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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

But other BYU personnel see independence as superior to the uncertainty of an unstable league like the Big 12.

So how do the Sooners make a decision about their Big 12 future until they know who the league could even attract?

Not that OU could automatically jump to another conference. The most stable scenario for the Sooners is moving to the Pac-12 with three other Big 12 schools to form an eastern division of a Pac-16.

Many on the OU campus want to see the Sooners join the Pac-12, and Bob Stoops has expressed continual excitement about the prospect.

But does OU want to go to the Pac-12 without Texas? The Sooners like being in a league with the Longhorns — keep your enemies closer, don't you know — but the Longhorn Network collides with the Pac-12's new network, and concessions would have to be made, at least on UT's side and perhaps on both.

The Sooners might still be interested in going to a Pac-16 with Oklahoma State and two other Big 12 members — Texas Tech, Missouri, Kansas, whoever — but does the Pac-12 want OU without Texas? That's not known.

“Certainly Texas TV would have to be accommodated,” said one Big 12 source. “What would have to happen for Texas to give up the network they've worked pretty hard to produce? I don't know.”

How can OU make a decision between trying to make a go of the Big 12 or leaving for a Pac-16, when it doesn't know what either scenario holds? Thus the waiting game.

Of course, it's possible neither scenario pans out. Possible that the Big 12 continues to spiral into disrepair. Possible that the Pac-12 wants OU only in a package with Texas and Texas won't go. Possible that Pac-12 commissioner Larry Scott is fed up with the Longhorns. Possible that the Sooners decide West isn't best if they can't go with Texas.

At that point, the Sooners would rethink their reluctance to consider the SEC. Or make a sales pitch to the Big Ten, though good luck with that.

See the problem? Circumstances prevent OU from being in decision-making mode. The Sooners are at a fork in the road. And that's where they'll have to stay until this mess starts to clear up.

Berry Tramel: Berry can be reached at (405) 760-8080 or at 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

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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