DeLoss Dodds stood in a Kansas City hotel hallway this week and told the truth about conference realignment as only a straight-talking Texan can tell it.
"We didn't start this," said the Texas athletic director. "But if we need to finish it, we'll finish it."
I think Texas is ready to finish it, and here's how.
Nebraska has a deadline.
When Big 12 commissioner Dan Beebe emerged from a presidents meeting Friday and talked about a "process" by which the league will decide how to sort the dalliances of some schools with the Big Ten, what he meant was, Nebraska has been called out.
I don't know for sure. I wasn't in the room. But I've talked to people who know what they're talking about. And this is about Nebraska.
This isn't about Missouri. Nobody cares about Missouri. Stay, go, drop football, get mad all over again that the Insight Bowl invited Iowa State. Doesn't matter.
If only Missouri leaves the Big 12, the league is fine. Heck, the league thrives. TV revenues wouldn't go down, plus there's one less mouth to feed. Heck, the NCAA might even give the Big 12 a waiver and let it keep the football championship game.
This is about Nebraska. Everybody cares about Nebraska. Nebraska helps make the league go. Without Nebraska, Texas' and Oklahoma's enthusiasm for the Big 12 wanes.
Which is why I believe Beebe gave Nebraska chancellor Harvey Perlman a deadline Friday. Stake your claim. Are you with the Big 12 or not? Are you staying or are you waffling?
I don't know if the deadline is next week or next year, though I've got to believe it's closer to the former.
But here's what's at stake. If Nebraska won't commit — and mere words won't do it; we're talking legally-binding document — then a big chunk of the Big 12 is out the door. Probably to the Pac-10, which apparently wants the Oklahoma schools, Texas, Texas A&M, Texas Tech and Colorado.
"Finishing" it (Dodds' words) won't be easy. Leaving Kansas without an apparent landing place will cause political problems. Some think Congress might even stick its nose in the door.
But even if the road was cleared for the six to join the Pac-10, devilish details will emerge. Starting with, who's in charge of football officiating? I need not say more.
Football and basketball scheduling, leadership structure, bowl alliances. Those will be some long nights at the table.
I really believe the six would prefer to stick it out in this part of the country. I believe Dodds when he says Texas, which drives the boat, likes things just the way they are.
Wouldn't surprise me if all kinds of Oklahomans and Texans called Nebraskans, from football coaches to state politicians, saying don't turn your back on tradition and history and roots. Don't cash in the known and the revered for the unknown and riches.
But if Nebraska won't commit by the deadline, the Big 12 is finished.
Berry Tramel: 405-760-8080; Berry Tramel 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.