by Berry Tramel Published: September 25, 2011
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A&M is gone. Missouri, with those nifty uniforms and hard-core coach and untapped potential, will decide soon enough whether to do the same.

Then the Big 12 can get down to, in the words of Gordon Lightfoot, pickin' up the pieces of its sweet, shattered dream.

The illusion that 10 schools could work. That swimming upstream in the second decade of the century was the way to go.

When even old-fogey conferences like the Pac-10 and Big Ten gave in to modernism and expanded to a dozen schools and instituted a championship game, the Big 12 believed it would prosper by going backward.

Old school is fun to wear on a T-shirt. It's not any way to live life. Progress or regress. Those are this conference's options.

And now that the schools in this Big 12 chain gang are stuck with each other, might as well make the best of it.

Best is 12. Not 10. Twelve.

Ten schools in the Big 12 would send the same signal it sent a year ago. That the Big 12 is short-term. That its holdovers want to milk what they can out of this conference, with no concern about its long-term viability.

Remember how long the 10-team Big 12 lasted: 15 months.

Now the Big 12 has an interim commissioner, and Chuck Neinas says in conversation with some athletic directors, the league still seems to think 10 is the best number.

By that you assume he means one AD, Texas' DeLoss Dodds, who has said he prefers 10.

It's possible that Dodds doesn't really care. That he likes 10 but isn't passionate one way or the other. It's also possible that Neinas has learned who his new boss is.

But clearly, the Big 12 would have the votes to go back to 12.

Presidents David Boren of OU and Burns Hargis of OSU both said last week they preferred going back to 12 schools, and even Bob Stoops endorses a dozen.

The old North Division schools have to be in favor of 12, because a championship game gives them a take-your-best-shot at the title. Otherwise, in most years they would have to beat OU and Texas, plus maybe OSU and whoever else. Good luck with that.


by Berry Tramel
Columnist
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...
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