The Big 12 can't rest on its laurels, which means the Sooners and Longhorns. Nebraska and A&M are irreplaceable at this point; there are no easy fixes. The Big 12 has to build back its status.
That means with the continued rising profile of the likes of OSU and Missouri, plus adding name-brand programs and helping them get even better, be it TCU or West Virginia or BYU or Boise State.
Stay at 10, and the Big 12 championship game most seasons – not 2011, of course – will be played in early October in the Cotton Bowl. Stay at 10, and the Big 12 looks like an old-fashioned league that's been surpassed by every other major player in college football.
Heck, just think about how most of America perceived the Pac-10 and Big Ten not long ago. Stagnant conferences that lived in the past. More worried about the Rose Bowl than getting with the program.
“The model of 10 had great potential,” said OU athletic director Joe Castiglione. “You had those 10 together, you had something special.”
But this is not debatable. The Big 12 no longer has those 10. The Big 12 no longer has something special.
This league has to do something different.
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.