Who's the commissioner/savior/magician of the Big XII Conference, David Blaine?
In a death-defying, last-second escape that would make the famed illusionist proud, Big XII commissioner Dan Beebe has somehow kept his league alive and, I think, well. Lured to stay put by the carrots of doubled TV revenues, Texas and Texas A&M - after weeks of flirting and threatening to leave to ports east and west - committed Monday to remaining in the Big XII.
The result: The Big XII is now the Tepid Ten, a leaner conference that was almost ripped apart at the seams 24 hours ago. Without Colorado (to the Pac 10) and Nebraska (to the Big Ten), the Tepid Ten will forge into the future with a few tweaks:
*For the next two seasons - Colorado leaves in 2011 and Nebraska in 2012 - it'll be a lame-duck league. Weird.
*Since the NCAA mandates at least 12 teams for a conference championship game, after 2012 the Tepid Ten will have no divisions and only a regular-season champ. Sucks for Cowboys Stadium, which had the game through 2013.
*Texas, which will see its TV revenue push $25 million per season, is free to pursue its own Longhorn Sports Network. It's Beebe's persuading ABC/ESPN and Fox Sports Net to commit to the conference that, in the end, held it together.
*In a leaner, reconstituted league, Baylor had best be writing its thank-you notes today. The Bears were a heartbeat away from a homeless shelter.
After all is said and done we know this: Chip Brown of Orangebloods.com kicked the ass of ESPN's bumbling reporter Joe Schad up and down the conference realignment street, Texas and Texas A&M can hate each other again, and with a 10-year committment we won't face this Armegeddon for at least another decade.
Now we just need a name.
The Artist Formerly Known as the Big XII?
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The Tepid Ten?
The TeXas Conference?
The Ten Commandments?
No? We're open for suggestions. Fire away.