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Let's count our blessings that we still have Bedlam and Red River rivalries

Collateral damage has mounted through the realignment craze of the last 21 months. Trust is gone. So is geographic sense. But nothing has taken a hit like rivalries.
by Berry Tramel Published: March 5, 2012

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The temporary Big 12 configuration speeds to its final signature event, the conference basketball tournament, which convenes Wednesday and includes a Texas A&M-Texas women's quarterfinal and a hoped-for Kansas-Missouri men's final.

A salt-in-the-wounds tournament.

Until West Virginia and TCU jump aboard and we start focusing on what we've gained, this week will amply remind us of what we lost.

And how lucky we are down in Oklahoma.

Collateral damage has mounted through the realignment craze of the last 21 months. Trust is gone. So is geographic sense. Soon enough, the Big East might be, too, as a viable football league, if not in totality.

But nothing has taken a hit like rivalries. You know, the bitter feuds that spice sport.

The worst result of realignment will be lost rivalries. What has the athletic marketplace come to when Kansas doesn't play Missouri, or Texas doesn't play A&M? When Georgetown and Syracuse don't share a hoops conference, or West Virginia and Pitt can't find rooms in their schedule for the Backyard Brawl?

Which is why the Oklahoma schools have emerged with few scars in these tumultuous times.

Lay aside devotion to the Big 12. Discount any SEC or Pac-16 aspirations. Forget the conference alignment portion of conference realignment.

And focus on the simple question of who our schools will play.

OU-Texas lives. Bedlam lives. The rest is just details.

University campuses promote themselves as fortresses of wisdom and deep thought. But such a notion falls flat when Kansas and Missouri no longer share a basketball court, or Longhorns and Aggies no longer share a football field.

You want civility? You want common sense? Go to the pros, where neither pride nor ego could get in the way of the Yankees playing the Red Sox, or the Packers playing the Bears.

I'm not here to take sides in the KU-Mizzou or A&M-UT conflicts. I'm just here to say we're blessed that our treasured rivalries remain intact.

Yes, OU-Nebraska died, but truth is, the Sooners allowed the rivalry to wither, which in part ignited the Huskers' disenfranchised feeling. In other words, while realignment led to the end of KU-MU or A&M-Texas, the end of OU-Nebraska in its meaningful form led to realignment. Kansas-Missouri dies a sudden death; OU-Nebraska gradually faded away.

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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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