Don't leave mad, the Big 12 told Colorado. Just leave.
So the league Colorado wanted to leave and the school the league didn't want negotiated a buyout that leaves us with the stone, cold truth.
Big 12 football in 2011 will include just 10 teams.
Which I guess is a good thing. An 11-team, lame-duck season would have been a scheduling nightmare. Some teams playing eight conference games, some playing nine.
That nonsense was averted with the Colorado compromise. CU will forfeit $6.863 million in conference payouts so that it can jump to the Pac-10.
Nebraska (speaking of leaving mad) is gone to the Big Ten, as we knew, for the price of $9.255 million, so that's a tidy $16.118 million for the rest of the league to share.
Is that enough money for more bad football?
The Big 12 will start playing a nine-game conference schedule; every team will play every team every year.
Which sounds good until you put it under a reality light.
Here's what it means for OSU and OU and every South Division school. More Big 12 games. Fewer good games.
I know, that makes no sense in this age of rumdum nonconference games. But it's true.
OU and OSU will play the Texas schools, as always. And OU and OSU will play all four remaining North schools, instead of the current format of three of the six from the North. Except Nebraska's not in the equation.
So you've traded in Nebraska half the time for a Kansas and Iowa State all the time. Or a Missouri and Kansas State all the time. Where's the attraction in that?
Worse yet, the nine-game schedule is making schools adjust their nonconference schedules.
OSU already has stated plans to cut back on strength of schedule. A series with Purdue has been scuttled. More to follow, probably.
OU plans to keep its marquee matchups (Florida State, Notre Dame, Ohio State, Tennessee, LSU, etc.) but dial down the other two games. No more Air Forces or Cincinnatis or Fresno States.
Again, tell me how this makes for better football. Tell me how this makes the Big 12 more attractive to the television networks.
No Nebraska and Colorado means more Texas-Iowa State games. More Oklahoma-Kansas games. More Kansas State-Baylor games.
Ouch. Jot out a possible 2011 Big 12 schedule, and you quickly realize this is a league crying out for an infusion of decent football.
Look how top-heavy the Big 12 seems in 2010, with OU, Texas and Nebraska a mighty gulf apart from the rest of the league. And soon it will lose one of those heavyweights.
I said it in June, I say it now. I think the Big 12 has to expand to stay relevant. Has to find two good football programs to replace the Huskers and Buffaloes.
Some combination of Arkansas (pipe dream), BYU (religious restrictions), Louisville (slumping program), TCU (financially imprudent), someone from the Big East, just anyone that can make you want to watch Big 12 football outside a certain game in the Cotton Bowl.
Don't believe it? Put it to the test. Think about these games.
Texas at Nebraska. Nebraska at OSU. Missouri at Nebraska. Nebraska at Texas A&M. Nebraska at Kansas State.
Five really intriguing games between Oct. 7 and Nov. 20. Next year, those games are gone, replaced by nothing. Replaced by Texas Tech-Kansas State. Texas A&M-Missouri. Iowa State against whomever. Baylor against whomever.
It's enough to make you call Nebraska and Colorado and say, don't leave mad. In fact, don't leave at all.
Berry Tramel: Berry can be reached at (405) 760-8080 or at firstname.lastname@example.org. He 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. You can also view his personality page at newsok.com/berrytramel.