Expansion is good for web traffic. There’s zero question about that.
But expansion coverage also requires constant attention. Not unlike a chihuahua. And I don’t like chihuahuas.
So many thanks to the folks at Baylor for waiting til the last minute to toss a new glitch into everyone’s plans — including thousands of frustrated fans who are Suh-Ick of this story. Cheers to the Bears. If only I could go back in time to last Friday night and un-pull for BU’s upset of TCU.
Here’s a wrap of what was being said early — and we mean early — Thursday morning:
1. Mississippi State president Mark Keenum explained in detail yesterday how the SEC’s powers-that-be learned of Baylor’s reversal of field on Tuesday night.
2. In this must-read breakdown of a split Big 12, Texas A&M president R. Bowen Loftin loosened his bow tie and let Big 12 commissioner Dan Beebe have it for his last-minute backtrack:
“We took this letter (of September 2nd) very seriously. We asked for such a statement. They gave it to us freely. It says here a unanimous vote was taken and yet when we look at Beebe’s letter (from Tuesday) night it says: ‘No we didn’t really mean that,’ and I find that to be rather difficult to digest. …
We are being held hostage right now. Essentially, we’re being told that you must stay here against your will and we think that really flies in the face of what makes us Americans, for example, and makes us free people.”
(An aside… dollars-to-doughnuts that if someone from the University of Texas had made that statement they would have substituted the word “Texans” for “Americans.” Guaranteed.)
3. Loftin also took aim at Baylor:
“Clearly for quite some time, one school has been specifically the one trying to both bring pressure on us politically for a while and now raising the threat of legal action. In fact even calling members of the board of the SEC directly and the commissioner of the SEC directly and speaking to them and leaving voicemails for them.”
4. Beebe put out a statement yesterday confirming that his league as a whole won’t take legal action against the SEC or Texas A&M, but he won’t guarantee what individual schools might do:
“If the departure of Texas A&M results in significant changes in the Big 12 membership, several institutions may be severely affected after counting on revenue streams from contracts that were approved unanimously by our members, including Texas A&M. In some cases, members reasonably relied on such approval to embark on obligations that will cost millions of dollars.”
(That sounds pretty legit. Except for the fact Houston, Rice, SMU and TCU could have made the same claim when Baylor, Texas, Texas A&M and Texas Tech left them in the hot Texas dust back in 1996.)
5. Some claim Baylor and their Beggin’ Brethren are hoping to force Oklahoma to “remain in the Big 12 and allow the conference to continue its quest to expand and survive with its strongest members.”
6. ESPN’s Andy Katz writes that until Oklahoma agrees to stay in the Big 12, eight of the league’s nine school will not waive their right to pursue litigation against A&M and the SEC.
7. In case you didn’t know, BU president Kenneth Starr has always been a lightning rod.
8. But Baylor’s got a fan in this writer from FoxSportsSouthwest.com who says — unbelievably — that Baylor “has positioned itself as that guy standing in front of the tank at Tiananmen Square.” Uh, yeah. That’s a fair comparison.
(Anyone need further proof that the anti-expansion crowd can’t make their argument without wildly exaggerating?)
9. Gary Parish of CBSSports.com says Baylor is both desperate and right at the same time.
10. This SI.com writer says Baylor is simply delaying the inevitable in the hopes of catching a realignment ride. (Agreed. We said the same yesterday.)
11. Speaking of Washington insiders like Starr, A&M alum and former Secretary of Defense Robert Gates said, “A man’s got to know his limitations,” when asked about the Aggies move to the SEC. (“Magnum Force,” sweet.)
12. Written when it looked like Baylor would back down from its lawsuit threats, Matt Hayes’ piece from The Sporting News says mass hysteria will befall college football when A&M finally moves to the SEC. (Dogs and cats living together…)
13. The Oklahoman reports that Sooner officials have denied a report that six (now eight, according to ESPN) Big 12 schools are trying to force OU to stay:
“I haven’t heard anything about this ‘group of six.’”
14. Missouri chancellor Brady Deaton — who also happens to be the chairman of the Big 12 board of directors – pretty much admitted that Mizzou’s been talking to people in other conferences. Yep, good league you got there, Mr. Chairman.
“There’s so much discussion around the nation right now that I think there’s probably not an institution in the Big 12 that has not been in discussion with other institutions.”
15. Orangebloods.com reports that Texas, Texas Tech, Oklahoma State and Missouri “have apparently retained their right to sue but have vowed they won’t take actions against the SEC.”
16. Speaking of Texas, this writer says the Longhorn Network is to blame for the current mess.
17. And speaking of Texas Tech, that school’s president said yesterday that “things are going to be in a holding pattern” for Big 12 schools.
18. This writer for The Kansas City Star says he would dismiss any court case brought by Baylor and its Beggin’ Brethren:
“You boys didn’t lose any sleep when you left those other folk on the outside looking in. So don’t try to convince me this is anything but a blatant attempt at self-preservation now that you coots are about to be on the outside looking in. Case dismissed. Texas A&M, do as you please.”
19. Pat Forde of ESPN.com has this to say about Baylor slowing down the expansion train:
“Nobody cares about Baylor football, which is why Baylor must do everything it can to retain the big-six conference membership it got mostly through political pressure and traditional alliances. When the Southwest Conference collapsed in the mid-1990s, Baylor tenaciously clung to Texas, A&M and Tech for inclusion into the Big 12 while Houston, TCU, SMU and Rice were cut loose and marginalized as football entities. Since then the Bears have done nothing on the football field to merit keeping their place among the power elite — which is why any radical redrawing of the map could easily leave Baylor without a seat at the big-boy table.”
20. Dennis Dodd of CBSSports.com says no one looks good in this latest Big 12 snit.
21. Stewart Mandel of SI.com says that “no one (with the exception of Texas A&M) actually wants super-conferences.” Uh, well, technically A&M just wants to be School #13 in the SEC. And if the Big 12 just replaces the Aggies, all those people who don’t want super-conferences… can avoid super-conferences. I still don’t get how trading A&M for BYU, for example, would unhinge the Big 12. Especially when everyone in the Big 12 is telling the world it’s still strong as new rope.
22. So what’s up with the Big Ten’s expansion options?
23. Tony Barnhart of CBSSports.com wonders who’ll be the SEC’s 14th school.
24. CBS analyst Gary Danielson — very wisely, I might add — states that the SEC’s School #14 should be Florida State because of the school’s name recognition. (Danielson understands the business of expansion.)
25. Finally, raise your hand if you’ll sue.
And one last note…
After the events of the last 36 hours, how welcoming do you think Aggie fans will be when Baylor visits College Station on October 15th?
September 8th, 2011 02:21 AM║ Posted By: John Pennington ║ Permalink
║ Schools: Alabama, Arkansas, Auburn, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, LSU, Mississippi State, Ole Miss, South Carolina, Tennessee, Vanderbilt
Tags: SEC, SMU, TCU, Texas Tech
Expansion is good for web traffic. There’s zero question about that.