TW3 - A New Missouri Compromise

(One final rant on re-alignment by a Mizzou fan from the 1960s.)

The sun was coming up in the east on a calm Monday morning as two men climbed to the top of Memorial Stadium in Lincoln, Nebraska. The first climbed the steps energetically, obviously impassioned with the story he was relating to the second, who climbed more methodically, his head bobbing slightly with each step. As they reached the top, the first, who was known in this part of the country as The Wizard of Os (The Wiz, for short), finished the tale.

" . . . and when Ricky Williams trotted off the field, after such a superhuman effort, Corncobber fans gave him a standing ovation for his valiant effort against a force as awesome as the Blackshirts."

Bobblehead Bob, head honcho of the Big Something Conference, quietly wiped a tear from his eye and turned to The Wiz. "You have everything we want in a conference member: old school smash-mouth football, old-school smash-mouth basketball, and a stay-in-the-mold attitude toward athletics and academics. The only remaining question is, how to do this without creating a national crisis that might bring in meddling politicians to blow the deal."

The Wiz smiled delightedly. "That's why they call me The Wiz, Bob. Leave it all to me."

"Well, maybe you should let me in on your plan, since it involves the entire conference," the other man said, his head bobbing up and down in an almost irritating manner.

"Have you ever heard of the Missouri Compromise?"

"You mean in 1820?"

"That's right, at least it began there. Slavery was the issue dividing the country, and Missouri was accepted into statehood as a slave state to balance the power structure in the U.S. Senate after anti-slavery Maine was accepted."


"Well, in 1854, after Missouri had become hated by everyone that knew slavery was wrong, Congress repealed the Compromise with the Nebraska-Kansas Act making slavery legal in the entire Lousiana Purchase. And the great part about this, is that Missouri already had their name all over the slavery issue, and we never had to take the blame for anything - not even the Civil War, which was as much our fault as theirs!"

A slight smile crossed the bobbling mouth. "And that's the way you want to handle this?"


Bobblehead Bob reached out his non-bobbling hand, grasping that of The Wiz. "Go to it, and prove you are worthy of membership in the Big Something Conference."

The Wiz smiled and, as the two turned to descend the stairs, began to hum quietly, not seeing the sly, confident smile on the head bobbling before him.


I see the crystal raindrops fall
And the beauty of it all
when the sun comes shining through
To make those rainbows in my mind
When I think of you some time
And I want to spend some time with you

Just the two of us
We can make it if we try
Just the two of us
Just the two of us
Building castles in the sky
Just the two of us
You and I.


The Wiz strode into his office, nodding at the secretary importantly as he passed. "Get me that Kansas City disc jockey that likes to break news," he said over his shoulder.

Moments later, he was speaking into the phone conspiratorily: "It's my understanding it is going to sooner than anyone expects, and it is Missouri. If that scares Notre Dame into moving, then Rutgers will be added to make it 14. Maybe even Syracuse or Pittsburgh if they are willing to make it 16. Only then might we get a chance."

An hour later, after the news broke, The Wiz turned down an interview, passing the caller on th The Pearl Man, a real jewel in the Corncobber hierarchy.

"We have not been contacted," he said into the phone. "But, it doesn't surprise me Missouri is the one to jump, considering the way they are always whining about bowl assignments and revenue sharing. And look what their Governor is saying."

Hanging up the phone, the Wiz sat back and hummed contentedly:

Oo Bet you´re wond´ring how I knew ´bout your plans to make me blue
With some other guy that you knew before?
Between the two of us guys you know I love you more.
It took me by surprise I must say when I found out yesterday. Oo

I heard it through the grapevine not much longer would you be mine.
Oo I heard it through the grapevine and I´m just about to lose my mind.
Honey, honey yeah




In Columbia, Truman Tiger felt honored when he was told the Big Something was considering him for membership, and said he, like anyone else, would listen and consider any offer. "But, we are proud members of the Big 12," he added.

Walking away, Truman couldn't help but take a deep breath, letting his chest expand, as he hummed to himself:

Hey, what you want, baby I got it
What you need, mmm, you know I got it
All I'm askin' is for a little respect when you come home
(Just a little bit) Yeah, baby baby baby
(Just a little bit) When you come home
(Just a little bit) Hey
(Just a little bit)

R-E-S-P-E-C-T, find out what it means to me


The story swept across the nation, stirring athletic directors in all the major conferences to action, as ambition, consternation and excitement spread through the airwaves and across millions of internet keyboards throughout the day.

