When Texas A&M athletic director Bill Byrne was asked about the report on orangebloods.com that six Big 12 schools were targets for invitation to join the Pac-10 Conference, Byrne brought some much-needed levity to the wildfire of conference realignment.
"You actually believe I read orangebloods.com?” Byrne said about the Rivals site of the University of Texas. I'm in Byrne's band. Never read orangebloods.com. So I can't comment on the credibility of the Rivals website. But I can comment on what should happen if it's true. Acceptance. The Oklahoma schools, UT, A&M, Texas Tech and Colorado should say yes to the offer. I wrote about this last Sunday, except I had Kansas in the mix. A consortium with the Pac-10 is exactly the long-term solution needed for many of the Big 12 schools. All the brave talk — including from OU athletic director Joe Castiglione — about keeping the Big 12 together doesn't fix the population problem. Lack of people north of Texas means a lack of television sets and lackluster TV money. Which means something has to give. Joining forces with the West Coast population centers solves that problem for the Big Six. A divisional format, with the Arizona schools merging with the defecting Big 12 members, is a solid compromise on travel concerns. Please get over the notion that OU and OSU are headed to Oregon and Washington on a regular basis. The league could play a nine-game football schedule; teams would play divisional foes every year and two others, one home, one road, which would mean one trip to the Coast per year. Basketball could play as much or as little crossover as desired. Other sports could stick mostly to divisional play. An Oregon State-Oklahoma State tennis dual is not in anyone's future. And presto, you've got a conference that appeals to television. Some tradition and conference ties are preserved.