Is Nebraska on the clock?
Berry Tramel: Nebraska is the most important cog in all of this conference realignment talk. If Nebraska bolts for the Big Ten, all bets are off.
DeLoss Dodds stood in a Kansas City hotel hallway this week and told the truth about conference realignment as only a straight-talking Texan can tell it.
"We didn't start this," said the Texas athletic director. "But if we need to finish it, we'll finish it."
I think Texas is ready to finish it, and here's how.
Nebraska has a deadline.
When Big 12 commissioner Dan Beebe emerged from a presidents meeting Friday and talked about a "process" by which the league will decide how to sort the dalliances of some schools with the Big Ten, what he meant was, Nebraska has been called out.
I don't know for sure. I wasn't in the room. But I've talked to people who know what they're talking about. And this is about Nebraska.
This isn't about Missouri. Nobody cares about Missouri. Stay, go, drop football, get mad all over again that the Insight Bowl invited Iowa State. Doesn't matter.
If only Missouri leaves the Big 12, the league is fine. Heck, the league thrives. TV revenues wouldn't go down, plus there's one less mouth to feed. Heck, the NCAA might even give the Big 12 a waiver and let it keep the football championship game.
This is about Nebraska. Everybody cares about Nebraska. Nebraska helps make the league go. Without Nebraska, Texas' and Oklahoma's enthusiasm for the Big 12 wanes.
Which is why I believe Beebe gave Nebraska chancellor Harvey Perlman a deadline Friday. Stake your claim. Are you with the Big 12 or not? Are you staying or are you waffling?
I don't know if the deadline is next week or next year, though I've got to believe it's closer to the former.