Pac 10, over Texas A&M, Kansas or Baylor……Beleaguered umpire Jim Joyce was voted as the best umpire in baseball in a players poll……Larry Drew was promoted to head coach of the Atlanta Hawks this weekend, Mark Jackson and Byron Scott were also rumored……Dwayne Wade will not participate in this summer’s FIBA World Championships due to having to attend his pending divorce proceedings……The supporting cast of the Lakers could did not keep up with Kobe Bryant’s lead on Sunday night, with Pau Gasol’s 12 points being second high behind Bryant’s 38. They face two elimination games now down 3-2……Ted Lilly and Gavin Floyd matched each other with no hit bids into the seventh inning on Sunday night, with Lilly’s Cubs eventually finding a 1-0 victory.

The landscape of collegiate sports seems to be changing with each second and each hit of keyboards around the sports world. The reshaping of the Big 12  is grabbing the ear of the sports world at large. For some sports fans it’s an exciting new horizon and a revolution to the shape of the sports world. However, for some it is and exercise in extended stress and a nerve-racking experience about the future (or potential lack thereof) of their universities and favorite sports programs. The University of Missouri and it’s fans, students, administrators and alumni are in the latter of these two groups.

As an alumnus of the University of Missouri, I scale the fence between both. I make it my business to know the ins and outs of the sports world and relay them. I am an avid sports, so the possibility of new conference alignments and matchups is exciting for me in theory. However, in reality I also hold a strong alliance to the University that I spent some the best years of my life at, so I want the best for it. Currently, it’s tough to see where that can be found. There are so many different rumors, possibilities and scenarios around the University’s athletic alignment that it’s hard to separate the salt from the pepper.

Big Ten Commissioner Jim Delany holds Mizzou's best possible fate in his hands. How he plays his hand is make or break for MU.

One thing I am sure of is that the University of Missouri and it’s Tigers are both a quality school and a devoted athletic department and deserves a suitable conference alignment that reflects this. However, the non-committal statements and air of confusion from all avenues in Columbia seem to relay a feeling of justifiable worry and loss from the University as a whole, which almost yells “We don’t know where we are going to land, bring a parachute just in case.”

The Big 12 fell behind in the times and got overran, there is nothing that can change that now. Both the Universities of Nebraska and Colorado have proven this with their departures to more lucrative conferences on back-to-back days. The powerhouse programs of the Texas Longhorns and the Oklahoma Sooners most likely will not be far behind, toting with them the other universities in their local areas as well. In the midst of these power programs in formerly Big 12, sits the Mizzou, who is a bit of an anomaly in comparison.

The University of Missouri is a program that doesn’t bring the tradition of Texas, Nebraska or Oklahoma. Nor does it have a highly attractive singular program such as Kansas’ basketball program. In regards to attraction to other potential conferences, Mizzou is a tough spot in the current picking season from other conferences. The Pac 10 is not interested as it wants the programs further west and to the south for its expansion (they don’t even want Kansas or Kansas State). The SEC is also looking to stay south and to move along the Atlantic coast. This leaves the Big 10 as the next suitor, and this is also where it gets simply complex.

The Big 10 and Mizzou rumor has been the one with the longest legs. Mizzou was actually at the core of the first rumor that tabbed them accompanying Nebraska out of the Big 12. Time has passed and only half of that initial scenario has proven true. If the rest of the Big 12 breaks apart, which is virtually a vision waiting to made clear, Mizzou is a perfect fit for the Big 10. The Big 10 is based in the midwest and is a strong academic conference. Missouri fits both of these models well. But the concern is that the Big 10 isn’t interested in what Mizzou has to offer the overall growth of its conference. The Big 10 is looking to even further expand its reach and media capabilities into other areas of the U.S. The only place for them to look is to the east coast, with programs such as Rutgers or Syracuse in the New Jersey/New York area. Despite Mizzou carrying the St. Louis media area in full, it pales in comparison to the hopes acquiring northeastern media exposure. Also, there is always the possibility of saving a dance ticket for Notre Dame if they choose to join, which is a no brainer for the Big 10.

Another issue is that hand is the what happens if the Big 10 decides that they are good enough at 12 overall (the Big 10 was only that in title, as they have had 11 programs since 1990). Mizzou would be left to find its own way, which is a scary proposition for both the administration and fans alike. Mizzou cannot afford to go independent, it’s best bet would be to form an alignment with the Mountain West Conference, which is growing in reaction to major conference acquisitions and is a rumor to be willing to accept the remaining Big 12 schools. This is an uncertainty at best and puts the school in unknown territory and in a lesser viewed market that ever, sharing space with the states of  Utah, New Mexico and Idaho. The Mid-American Conference (MAC) or Conference USA would be closer regional fits, but carry even less weight than the MWC.

