For a brief, fleeting moment we saw a glimpse of Texas' vulnerability Thursday.
If you blinked you missed it. A gust of wind caught UT's skirt and revealed some of its unmentionables.
There was a time not long ago when TCU to the Big 12 would have been a dealbreaker for the haughty 'Horns. Why give little brother a chance to recruit against and -- gasp! -- possibly beat mighty UT?
And the thought of giving up on those Longhorn Network high school games? Never!
Turns out those issues were just bargaining chips. Backed into a corner, all-powerful Texas backed down. But it got want it wanted Thursday -- the Big 12 whole and the perception that Texas once again saved it.
You didn't even have to look closely during the rat-a-tat-tat of press releases. First, TCU was invited to the Big 12. The Frogs now have a chance to turn loose those Lone Star State recruits that got them to the Rose Bowl on Texas.
Then there were glowing recommendations from the power elite: Suddenly, Texas and Oklahoma cared about TCU's academic and athletic diligence in getting to this point. It was their joint resolution. Those two schools' names will appear in every story and on every TV report in the country. Shrewd. Smart. Even industrious TCU hasn't figured out how to do that. Yet.
The league also agreed to the much-discussed all-in media rights for six years. Texas said it didn't need to show those high school highlights on LHN. Remember, that damn high school television presence that caused Texas A&M to bolt? Suddenly, not a big deal.
A day of "salvation," and none of it would have happened without Texas. That's the image we're left with. Actually, none of it would have happened without some sizable pushback from interim commissioner Chuck Neinas and Oklahoma president David Boren.
Someone stood up to Texas, finally. The school's administration figured out to get rich, you have to exist in a conference. The Big 12 might not perfect, but it's a league and it's a hell of a lot better for Bevo than independence.
Going indy means a BCS bid becomes a lot tougher to achieve. It means scheduling problems.
How many noticed that the Big 12 got worse, in stages, over the past 16 months? Did we forget where Texas A&M, Nebraska and Colorado play now? Did you forget Missouri is on the brink? This time the league essentially traded Texas' sprawling land-grant giant (A&M) for a private school with an enrollment of 9,000.
As for Missouri, Thursday's actions told me that the Big 12 is ready to move on. If Missouri is going to stay, it's going to have to agree to all the new rules. Leverage shifts quickly, and suddenly, Missouri has less of it. The SEC thing is beginning to shaky with a report that there isn't exactly unanimous approval for the Tigers among SEC presidents.
Some dumb Missouri source also said that the school's first choice is the Big Ten. That can't sit well with SEC CEOs.
But it's a happy day in the Big 12, because the Big 12 continues to exist. Thanks, Texas. Wonder if Nebraska, Colorado and A&M would have voted for this?
Of course they would. This didn't have to happen. But these are desperate times that could be upon us against soon. Those grants of rights last only six years. That's plenty of time for the landscape to shift, for Texas to have second thoughts about sharing LHN with ... the Pac-12.
Meanwhile in Fort Worth, the week started with an ugly snit with SMU. It ended, for TCU, in football heaven.
One man's, well, strumpet is another man's industrious worker bee. TCU becomes the first school to leave a conference before playing a game in it. Thanks, Big East, we hardly knew you. No, really. The departure of the Frogs puts the Big East on life support.
Do you care? Texas doesn't. Neinas doesn't. TCU sure as hell doesn't. But the Frogs deserve the Big 12 if for no other reason than they didn't quit trying to get there. Left out of the original Big Eight/Southwest Conference expansion, the school then charted a course to make itself as marketable as possible.
"I think the best thing is, we won our way back," said author Dan Jenkins, a TCU alum and college football historian. "We made them take us. It's a good deal all around, including the time zone. Now people will know whether we won or lost on Saturday nights."
Little did Jenkins or anyone know it would take 16 years and five conferences for TCU to get back to this point. The conclusion: The school didn't give up. The reality in this contentious climate: TCU is a warm body at the right time. And the Big 12 might actually be 12 soon again.
Boren: "There could be other additions in the future."