In the Big Barn in Austin, Devo the Stronghorn listened quietly as his lapdogs Reveille, the Cowdog, and the Little Pirate shared what they had learned. A slight smile played across his snout. This sounded like something the little-wizard-behind-the-corn-curtain might have come up with, he thought. Looked like it was time to play a little Texas Hold'em.

"Get hold of Okie Sooner and Dokie Later and tell them I want to speak with them right away," Devo instructed Reveille. "And, you, Pirate, boy, call that blogger dude who calls himself the Big Brown Chip and tell him I have some valuable news. And when you're done with that, get me the commissioners of the Sometimes Electric Conference, the Pacifist Conference, and the Big Something Conference."

As the two lapdogs ran off to do his bidding, Devo sat back in his chair, and started bobbing his head derisively. "Okay, boys, we'll see how good you academics are at playing cards."

Reaching over to his I-Phone, he picked a song from his favorite bug band:

You say you want a revolution
Well, you know
We all want to change the world
You tell me that it's evolution
Well, you know
We all want to change the world
But when you talk about destruction
Don't you know that you can count me out
Don't you know it's gonna be all right
all right, all right

You say you got a real solution
Well, you know
We'd all love to see the plan
You ask me for a contribution
Well, you know
We're doing what we can
But when you want money
for people with minds that hate
All I can tell is brother you have to wait
Don't you know it's gonna be all right
all right, all right


Dan the Bee Boy sat across the desk from Devo, admiring the span of the Stronghorn's rack, and the powerful physique below it. He would hate to get into a fight with this big boy, that was for sure.

"Here's the deal," the beast said, as his fearful leader listened attentively. "I've got this whole thing under control. We're going to let the Corncobbers and Colorado Shorthorns go their own way; they really can't do anything to help this conference, anyhow. I've go the South with me, and don't really care about the rest of the north. We're going to go smaller, and become richer all at the same time. Your job, if you want to keep it, is to get that new television deal right now, make sure my buddies and I from the south get more than our share of the bucks, and leave me room to free lance on my own. It needs to be done by Thursday. Call a conference meeting for then, and I'll work out the rest of the details."

"Are you sure . . ." the Bee Boy began, only to have the Stronghorn turn on him with a gaze of contempt.

"I don't snort unless I'm willing to charge," the Bull said harshly. "And I'm ready to snort!"

By Thursday, Dan the Bee Boy had accomplished his mission, saved his job, and earned the right to claim credit for saving the conference.

Preparing for the meeting, he looked into the mirror, straightened his tie and began to hum:

And now, the end is near,
And so I face the final curtain.
My friends, I'll say it clear;
I'll state my case of which I'm certain.

I've lived a life that's full -
I've travelled each and every highway.
And more, much more than this,
I did it my way.

Regrets? I've had a few,
But then again, too few to mention.
I did what I had to do
And saw it through without exemption.

I planned each charted course -
Each careful step along the byway,
And more, much more than this,
I did it my way.

Yes, there were times, I'm sure you knew,
When I bit off more than I could chew,
But through it all, when there was doubt,
I ate it up and spit it out.
I faced it all and I stood tall
And did it my way.

To think I did all that,
And may I say, not in a shy way -
Oh no. Oh no, not me.
I did it my way.

For what is a man? What has he got?
If not himself - Then he has naught.
To say the things he truly feels
And not the words of one who kneels.
The record shows I took the blows
And did it my way.


"Well, my way and the Big Bull's way," he thought as he walked down the hall to the elevator.


Ralphie, the Colorado Shorthorn stood outside the Big Bull's room, knocking for a second time. He wanted to make sure every thing was playing out the way the Pacifist commissioner had assured him it would before the big meeting ever got started.

He heard a derisive snort at the door as Devo peered out the peephole.

"What can I do for you, Son?" the deep voice asked.

Ralphie took a deep breath, and in his deepest bass began to sing:

All my bags are packed, I'm ready to go,
I'm standin' here, outside your door,
I hate to wake you up to say good-bye.