My hope is that Missouri finds a place in the Big 10’s plan. If the conference decides to expand to 14 schools, it could be well served acquiring a school of the Missouri’s stature, as well as it’s growing and competitive athletic department. The focus of the St. Louis and Kansas City media coverage would be an asset to the Big 10’s growth and would lock the entire midwest for its span. The increased revenue from participation in the conference (each school in the Big 10 cleared over $19 million in 2009 thanks to its Big Ten Network deal) would help to foster growth across the entire University, athletic and academic. Missouri already participates annually with the University of Illinois in both football and basketball to large crowds and nationally televised audiences. This could be further grown with competition with Ohio State, Iowa, Michigan and maintaining the 100-year-old rivalry with Nebraska.

For the time being I’ll place my trust in Chancellor Brady Deaton, President Gary Forsee and Athletic Director Mike Alden to send a message out telling us to leave our parachutes at home.

I know it’s usually the Morning Menu, but I got caught up in the sheets this morning. At any rate here’s my view from the CHEAP SEATS today (a mixture of coffee-house and sports bar)

1. The Replacements: The tone of the NBA Finals took a slight Bizarro World twist yesterday, with the Boston bench actually out playing the starters in the second half to even up the series at 2-2. Here are the totals: first ballot Hall of Famers Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen: 15 points. Role players Glen Davis and Nate Robinson, who are known as much for sideline controversy and dunk contests as scoring: 20 points. Coming into Game 4 if you said that the pair of Big Baby and Kypro-Nate would outscore the Ticket and Shuttlesworth I’d pictured a game where Kobe and Gasol were chilling with a 2o point lead on the bench. Not the case on Thursday, as the Boston’s superior depth played its role kept the wheels spinning on this back and forth series. Now after the network demanded 3 day (yet no travel…..sigh) break were back at it.

2. The World’s All-Star Break: Let’s be clear here, in the wide world of sports (cue the theme music), there is  that is NOTHING even taking baby steps towards soccer’s impact. Probably only politics, religion and death. And a few of those need to watch their back for soccer….it’s catching up. While I don’t have a high level knowledge of soccer’s stars and leagues (I plan on learning A LOT during the next few weeks), I do know that the World Cup is without a doubt one of the most exciting and intense sporting events in the entire buffet of sporting events we have the pleasure of receiving. It let’s watch an exciting, fast paced game, while rooting for your country and learn about others at once. A perfect storm of interests from sports to positive nationalism. Complete info on this specatle here.  

Think about it like the World's Super Bowl....with more helmetless headbutts.

Sidenote: If nothing else tune in on Saturday afternoon to see the United State take on the United Kingdom. The Brits have burned a flag in pregame preparation. If that doesn’t fire you up then what does?

3. Blue grass, New Yard: The Boise State football program that has both dominated the WAC for years and been BCS Bowl crasher for years now are leaving their familiar throne for a new spot in the Mountain West Conference. Before this offseason this could have been viewed as a lateral move, but now this is a strategic alignment that could place BSU in the driver’s seat of a power conference that could take the Big 12’s spot in the BCS picture. This is what Boise has pined for years now, a seat at the table in the BCS picture and with the Mountain West looking to expand and benefit from the leftovers in the Big 12 yard sale, the time could be now. At any rate, the NCAA Football scene has the random storyline of a great WWE show right now.

4. Ticket to Ride: Graciously, the NCAA has allowed players with junior or senior standing to transfer out of the USC Football program without the usual policy of having to sit out a season. This follows up yesterday’s ruling of

A third campus is possible for once heralded prospect Mitch Mustain now to finally reach his potential

postseason ineligibility for 2 years and an annual loss of 30 scholarships, which affects the current standing of these players. Incoming freshman and underclassmen were not afforded the same option due to the fact that they will still have eligibility to compete after the sanctions are lifted. Any interested schools can freely contact these players and considering the money pit of talent on the USC roster this could get interesting for Lane Kiffin’s staff. But of course it would be USC if there wasn’t an on campus circus.

**Hit and Run**

In what could be just playing their hand, the Missouri Tigers stated that they are committed to the Big 12 Conference for now, but will have to wait and see. This was most likely done to appease the Big 12’s “decision deadline”, but inner school decisions will continue……..The Oklahoma Sooners have expressed interest in joining the SEC……..Oklahoma State is said to be moving quickly towards accepting to the Pac 10’s offer due to warding off Baylor, who could force them out………The University of Texas has set a Tuesday meeting to discuss their conference move or stay decision………the Cleveland Indians promoted top prospect catcher Carlos Santana today……….Nelson Mandela did not attend the opening ceremonies of the World Cup due to the death of his Great Granddaughter on Thursday night………

It’s pretty clear that the Big 12 is at its End of Days.

