The saber rattling has reached deafening levels.
It's louder even than that cannon at Kyle Field.
What began earlier this week as talk has become reality — Texas A&M is headed to the SEC. That's what Oklahoma folks in the know believe, saying the Aggies might really be leaving the Big 12 for the SEC. That's what all signs point toward, with Texas A&M moving up its board of regents meeting a week to talk conference alignment Monday afternoon.
Those sabers? They're not only rattling but also knifing into the Big 12.
What will become of the conference?
More importantly, what will become of Oklahoma and Oklahoma State?
Just because Texas A&M is making all the noise doesn't mean it is the only one doing anything. Yes, talk from Norman and Stillwater has been limited. Sure, that might be cause for concern among Sooner and Cowboy faithful. But rest assured, OU and OSU aren't going to get caught flat-footed.
They weren't sitting around doing nothing a year ago when conference realignment rocked college athletics.
They aren't just sitting around now.
I know people would like to hear more from OU and OSU. Several of you indicated as much in comments about a Texas-A&M-to-the-SEC post on my blog. You worry because you never hear a peep out of them. You fret because you perceive that as a sign of a laissez-faire attitude.
That couldn't be further from the truth. Sooner and Cowboy brass may not say much, but that doesn't mean they aren't doing anything.
Think back to last summer. Nebraska and Texas and Texas A&M were the ones doing all the talking, but when all was said and done, we found out just how active the locals were.
OU athletic director Joe Castiglione lobbied like mad to keep the conference together. But at the same time, OU was in serious discussions with the Pac-10, trying to find the Sooners a soft landing spot should the Big 12 dissolve.
OSU mega-booster Boone Pickens worked behind the scenes, too. He wanted to make sure that OSU could hitch itself to the OU and Texas wagon train. Wherever they were going, the Cowboys were coming along.
Frankly, there's every reason to believe that the locals are doing same sorts of things right now — trying to keep the conference together but working on a backup plan just in case.
You have to think that backup plan is the Pac-12.
(Does anyone really believe the Big 12 is going to be held together by adding Houston?)
Back when it was still the Pac-10, Larry Scott and Co. made a play for OU, OSU, Texas, Texas A&M, Texas Tech and Colorado. The Buffs weren't intertwined like the other five schools are, so they made a unilateral decision to head west. When the rest of the schools decided to stay put, the conference rounded out its lineup by adding Utah.
But now with A&M going headlong toward the SEC, it seems natural that OU, OSU, Texas and Texas Tech would join the westward expansion.
Scott would have to ditch all that new Pac-12 stationery, but I bet the commish would make the sacrifice.
A bunch of OU types wanted to join the Pac-10 a year ago — and what Sooner leaders love, Cowboy leaders love, too — and I suspect they still have those West Coast phone numbers on speed dial.
Rest assured, Sooner and Cowboy faithful. Just because the talk out of Norman and Stillwater hasn't been as loud as College Station doesn't mean there have been no serious discussions about what happens next.