OU plays the waiting game with Texas A&M leaving

Berry Tramel: Sooners won't be able to decide their own fate until conference realignment mess clears up
by Berry Tramel Published: August 31, 2011

With all due respect to Yogi Berra, when you come to a fork in the road, sometimes you can't take it. Sometimes you have to let the road come to you.

Which brings us to the University of Oklahoma's relationship with the bruised and battered Big 12 Conference. OU no longer controls its own destiny.

Texas A&M is high-tailing it out of the league, same as Nebraska and Colorado did a year ago. And OU's options will be formed by circumstance somewhat out of its control.

Do the Sooners stick it out in the Big 12? Depends on other factors.

Do the Sooners make a run for the Pac-12 and jump aboard the Super Conference Express? Again, by definition, it all depends.

This time, the Sooners can't make a decision and then make it the right one, which usually is a superb way to conduct business.

This time, the Sooners have to play the waiting game. Which for the next week or so could lead to frustration.

“That's probably natural given the weeks of drama,” an OU official said, referring to another summer of Big 12 shakiness. “Everyone is understandably getting tired of the speculation and feelings of instability.”

Some leaders have worked tirelessly to keep the Big 12 viable, including athletic directors DeLoss Dodds (Texas), Joe Castiglione (OU) and Bill Byrne (A&M).

But Byrne finally gave up the ghost in the face of mounting Aggie pressure, and who knows if Dodds and Joe C. can find further solutions. Or even want to anymore?

Do they try to salvage the Big 12, and if so, with whom? Notre Dame and Arkansas remain pipe dreams.

So next on the list is Brigham Young.

Does the Big 12 even want BYU? The feelings are split. Some see BYU as a bona fide balm, a football program with an excellent tradition and a national fan base. Others think it's ludicrous to add a school that one Mountain West Conference source said can be difficult to deal with, a school with a primary mission of advancing the Mormon church.

Of course, who says BYU wants the Big 12? The Cougars left the Mountain West this summer for football independence and have signed a lucrative television contract with ESPN.

Some in Utah see clearly that BYU needs affiliation with a league that can provide access to major bowl games. The Cougars have horrific bowl agreements (Armed Forces Bowl in 2011, Poinsettia Bowl in 2012, Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl in 2013) no matter their record.

And BYU's four post-September home games this season are San Jose State, Idaho State, Idaho and New Mexico State.

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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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