Missouri and Oklahoma: still conference rivals for a while longer. (Photo via Bill Carter.)
So when the "Mizzou to SEC if Big 12 falls apart" rumor spread yesterday, I joked to The Beef via email that the worst-case scenario now is the Big 12 managing to stick together and Mizzou fans turning into Texas A&M fans circa 2010. Sure enough, it took about six hours to reach "worst-case scenario" territory. Gauging by how certain message boards are reacting this morning, you would think that Brady Deaton just doomed Missouri to a century in Division II.
Make no mistake: I'm all for changing conferences at this point. There are two main reasons for that: 1) learning what stability feels like would be fantastic, and 2) The New is always intriguing to my "What If..." brain. The thought of getting to know (and hate) an entirely new set of rivals ... of welcoming Alabama or LSU to town on an annual basis ... of getting to make trips to Oxford or Baton Rouge on an annual basis ... these things are very appealing. But no one can deny that Mizzou has thrived athletically in recent years; clearly this dysfunctional conference has not managed to hinder the Tigers, and while the money could be a bit better elsewhere, we're doing just fine here. A move is welcome, but a move is not required. We should probably keep that in mind. Or ... you know ... demand Brady Deaton's head on a stick. Your choice.
(And besides, there are worse things in the world than remaining conference rivals with Oklahoma. As with Nebraska, it's just now becoming fun...)
The View From The National Level
- SB Nation (SELF-SHARE!): Morning Tailgate: Conference Realignment Continues, And Here's What We Know Right Now
The Missourian: Full text of Larry Scott statement, David Boren response
For those interested, here is the full text of Pac-12 Commissioner Larry Scott’s statement from Tuesday night:
In light of the widespread speculation about potential scenarios for Conference re-alignment, the Pac-12 Presidents and Chancellors have affirmed their decision to remain a 12-team conference. Pac-12 Commissioner Larry Scott said, "after careful review we have determined that it is in the best interests of our member institutions, student-athletes and fans to remain a 12-team conference. While we have great respect for all of the institutions that have contacted us, and certain expansion proposals were financially attractive, we have a strong conference structure and culture of equality that we are committed to preserve. With new landmark TV agreements and plans to launch our innovative television networks, we are going to focus solely on these great assets, our strong heritage and the bright future in front of us.
And here is Oklahoma President David Boren’s response:
We were not surprised by the Pac 12′s decision to not expand at this time. Even though we had decided not to apply for membership this year, we have developed a positive relationship with the leadership of the conference and we have kept them informed of the progress we’ve been making to gain agreement from the Big 12 for changes which will make the conference more stable in the future. Conference stability has been our first goal and we look forward to achieving that goal through continued membership in the Big 12 Conference.
New York Times: Pac-12 Decides to Stay at 12 Teams
In the Big 12, Boren, Oklahoma’s president, and Texas’ president, William Powers, have been the key figures in the conference’s turbulence and potential revival. But the Missouri chancellor, Brady Deaton, the chairman of the Big 12’s board, has emerged as an integral figure in the conference’s struggles.
Although Deaton is trying to balance conflicting interests of the Big 12’s members to keep the conference together, he is also feeling internal pressure to move his university to a more stable home in the Southeastern Conference. Missouri has been in touch with the SEC, although no formal invitation has been issued.
It is widely understood that Missouri would be the SEC’s preference as its 14th member, but the SEC is also not interested in appearing to further bludgeon the Big 12. (Texas A&M has been accepted as the SEC’s 13th member, pending legal clearance to leave the Big 12.)
"The president of Missouri is working a deal to keep this conference alive," another Big 12 official said. "He’s actively, actively working to keep this thing together."
- SI.com (Andy Staples): Pac-12 happy to sit out this round of realignment
- Dr. Saturday: The Pac-12 takes a pass: A new realignment FAQ, starring another death-defying Big 12 escape
- Pre-Snap Read: The Pac-12's Simple, Perfect Idea
- CBS Sports: Conference realignment road map: Sept. 20
College Football Talk: For the love of college football, stick together, Big 12
[T]he Big 12 needs to go in a new direction once Dan Beebe’s new contract extension ends, not solely because of Oklahoma’s demands, but because everyone in the conference needs a change. Last month, I said Beebe did a good job holding the Big 12 together last summer. I may have *mumblemumblemumble* little misguided *mumblemumblemumble* sorry *mumblemumblemumble*.
It’s tough to change old habits, and Beebe catered to Texas last summer, plain and simple. We’ve seen very clearly that’s no way to keep the Big 12 together.
But to keep college football from spiraling further into nonsense, the Big 12 needs to stick together. It may not keep some conference shifting from happening — the Big 12 might even be the one who expands — but the whole four 16-team superconference hellraiser has in no way been good for college football.
The View From Missouri
The Trib: Pac-12 decides against expansion
Chancellor Brady Deaton had insisted all along that Missouri’s preference was a viable Big 12, and despite lingering tension and issues of inequality, the Big 12 now appears capable of survival and could pursue expansion to push its membership from nine to 10 or perhaps 12. The SEC’s interest in Missouri was believed to hinge on the Big 12’s dissolution, and Tuesday’s news from the Pac-12 dispels that scenario, for now.
