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Big 12 is the conference that refuses to die

by Berry Tramel Published: September 21, 2011

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.

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by Berry Tramel
Berry Tramel, a lifelong Oklahoman, sports fan and newspaper reader, joined The Oklahoman in 1991 and has served as beat writer, assistant sports editor, sports editor and columnist. Tramel grew up reading four daily newspapers — The Oklahoman,...
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