You can't kill this conference. Not with strychnine. Not with switchblades. Not with Dr. Kevorkian.
The Big 12 is back. Just like the cat sitting on the porch, the very next day. Big 12? Big 9 Lives (rhymes with jives) is more like it.
This league is the good guy in the old Westerns who gets riddled with bullets but staggers to his feet and still stands at movie's end. One hundred bullet holes and no blood.
Wounded League Walking. The Big 12 stands again.
For how long? Depends. With whom? Depends. Led by whom? Don't know.
But the OSU-A&M and OU-Missouri ballgames Saturday no longer can be billed as Pac-16/SEC showdowns.
The Sooners and Cowboys and Longhorns and Tigers and Red Raiders are staying in the Big 12. We're going to try to make a go of this conference again.
Groundhog Day III.
Only this time, rather than talk about stability, Big 12 leaders hope to create stability.
Maybe that will keep us from this chaos again next year. June 2010. August/September 2011. Buzzards circled the conference both times. Took Nebraska and Colorado a year ago. Took A&M this time.
OU, OSU, Texas and Texas Tech could have gone to the Pac-12. Missouri could have gone to the SEC.
Instead, they're back at the bargaining table, trying to turn this conference into something they can stand to live with.
Which is why the Big 12 presidents' teleconference Thursday is so important. OU's David Boren, Missouri's Brady Deaton and OSU's Burns Hargis have tried to round up the votes and the charm to change the Big 12 culture.
Run commissioner Dan Beebe out on a rail. Get mean old Texas to play a little nicer around the neighborhood; share a little wealth, quit letting ESPN rub The Longhorn Network in everyone's face.
Reforms, they're called. No more high school content on BevoTV. A little more equitable revenue sharing, a million dollars here, a million dollars there, which don't mean much in Austin, Texas, but go a long way in Ames, Iowa, and go a long ways in making everyone feel a little better about this chain gang they're stuck with.
Multiple sources say Texas seems willing to compromise a bit. Nothing like the Pac-12 asked. The Pac-12 wanted its conference network to swallow up BevoTV, and if UT had gone for that, it would be the Pac-16 today.
But the Pacific crowd wasn't crazy about just OU and OSU, and OU and OSU weren't crazy about a Pac-14, and so here we sit, with this old cat that you can't kill.
If Texas capitulates on a few items, if all the league members sign away in blood their revenue rights, which means the Big 12 retains your money even if you jump leagues, then the groundhog is gone.
No more conference carousel. Opportunity to expand to 10 or 12 (12, 12, 12, please 12) with BYU or TCU or Air Force or West Virginia or whoever. Everyone can take a deep breath.
But if Texas doesn't capitulate, if Texas plays ‘Hornball, here we go again, next spring, or next summer.
OU will be shamed, stripped of both of its stated goals: Pac-12 or a reformed Big 12. Missouri will be SEC-bound. The Sooners and Cowboys will reassess and could end up no telling where, including the nowhere Big 12, clinging with the rest to a life-raft of a conference that you just can't kill.
Berry Tramel: Berry can be reached at (405) 760-8080 or at