But the dawn is breakin', it's early morn,
Taxi's waitin', he's blowin' his horn,
Already I'm so lonesome I could cry.

So kiss me and smile for me,
Tell me that you'll wait for me,
Hold me like you'll never let me go.

I'm leavin' on a jet plane,
Don't know when I'll be back again,
Oh, babe, I hate to go.

"That's nice," Devo said. "Have a nice trip."

"But you're comin' along next week with the rest of the Southern guys, right?"

"Nope, don't think so. We're going to stay here."

A pregnant silence followed.

"That's not what Larry the Scot said."

"Guess you'll have to discuss that with him," the bull snorted, before walking away from the door, leaving the shorthorn all forlorn.

A few minutes later he was passing the other members of the conference sitting around the pool waiting for the meeting. Slipping into a cab, he closed his eyes and sang a different song than he had expected:

All the leaves are brown
And the sky is grey-ey
I've been for a wa-a-a-alk
On a winter's day
I'd be safe and war-arm
If I was in L.A.
California dreamin'
On such a winter's day


The meeting was called to order by Dan the Bee Boy, who immediately turned the floor over to Devo, who lounged comfortably at the head of the table. On the other end of the table sat The Wiz, waiting with anticipation for an opportunity to spring his surprise on everyone.

"You all know Ralphie has taken up surfing and is headed for the Pacifist Conference," the bull started. "And I think the top Corncobber at the end of the table may have an announcement for us as well."

The smile froze on The Wiz's face as he searched the face of his adversary. Finally, he acknowledged the presence of the other conferences, and began to speak. "After having our hand forced by Missouri and Colorado, we have agreed to join the Big Something Conference since this conference is falling apart."

"Since the conference is not falling apart, and since you have chosen to leave, we will gladly share the $15 million you have to pay to leave," Devo said with a wide smile.

"We don't owe anything if you and your southern friends go with Ralphie," The Wiz argued.

"But we have no intention of traveling to California five times a year," Devo replied.

"Maybe it is the Sometimes Electric Conference," The Wiz offered.

"Nope, we are staying together as the Big 12," the bull replied.

"That's not what I heard from the Cowdog last night."

The Stronghorn looked sternly at his lapdog, waiting for a reply. Reveille had been humming a song inwardly to himself:

Everybody's talking at me.
I don't hear a word they're saying,
Only the echoes of my mind.
People stopping staring,
I can't see their faces,
Only the shadows of their eyes.

I'm going where the sun keeps shining
Thru' the pouring rain,
Going where the weather suits my clothes,
Backing off of the North East wind,
Sailing on summer breeze
And skipping over the ocean like a stone.

"We are proud members of the Big 12," the Cowdog said, after nearly swallowing his tongue.

The Wiz turned to Truman. "How about you, Pussycat, aren't you supposed to join the Big Something?"

"I am a proud member of the Big 12," Truman said defiantly.

"But he was the one who started this whole thing, with all his whining and talk about leaving," The Wiz said a little too loudly.

It was then that Devo decided to let the Tiger learn a valuable lesson in loyalty, letting the accusation stand without rebuttal.

Dorothy and Toto from Kansas gave the Tiger a disdainful look and catlike hiss, Stormy from Iowa let out a rumbling noise and a flash of lightning, the Cowdog growled, the Little Pirate cursed, Okie and Dokie began to grumble and even the Baptist Bear had a frown on his face. Suddenly the eight rose from their seats as one and began to hit and kick the Tiger, forcing him to the floor. Devo and The Wiz, stood back and smiled at the action, letting the big cat carry the burden of their own lack of loyalty.

At first Truman cried out a defense, "I am a proud member of the Big 12. But as the blows continued to fall, he protected himself as best possible, singing quietly to himself:

Here come old flat top
He come groovin' up slowly
He got Joo Joo eyeball
He one holy roller
He got hair down to his knee
Got to be a joker He just do what he please

He wear no shoeshine
He got Toe Jam football
He got monkey finger
He shoot Coca Cola
He say I know you, you know me
One thing I can tell you is you got to be free

Come together
Right now
Over me


When the melee was finished The Wiz slipped off to the airport, Truman the Tiger crawled to his room, gathered his things and left immediately for CoMo, and the other eight gathered around the pool for a weekend of partying and splitting up Ralphie's and the Corncobbers' money.

