The clock ticks down. The Big 12 could die, maybe as early as Friday, as Nebraska's deadline looms. Nearer My God To Thee. Some lament, wondering what will happen if the league gives up the ghost. I wonder what will happen if the Big 12 lives. You want chaos, let these schools stay together 10 more minutes. Someone might torch a campus. How did this happen? How did the Big 12 become so dysfunctional? I guess I had my head in the sand. Didn't realize those early resentment days of the 1990s never fled. They instead festered, to where now a regal man like Tom Osborne will have to fight against emotion in deciding the fate of his Cornhuskers. To where a Baylor regent is calling Nebraska names, as if the Bears haven't been on Big 12 welfare since entering the league. Nebraska resents Texas' arrogance. South Division success vexes the North. Policy made 15 years ago remains a sore spot in some Big 12 ports. The question isn't why this league might splinter. The question is, how did it stay together this long? Some have ripped Big 12 commissioner Dan Beebe, which is like blaming the U.N. for the Gaza Strip horrors. These Hatfields and McCoys were feuding long before Beebe rode up on his stallion. The truth now is clear. This league worked only on a business level. These members never meshed. Here on the 38th parallel, this Everyman's Land of Oklahoma, where our schools are in the middle of this conference geographically and historically, we didn't sense the volatility. But it was oh so real. And we should have seen it coming. This was a marriage of convenience. The Texas schools needed a home. The Big Eight schools needed television sets. Those votes back in the mid-'90s — to distribute half the TV revenues based on appearances, to place the conference office in Dallas, to limit the partial academic qualifiers — reverberate still. Heck, votes still chap the North, with Nebraskans hacked off at the announcement last week that the football championship game will be anchored at JerryWorld through 2013. Think about that. The Big 12 has staged 14 championship football games. Seven have been played in Missouri. Seven in Texas. The league has finally given in to common sense and placed the game where the weather is assured, in maybe the finest stadium in the world, and some in the North take it as an affront, even though Kansas City got the basketball tournament through 2014. What's Beebe's job description? Firefighter? The truth of the matter is, the North resentment stems from two prime sources: Longhorn arrogance and South Division dominance. The 'Horns can be insufferable, but you've got to give UT this: Its leaders don't monkey around. They don't play games. What you see with athletic director DeLoss Dodds is what you get. This was a marriage of convenience, but it wasn't a shotgun wedding. No one forced the Big Eight schools to take Texas. UT laid out its demands, and the Big Eight voted aye. And if the North had stayed good in football, the cold winters wouldn't be nearly as long. But in the 2000s, the South Division has taken over. OU and Texas have won the last six football titles. Nebraska has fallen on hard times. Colorado, too. Kansas State rose and fell again. Missouri can't get any respect from even the Insight Bowl. Plus, the South dominates most sports except men's basketball, where Kansas is a North beacon. So it's come to this. Nebraska thinking long and hard about the Big Ten, and Missouri standing with hat in hand, hoping the Big Ten throws a life raft. The schools in this league aren't partners. They're sharing office space. They aren't the 12 musketeers. When it comes to North/South, they're all for none and none for all. And why should they be anything different? Texas A&M didn't play a football game in Boulder until 1995. Tech didn't play in Manhattan until 1998. Texas didn't play in Ames until 1999. Contrast that with the SEC (Alabama first played at Vanderbilt in 1903) or the Big Ten (Michigan played Northwestern in Chicago in 1892) or the Pac-10 (Oregon State first went to Berkeley in 1905). Those schools have been brothers for more than a century. These schools met late in life and didn't like each other from the get-go. And you want these ruffians to keep going to counseling? If you're Kansas State or Iowa State or Kansas and your options are few, OK. Tough it out. But everyone else? This is no way to live. With Baylor regent Buddy Jones referring to Nebraska as "a bunch of corn shuckers.” With conspiracy theories running wild over Texas' title-game victory over Nebraska. With schools setting deadlines and making threats. Turns out, this was a conference designed to fail. And now its mantra is obvious. Better off dead. Berry Tramel: 405-760-8080; Berry Tramel can be heard Monday through Friday from 4:40-5:20 p.m. on The Sports Animal radio network, including AM-640 and FM-98.1.