- The Missourian: That sound you're hearing: A pulse for the Big 12
Post-Dispatch: Pac-12 says it will not expand
Post-Dispatch: Big 12 gets reprieve as Pac-12 decides against expansion
- KC Star: Source says MU has informal offer from SEC (updated)
The View From Oklahoma
- Daily Oklahoman: Boone Pickens: Big 12 isn't dead; Texas A&M 'sobering up'
Daily Oklahoman: Pac-12 stays put, limiting options for OU and OSU
It was not immediately clear Tuesday night if OU's demands were met or if the Sooners overplayed their Pac-12 opportunity.
"We were not surprised by the Pac-12's decision to not expand at this time," Boren said in a statement, though that seemingly contradicts Boren's statements Monday.
"Even though we had decided not to apply for membership this year, we have developed a positive relationship with the leadership of the conference and we have kept them informed of the progress we've been making to gain agreement from the Big 12 for changes which will make the conference more stable in the future.
"Conference stability has been our first goal and we look forward to achieving that goal through continued membership in the Big 12 Conference."
- Tulsa World: OU, OSU lose option as Pac-12 closes door on expansion
The View From Texas
Orangebloods: The Big 12 lives after Pac-12 says no to expansion
Multiple sources confirm to Orangebloods.com that the Pac-12 notified key members of the Big 12 early Tuesday that it would not expand, causing the nine remaining members of the Big 12 to begin working feverishly to iron out differences.
No one expects Texas A&M to remain in the Big 12. A&M officials declared again Tuesday they plan leaving the Big 12 after this season (for the Southeastern Conference).
One of the first steps the nine-member Big 12 took was to notify Big 12 commissioner Dan Beebe the league members want a change in leadership, sources said.
Missouri chancellor Brady Deaton led the charge on Tuesday after the Pac-12 notified Oklahoma that its members would not accept OU and Oklahoma State without Texas, sources said.
The Longhorns, who had been hoping the Big 12 could stay alive from the beginning, got the news early Tuesday from Pac-12 commissioner Larry Scott that he didn't have the votes to expand.
- Burnt Orange Nation: Pac-12 Will Not Expand... For Now
- Austin American-Statesman: No move to Pac-12 for Horns; conference is staying put
The View From Out West
- Eugene Register-Guard: Pac-12 decides NOT to expand
- Pacific Takes: The Pac-12 Stays The Pac-12, Says No To Texas
Coug Center: Pac-12 Officially Declines Expansion (For Now?)
Honestly, the more I've thought about it, the less attracted I've become to the idea of a 16-team conference. I don't often agree with Jim Walden, but I did tonight -- I don't trust Texas. The Longhorns will always be about themselves, and one of the things that I think has made the Pac-10/12 great is the stability over the years. Nobody has left the conference since the conference that would become the Pac-8 was formed in 1964. Arizona and Arizona State joined 14 years later, and Utah and Colorado joined 30-plus years after that.
The conference is a model of stability. You could say that hasn't always been a good thing because the conference hasn't been as aggressive as it could have been in the past, but in this case, I think leaning toward stability is wise. The ACC is panicking, so it struck first. The Big East is now panicking. The Big 12 is on the verge of either collapse or becoming some kind of zombie conference that will add a team or two that ultimately lowers its overall profile just to stay alive.
- Mercury News: Pac-12 Conference: League announces it will NOT expand
The View From Big East Country
USA Today: Big East meets amid United Nations conference
"Our schools basically went around the table and pledged to each other that they are committed to move forward together. The fact that all of our schools in less than 24 hours notice came here to New York to meet with us showed that they are committed to move forward together and they want to hear what we have to say in order to keep us together."
One official in the Big East who requested anonymity said that was not an accurate assessment of the sentiment in the room. The official said league schools are committed to recruiting more schools but did not make any pledge to remaining in the league until it's clear what the league will look like.
- CBS Sports: Navy nearly to Big East before Pitt, SU exited
- College Football Talk: Big East looking to Air Force, Navy?
Card Chronicle: The conference realignment soap opera as it stands
All this is the equivalent of Say Yes to the Dress for men. I've grown to hate both equally.
The View From Big Ten Country
ZagsBlog: Paterno Mentions Rutgers to the Big Ten
"I don’t know where we’re (Big Ten) going to end up," Paterno said. "There might be even some speculation that Penn State maybe ought to get into something different or we ought to try to go out and get some people from the East to come into the Big Ten, that we maybe ought to solicit Jim Delany and some of the leaders of the Big Ten, ‘Hey, why don’t we go take a good look at Syracuse and Pitt?’
"Now that they’re out of it, ‘Why don’t we take a look at Rutgers?’ and take a look at somebody that we can bring in from the East so that the Big Ten doesn’t end in State College."
The View From SEC Country
- Roll Bama Roll: Missouri Reportedly Receives Unofficial SEC Offer
- Team Speed Kills: CBS: Both SEC and ACC Rejected West Virginia
- College Football Talk: SEC presidents endorse informal agreement with Mizzou
The View From Mid-Major Country
The Sports Arsenal: Conference Realignment -- Back to the Future?