By Jim Schutze
By Rachel Watts
By Lauren Drewes Daniels
By Anna Merlan
By Lee Escobedo
We were teased with dreams of Texas-Southern Cal. With Alabama visiting Kyle Field in College Station. With the formations of four superconferences. But now, the flirting is over. Back to the same ol' same ol', like her or not. Yeah the Big 12 lost some weight here and maybe got a boob lift there, but it's still her. Pass the comfort food. Yawn.
Starting with the 2011 season the new Big 12—for now the league is keeping the name—will have a nine-game schedule, no December championship game at Cowboys Stadium and less clout around the nation and in the polls. Off the field there are fences to be mended.
Texas A&M athletic director Bill Byrne infamously got into it with a frustrated fan tired of being bullied by Texas. Missouri has some 'splaining to do after its governor, Jay Nixon, disparaged the academic credentials of Texas Tech. And Oklahoma State benefactor T. Boone Pickens basically told the Tigers not to let the door hit them on the way out of the conference when Missouri's wanderlust seemed certain to take it to the Big Ten.
It's a feud. But, for now, it's also still a family.
Said Texas Tech chancellor Kent Hance, "We don't necessarily agree with every decision, but we're part of the family."
According to Beebe, all is right for the foreseeable future. While some consider the motions that reconstituted the Big 12 to merely be a stay of execution, he prefers to refer to them as a renewing of the vows. So strong is the new Big 12 that Beebe says schools like Arkansas and Houston and even Notre Dame are wasting their time sniffing around for an entrance to the club.
"At this point in time, and based upon all the feedback from our membership, expansion is dead on all levels," he said. "There's no interest in looking at expansion."
The Big 12 in 2010-11 is a lame-duck conference that refuses to quack.
So now do you believe in magic?
Or are you too naïve to even know you've been duped?