Now that the Big 12 has survived, who are the winners and losers?
→WINNER: January football — OU's and Texas' road to the national championship game just got a lot easier, with no Nebraska and no Big 12 title game. Remember the long-time Big 12 refrain that if it had to play a title game, every league should have to play a title game? That argument will be reversed, now that the Big Ten is likely to add a title game and the Pac-10, too, if it adds another school.
→LOSER: December Football — We're about to discover what a huge platform the Big 12 championship game provides. While the SEC, ACC and soon Big Ten (and maybe the Pac-10) plays a showdown on the final Saturday of the regular season, the Big 12's championship game will have been played two months earlier, in the Cotton Bowl.
→WINNER: Oklahoma State — The Cowboys move up the Big 12 food chain one notch, with the departure of Nebraska. Easier to get to good bowls.
→LOSER: Big 12 North football — The North schools have been struggling even though they get five games against each other and only two or three a year against the South dobermans. Now they get five games a year against the South dobermans. Better soften up the non-conference schedule as best they can.
→WINNER: Dan Beebe — The maligned commissioner was ridiculed only a few days ago as a weak leader whose league was crumbling. Now he's the man who saved it.
→LOSER: Conference Status — A 10-team league that's top-heavy with OU and Texas, with Iowa State, Baylor, Kansas and Kansas State at the bottom? The Big 12 clearly will be ahead of only the Big East in reputation.
→WINNER: Loyalty — OU and OSU can sleep easier at night, knowing it didn't effectively ruin the athletic departments of old friends Kansas, Iowa State, Kansas State and Missouri.
→LOSER: Conference Stability — OU and OSU can't sleep too easy, knowing the conference is built on sand. What if the projected revenues don't come to pass? What if the Big Ten eventually warms up to Missouri? What if A&M rethinks the SEC? And will the cushy Plan B of the Pac-10 be available next time?
→WINNER: Kansas City — Without a Big 12, there is no Big 12 basketball tournament, and KC's new Sprint Center — without an NBA or NHL tenant — was about to lose its marquee event. But now the tournament can remain in Kansas City and bring millions of dollars to KC coffers.
→LOSER: Oklahoma City — OKC has been effectively shut out of the Big 12 basketball tournament. The Pac-10 offered a chance to get back into the hoops rotation.
→WINNER: Big 12 North (plus Baylor) Comfort — Kansas, Missouri, Kansas State, Iowa State and Baylor were about to be left behind, with a shambles of a conference and nowhere good to go. But now the Big 12 lives, apparently with increased revenues, and the almost-forsaken have a home.
→LOSER: Jerry Jones — The Big 12 gave his stadium the conference title game through 2013, but 2010 will be the final Big 12 championship game unless the league expands or NCAA rules change.
→WINNER: Texas A&M's Manhood — In the end, the Aggies not only publicly stood up to Texas, they ended up with the final decision. Jumping to the SEC could have triggered the mass exodus for the Pac-10 by at least four other schools.
→LOSER: OU Manhood — The Sooners publicly let Texas run interference on the potential conference shakeup and make the decision on staying. OU no doubt was more involved than it appeared, but in the end, A&M seemed to think for itself while the Sooners didn't.
→WINNER: Traveling Fans — More drivable games for OU and OSU fans. You can drive to Columbia and Ames. Can't drive to Tempe or Tucson.
→LOSER: Television Fans — You can drive to more games, but the games aren't as good once you get there. More Texas-Kansas and Oklahoma-Iowa State games does not make for great television.
→WINNER: Mike Gundy's Scheduling — Gundy always has wanted to scrap the championship game and play every team in the league. Now he's got his wish.
→LOSER: SEC — The SEC seemed on the verge of getting Texas A&M and forging a niche in the rich recruiting grounds of Texas. Now, the SEC remains just outside the nation's best high school football state.
→WINNER: Southern Cal — While recovering from a major NCAA probation, the Trojans were faced with beating OU or Texas, some years at JerryWorld in Arlington, to reach the Rose Bowl.
→LOSER: Big 12 Parity — OU and Texas have dominated the league for a decade, but at least there was hope that Nebraska could find its footing and make a football Big Three. And Colorado has had its moments during the Big 12 era. Now, fewer teams than ever can challenge the Sooners and Longhorns.
→WINNER: Big 12 Budgets — If Beebe's promised riches for a new television contract hold, the television revenues for most schools will more than double. That's transforming for schools like OSU, Iowa State, Kansas State and Texas Tech.
→LOSER: Pac-10 — The Pac-10 seemed on the verge of transforming the collegiate landscape. Now, all the Pac-10 has done is add Colorado.
→WINNER: Arizona schools — Arizona State and Arizona were about to join the Big 12 South, which would have been a steep upgrade from its current Pac-10 schedule.
→LOSER: Vengeance — Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon's crack about OSU's and Tech's academics now will go unpunished. In the Pac-10, Tech and OSU would have had the last laugh.
→WINNER: Texas Power — The Longhorns maintain their kingpin status in the Big 12 and lose their gadfly, Nebraska. The Longhorns held the league hostage, then stayed in the Big 12 with even more revenues and power.