Earlier today when the University of Colorado and the Pac 10 conference announced that the Buffaloes were leaving the Big 12, it officially put into motion what has been a foregone conclusion for the last few weeks. Also, as soon as tomorrow the University of Nebraska could also officially announce they are moving to the Big 10 conference, which would deplete the Big 12 North to 4 teams, Mizzou, Kansas, Kansas State and Iowa State.

The power in this move lays in the Big 12 south, where Texas resides. Texas is the most powerful program in the division and is both the most desirable program for the Pac 10 to attract and for the current Big 12 teams to stay associated with. So essentially, the Longhorns will decide the future of the now Big 11 (or 10) conference. Let’s look at a few scenarios that could play out and the result (or fallout) from them.


1. Texas Leaves for the Pac 10: This the most widely accepted theory in the several scenarios in how this could play out. It is said that the Pac 10 is looking for 6 teams to fill out their conference and to turn it into a Super Conference, in the style of Big East basketball. There is rumored to be a major media offer to be made to the Pac 10 if this happens, including a their own network in the style of the one that has been a huge financial success for the Big 10.

With Colorado committed already, this leaves 5 slots left. The rumored schools for these spots are Texas, Texas A&M, Texas Tech, Oklahoma and Oklahoma State. This would permanently deplete the Big 11, leaving Baylor to join the remaining North Division schools as independents. There is some sentiment that the Texas schools would like to stay together and that would be impossible in this scenario, with Baylor being odd man out.

All roads lead thru Texas on the future, or lack thereof, for the Big 12.

2. Texas Stays: If Texas stays the entire game changes and the Big 12 has a future. The Longhorns have made it no secret that they would like to stay in the Big 12, if it keeps its current core. Nebraska’s imminent departure could

Rumor is that legendary coach turned Nebraska Athletic Director Tom Osborne is already prepping for Big 10 move.

 shake UT’s view of this core. However, if it does not change its commitment to the conference, the Big 12 would have a chance to rebuild. Potentially, they could even add programs from other smaller conferences to rebuild the core in a different direction. Adding TCU, UTEP, North Texas or Houston would give the Big 12 South a complete state of Texas division and they could move Oklahoma and Oklahoma State to the North to replace Nebraska and Colorado. A long shot, but it could be done to hold the structure of the Big 12 together.

3. The Mass Exit: There is some presidence that Mizzou could have an offer to leave with Nebraska for the Big 10 (there is a rumor of the Big 10 wanting to expand by 3 to 4 teams). This would destroy the Big 12 North and essentially force the hand of the South teams to move west. This would fill out the remaining slots in the Pac 10 with Texas, Texas A&M, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State and Texas Tech. However, it doesn’t resolve issues for whole Big 12, with Kansas, Kansas State, Iowa State and Baylor being left to fend for themselves. Kansas State and Kansas are a package deal and cannot be separated due legislature in the state of Kansas. This makes for a whole new set of problems as these teams would be independents and there are questions as to how they would be able to survive on their own.

4. Mass Exodus with Leftovers: If 8 of the remaining 11 schools leave for the Pac 10 and Big 10 respectively, there are some major problems left for the schools that don’t have clear next step commitments now. Mizzou, Iowa

These are frustrating and unknown times of coach Gary Pinkel and the Missouri Tiger faithful as unknown players in this move.

State, Kansas and Kansas State would be left on their own in the remnants of the Big 12. The school the easiest in this scenario most likely is the University of Missouri, who could be playing a good poker face and actually have an offer from the Big 10 in hand. The others have not indicated any such offer. There is a chance the Big 10 could absorb the other schools as well, but it’s highly unlikely. Kansas’ traditionally strong basketball program makes them the most attractive, but the anchor of Kansas State, along with potential ramifications from the internal ticket scalping fiasco could handicap them. Could the MAC, Conference USA or the WAC be players for the other schools if they are left solo? This is where the true unknowns come into play.

5. The SEC: It has been rumored that the SEC could be looking to swoop in on the game here and acquire Texas A&M (as well as Virginia Tech from the ACC) to expand their reach. This is a wild card option and could be toothless due to the devotion the Texas schools have to staying aligned with the Longhorns, but if it did prove true this could open a slot for Baylor at least to jump to Pac 10 with the other South schools.

But there are is another player in the background here……as usual.

Agree with it or not, much of college football's power still surrounds this Golden Dome...

