Down in Brazos County, the Aggies have bowed up. Bowed up and stood up to the hated 'Horns.
Texas A&M will not go to the Pac-10 just because Texas says so. In fact, A&M might go to the Southeastern Conference just because UT said not to.
The Pac-10/SEC debate can get irrational through the Aggie prism. A&M seems to be saying it would rather lose to Alabama and LSU than Texas and Oklahoma.
But just because the Ags are kooky doesn't mean they're wrong. Would the Big 12 South schools leaving Dead League Walking be better off aligning with the SEC than the Pac-10?
Certainly some Sooner fans think so. Judging by rampant e-mail, the Pac-10 is the least popular option, trailing some kind of Big 12 salvation (which has a faint pulse, depending on commissioner Dan Beebe's television proposal today) and the SEC (no chance).
You can't blame the fans. The SEC is a siren song. The nation's best football conference. And the most-hyped.
Plus, marching in step with the Longhorns rubs OU the same way it rubs the Aggies. Wrong.
But the Pac-10 clearly is the best landing spot for both the Sooners and Oklahoma State. And here's why.
Maybe the best part of the Pac-16 proposal is the Big 12 South cohesion. Take all five South schools that matter into another league, and you're not entering alone.
Most of the vital rivalries are preserved. I know OU has been going to Lawrence and Manhattan and Ames for almost a century, and OSU's been going for half a century, but let's be honest. With Nebraska gone, every rivalry of substance for OSU and OU resides in the South.
OU-Texas. OU-Tech. OSU-A&M. OSU-Tech. Those are the games that matter more than OU-Missouri or OSU-Kansas.
Plus, familiar faces are seated at your table. There is strength in numbers; you know your voice will be heard. Maybe we shouldn't say this too loud, but the Pac-10 doesn't know what it's in for with Texas and Oklahoma in negotiations.
The Longhorns (intimidation) and Sooners (diplomacy) do it differently, but they are much more effective together than they would be apart.
I don't know anything about the Pac-10 cliques, but you put OSU, Tech and A&M with Texas and OU, and the Big 12 walks into a Pac-16 with power.
You don't get that in the SEC with, say, OU and A&M going in together.
Some proposed OU, OSU, A&M and Texas joining the SEC, which doesn't account for the Tech problem, but even if you could pull it off, that leads to a problem a lot bigger than a voting bloc.
Bring four Big 12 South schools into the SEC, and here come the infidels. You don't think LSU and Arkansas and Alabama have been camped out in Shreveport, barbarians at the gate waiting for access to the Texas recruiting patches?
The SEC schools now can offer only a few games close to the fertile Texas talent fields. But A&M might soon let them in, and multiple Big 12 defectors could trigger a full invasion.
An SEC schedule would be fun and challenging, though the SEC has its weak (Mississippi State, Vanderbilt) and mediocre (South Carolina, Kentucky, Arkansas) just like every other league.
But a Pac-16 offers fun and challenges, too, with more fringe benefits.
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.