The next afternoon, while the party continued in Austin, a completely disheveled and still hurting Truman hitchhiked into Columbia. Stopping just short of the campus on Providence, he left his luggage at the side of the road and climbed painfully to the top of Hinkson Bluff.

Pulling a small package from his vest, Truman laid out 8x10 black-and-whites of Hi Simmons, Dandy Vine and Norms Tuart. He then removed 8x10 full-color pictures of The Visor, The 40-Minute Man, and Tremendous Stubble. Staring at the six pictures, he began to think more clearly. Standing, he turned to the west, looking out over Hinkson Valley as the sun began to set.

He began to suck in air, expanding his lungs and bulging his chest into a true, Tigerlike stance. Loudly he began to sing:

A winter's day
In a deep and dark
I am alone,
Gazing from my window to the streets below
On a freshly fallen silent shroud of snow.
I am a rock,
I am an island.

I've built walls,
A fortress deep and mighty,
That none may penetrate.
I have no need of friendship; friendship causes pain.
It's laughter and it's loving I disdain.
I am a rock,
I am an island.

And a rock feels no pain; and an island never dies.

As the final words of the song echoed across the valley, Truman began to inhale, expanding his massive chest beyond imagination. For just a second he held the air in, before letting it explode out across the western plains:



Two men stood near the top of Memorial Stadium in Lincoln talking. The one who's head bobbled continually spoke first.

"Good job; we may make an offer to the Tiger someday and, if he is smart he will take it. For now, we have to wait for The Catholics to see what they will do. By the way, your request to be called The Wiz was turned down by the other schools. They have decided to just call you Tommy, which, at least is better than being called the Top Corncobber."

"I have history behind me, you know," Tommy said in hope of changing the other's mind.

"Not in our conference," Bobblehead replied. "From now on you are just the least and last of twelve teams; talk to me again after a few years, maybe things will change then."

With that he turned and left the other man with his thoughts.

Tommy watched his new leader fade from sight and continued to stare out over the stadium that he had built. Suddenly a tremendous roar came out of the east, blowing his hair nearly off his head, and leaving him deaf, dumb and blind.

Knowing nothing else to do, he raised his head as if to sing, and began to silently emote to the best of his ability:

See me
Feel me
Touch me
Heal me
Listening to you I get the music
Gazing at you I get the heat
Following you I climb the mountain
I get excitement at your feet
Right behind you I see the millions
On you I see the glory
From you I get opinions
From you I get the story

Halfway across the parking lot when the roar swept through, Bobblehead Bob was knocked to the ground and, when rising, found that the springs on his head and one eye had been stretched out of shape, leaving him looking cockeyed and walking sideways. When he reached his car, he grabbed the cell phone and put in a prayer request for healing to Notre Dame.


The roar swept across the west, knocking Ralphie off his surfboard; he had to be revived by a couple of male lifeguards and refused to enter the water again.

The roar turned at the sea and swept back across the southern half of the country, causing teams in the southeast to make note to look up the Tiger if they ever needed another member.

The roar swept up the east coast, leaving those teams grateful they did not have to deal with such a savage beast on a yearly basis, and then on to the upper midwest, leaving teams wondering what it might have been like to have the Tiger on their side.

Finally the powerful sound settled over CoMo, shaking the houses and reverberating down the halls of the dorms.

Students and staff came out of their homes to stand in the streets and, as if directed by an unseen hand began to sing:

Every true son, so happy hearted,
Skies above us are blue,
There's a spirit so deep within us,
Old Missouri here's to you (rah rah!);
When the band plays the Tiger war song,
And when the fray is through,
We will tramp, tramp, tramp, around the columns,
With a cheer, for Old Mizzou!

Hit it, Hooray, Hurrah,
Mizzou, Mizzou,
Hooray, Hurrah,
Mizzou, Mizzou,
Hooray, Hurrah,
And a "Bully" for Ol' Mizzou,
Rah, Rah, Rah, Rah,
Mizzou-rah, Mizzou-rah, Mizzou-rah,

Truman heard the answer to his call, picked up his hallowed pictures, and headed toward campus. There was work to be done before the new season.

That Was The Week That Was!


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