6. The Notre Dame Fighting Irish: Despite the lackluster performance of their football team in recent years, Notre Dame still has the most powerful football program in the nation, with the largest following and its own television contract. There have been rumors of them joining the Big 10 for years in football, but all have been fruitless. However, the lure of a new Big 10 Super Conference could pull the Irish into the fold. However, this seems unlikely, as the independent power of Notre Dame rivals what any conference has to offer and they already have a deal with the Big East to support the rest of their athletic department. The only thing that could force this would be if the Big 10’s deal can provide greater support to the other sports than the Big East can currently. Don’t hold your breath on Notre Dame giving up their freelance grasp on NCAA football and NBC revenues.

All in all its crazy out here with the dissolving of the BCS power Big 12. The dominoes could fall in many, many different directions, but just know they are and are going to move fast.

Here’s my view from the CHEAP SEATS yesterday (surfing the World Wide Web on a couch)

1. Avery to Jersey: The New Jersey Nets made their first on court step towards returning to mediocrity at least yesterday by inking former Dallas Mavericks coach Avery Johnson to a deal to return to the sidelines. Johnson

Probably not his fault this time Avery, have you seen the roster you're getting?

has, to say the least, a daunting task in front of him by taking on a Nets team that finished with a 12-70 record, 3 games above setting the all-time losses mark. Benefits of the position are, to say the least, that it’s highly likely they won’t get worse. However, there will be a fair level of pressure to improve this team drastically within the next few years, with the announced aggressive approach of new owner Mikhail Prokhorov, who will be active in free agency and has the #3 pick in next month’s NBA Draft. With free agent dollars, an aggressive owner and ideal re-building blocks in Brook Lopez and Devin Harris, the keys to a nice ride are in Johnson’s control.

2. TrojanGate’s Heel: After year’s of rumors, research and Reggie scandal, the NCAA is finally taking action on the USC football program. It appears that a bevy of sanctions and retroactive action will be taken against the Trojans, including a forfeit of all wins from the 2004 season, 2 year ban from postseason eligibility and  loss of scholarships. The twist on this is that this could get worse if further violations are found. These sanctions are placed before the investigation into Reggie Bush is completed, which could cause a loss of any game he participated in and the removal of both the 2004 National Championship and his Heisman Trophy award.

This is not surprising to me in any way, as the exodus from the USC athletic department has resembled the Running of the Bulls in the last few years. Key figures in this era of USC have gotten out as soon as possible, not the


 least of which being OJ Mayo, Tim Floyd, Mike Williams and Reggie Bush. However, in saving the worst for last, is Pete Carroll. Carroll, who was undoubtably the ringleader around anything that is found, bailed as soon as this investigation looked to have real teeth. This isn’t a surprise, but it’s so obvious it’s funny. Carroll was the King of LA, running the closest thing to a pro football team LA has had since 1994. Apparently, he was running it exactly like a pro team as well, finances and all. So there was little reason to leave for SEATTLE when he had a much better gig in hand already, other than to get out the fire before he got burned. Well played, I suppose. The bright side for Trojan fans: the rebuilding process was handed to model of consistency Lane Kiffin (an ex Carroll assistant) to stick it out through the tough times. Good luck and pull that arrow out your heel anytime you’re ready.

3. Chicago Hope: The Chicago Blackhawks took home Lord Stanley’s Cup last night after beating the Philadelphia Flyers 4-3 in overtime to bring the NHL’s title back to the Windy City for the first time in 49 years. The 49 years between championships was the longest in NHL history. It was a revival for both the franchise and the star who scored the clinching goal, Patrick Kane. Last season he was in a much different place after robbery and assault charges placed against him for assaulting and leaving a cab driver. While lifting the Cup doesn’t validate this, it certainly helps him move past it for the better. He’s only 21, I’ll cut him some slack. As for the Hawks, this win gives a city who knows all about championship dynasties and droughts a reason to look to the NHL for their Golden Fix. The Hawks, who fielded great teams for years that couldn’t overtake their rivals in Detroit, are finally drinking from the Cup (pause).

**Hit and Run**

There is much rumor that Nebraska has already accepted the Big 10’s offer to join their ranks…….World Cup referees are brushing up on their English curse words for the USA/UK World Cup opener……David Price is quietly reaching his potential and won his AL leading ninth game last night……the Cleveland Indians sold 1,000 tickets in a day when it was announced Stephen Strasburg would pitch his second game there sunday…….Justin Morneau has passed Mark Texeira in a tight AL first base All-Star ballot, voting closes July 1……..Tom Izzo discussed the Cavs job with his Michigan State squad on Wednesday…….presumptive #1 NBA pick John Wall signed a $25 million deal with Reebok……..Roy Halladay and Josh Johnson will face off again today in a rematch of Halladay’s perfect game matchup from last month.