The Big 12 trudges on with 10 schools. Which means we've now got on our hands a conference with a name that makes no sense.
But the Big 12 name is almost certain to survive for pragmatic reasons.
For better or worse, the Big 12 is a brand. It's not the Big Ten, didn't come over on the Mayflower, but Americans know the Big 12 means Texas, Oklahoma and whoever else happens to be a member these days.
And changing the name at this juncture would be a sign of weakness. It would be an accurate sign, but you don't want to confirm what everyone from Beano Cook to Tommy Tuberville is saying.
Finally, you leave the Big 12 name intact because you never know; maybe some day the league again will have 12 schools, at which point Big 12 supporters can say, "See."
Of course, the very best reason to keep the Big 12 brand is that no worthy successor has emerged.
The Big 12 has been the topic of much re-naming talk, and both the serious-minded and the wisenheimers have fallen far short of clever.
There are lots of suggested names off the Texas dominance theme. Bevo and Pals. Texas and the Nine Dwarfs. Texas and the Pips.
Lots of suggested names off the precarious nature of the alliance. The Ripe For Picking Conference. The Life Support Conference.
The Marriage of Convenience Conference. The Endangered 10.
If alliteration is mandatory, the Tentative Ten. The Timid Ten. The Temporary Ten.
No winners in that crop.
The catchy names are either too long (the We Know Better Than to Use Numbers in our Name Conference) or too truthful (the Flyover League) or too combative (the Bigger 10).
The best I've heard is the Beebe Bunch, named in honor of commissioner/savior Dan Beebe. You've at least got a theme song. Here's the story, of a lovely Longhorn...
The geographic names are too blah and too restricting.
The Red River League is completely accurate (you schools in the North don't matter) but is a turnoff to future prospects.
The Great Plains Conference is one step up from Flyover League.
The Heartland Conference sounds like a confederation of churches.
Heck, I'd vote for Southwest Conference over all those. At least it's got a little history.
Sad to say, creativity has slipped mightily since the 1994 formation of the Big 12, when our readers suggested all kinds of great names that frankly, with a little adjustment, would fit today.
Here were my 10 favorite ideas from 16 years ago.
10. The Magnificent 8 & Their Stepchildren. This could be modified to Texas & Their Stepchildren, or better yet, the Big 12 South & Their Stepchildren.
9. The 12 Guys.
8. Big Foot.
7. Not Quite a Baker's Dozen. Now just drop the Baker's. Not Quite a Dozen Conference.
6. Grapes of Wrath. Call me crazy, but I love it. The Grapes of Wrath League. Any conference with the word "wrath" in its name is intimidating. The championship game could be called the Dust Bowl.
5. The Wild West. Doesn't work great now, but the Wild West would have been a great name for the Pac-16.
4. Big Eight & Who? League. What goes around comes around. Now it's the Texas & Who? League.
3. Tornado Alley. I like this better than the Grapes of Wrath. The Tornado Alley League. Are you kidding me? You don't think UCLA or Florida State would be watching the skies if a cloud appeared in the third quarter in Austin or Norman? Same as if the Pac-10 changed its name to the Earthquake Conference. Never hurts to plant a little worry.
2. Duncan's Dirty Dozen, named in honor of Big 12 co-founder Donnie Duncan. Doesn't really work now because Duncan wasn't much involved in the salvation of the Big 12, but this is a cousin of the Beebe Bunch.
1. Poison Ivy League. I liked it then. I like it now.
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.