Tag:Kansas State
Posted on: October 5, 2011 11:29 am
Edited on: October 6, 2011 10:22 am

Living in the Big Doughnut Hole

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Welcome to the Big Doughnut Hole.

This used to be the center of the college universe. At least one of them. This city still has hosted more Final Fours (10) than any other. It's a Chiefs town first and a Jayhawks town second. Most of all, it's a melting pot with a sizable amount of Iowa State, Nebraska, Missouri alums here as well.

We have the NFL and Major League baseball (barely) but it's a college town more than anything. A better college town than New York or L.A. We are connected by our teams and events. They give us our sense of self.

The annual Big 12 basketball tournament is a gathering place to drink, gossip and people watch. The Missouri-Kansas football game at Arrowhead is an event that traces its roots back to the Civil War. Kansas, and all its basketball history, is 40 miles away. Bill Snyder is still working miracles down the road at Kansas State.

But with Missouri declaring its intentions to look around on Monday night, suddenly there is no center here. Just a big hole where that gathering place used to be. You can feel it. To the right of us, probably soon, will be the SEC (Missouri);  a short three-hour drive to the north of us is the Big Ten (Nebraska). To our left will be what's left of the Big 12 (Kansas and Kansas State).

Kansas City could become a great staging area for GameDay's equipment semis in the Midwest, but for the actual college experience, it's slipping away. The Big 12 tournament is now in danger. It will continue, somewhere. But it has to be hard to anchor a conference tournament in a state where the league has no teams.

The Kansas-Missouri rivalry is now in danger too. That's another shame. After the Iron Bowl and the Red River Rivalry, it is the best.

A few years ago, they moved MU-KU football to Arrowhead Stadium and it became a spectacle. In 2007, No. 2 Kansas lost to No. 3 Missouri and the Tigers became No. 1. ABC/ESPN still counts the game among its most highly-rated in history.

But like that Wicked Witch, it's all melting away. I know this because Bill Self didn't hold back Tuesday when Missouri declared its intentions

Kansas' basketball coach told the Lawrence Journal-World that the MU-KU series may be over.

" ... I don't think I would be interested in having a once-a-year game like I did when I was at Illinois, playing Missouri," Self said. "I could probably change my mind (but) trust me, we would have no trouble finding a non-league game to play.

"I love the rivalry .. but I can't imagine why would we continue playing?"

Which is sad because the basketball series goes back to 1907. The football series goes back to the 1890s. Kansas, like a lot of folks in Kansas City and the Big 12, are upset at Missouri. By taking its ball to the SEC, it would be impacting that Big 12 tournament. It would damage the Kansas rivalry.

Point being: Why put money in Missouri's pocket by playing a non-conference game?

"I have no ill will toward Missouri at all," Self said, "but to do something at a time that could be so damaging and hurtful to a group, I can't see us just taking it and forgetting ."

If this is truly the end , then someone may want to hire extra security for what could be the final regular-season Border War game in history -- Feb. 25 in Lawrence. Forget the fans for a moment, there are scores of sportswriters who would shed tears over the end of this epic rivalry.

We are losing that sense of self here in Cowtown. Clearly, Missouri administrators don't care. The SEC doesn't care. The networks will continue to televise games. They don't care.

Conference realignment goes on unabated. Traditional rivalries are being cut down like rainforests. Our natural habitat is being destroyed. Is this a good thing for college athletics? No, that's not really the point.

Interim Big 12 commissioner Chuck Neinas called modern conferences "scheduling opportunities" and "amalgamations". I called them "content farms."

Now it's hitting home. It would suck to be a doughnut hole.


Posted on: September 25, 2011 8:55 pm
Edited on: September 26, 2011 7:58 pm

On A Football Saturday: UNM considering Leach?

So, would New Mexico consider Mike Leach?

The answer seems to be a resounding yes. Within minutes of releasing the statement that announced the firing of Mike Locksley, New Mexico AD Paul Krebs texted his qualifications for the new coach.

Head coaching experience is strongly preferred. Ability to recruit in Texas is a virtual must. Also, ties to the Albuquerque area will be considered.

Leach qualifies for all three. He spent a decade at Texas Tech recruiting Texas. Lubbock qualifies as having area ties. It is 320 miles from Albuquerque.

Don't sleep on this situation. New Mexico's interested. Is Leach?

--A quarter of the way through the regular season these are surprising undefeated teams:

Baylor: Robert Griffin III has more touchdown passes, 13, than incompletions, 12.

"A young man like Robert Griffin, it's like you're playing with 13 people," said Rice coach David Bailiff after Saturday' 56-31 loss to the Bears.

Houston: In his sixth year of eligibility, Case Keenum is now the third-leading passer of all time

Illinois: The Illini are 4-0 for the first time since 1951, the year they won a national championship in something called the Boand System.

Clemson: Give Dabo Swinney a microphone, he'll scream into it. Tigers have early advantage in the ACC Atlantic after beating Florida State.

Georgia Tech: Another Paul Johnson classic. A route of Kansas, followed by a late win over North Carolina. Can we just go ahead and call that offense the hardest to play against in the country?

South Florida: While the Big East agonizes over membership in the future, the Bulls are the league's only undefeated team right now.

Florida: Chris Rainey and Jeff Demps are finally becoming a fearsome <>combination<> under Charlie Weis.

Kansas State: Bill Snyder still has some magic left. The same Wildcats who almost to Eastern Kentucky at home, stopped Miami at the 1 to go 3-0 for the 16th time in Snyder's 20 seasons.

--That "Big 12, Big 12" chant by Oklahoma State fans Saturday at Texas A&M. It was as much a taunt as pride. Okie State probably didn't know that one A&M fan was waving a giant SEC flag at Friday's midnight yell practice ...

--Don't know what this means: The top six rushers in the country are from six different conferences ... The top two rushers in the Big Ten are quarterbacks: Denard Robinson (168.67 yards per game), Nebraska's Taylor Martinez (105.25) ... Anyone notice conference play is beginning? ...

Blowing by you on the bayou: This just in at LSU. The Tigers are incredibly fast ... Also, Oklahoma State is incredibly resilient: "What this comes down to is I thought our team was in better physical condition by a long shot," said coach Mike Gundy. Game time temperature was 91 degrees accompanied by bright sunshine. Pokes gave guts and character. Can't wait until the Bedlam game Dec. 3 in Stillwater ... Oklahoma hadn't trailed in 20 consecutive home games until falling behind Missouri 14-3 in the first quarter ... Clemson has gained at least 455 yards in all four games. Quarterback Tajh Boyd has consecutive 300-yard passing games ... The Big Ten went 8-2 on Saturday but the two losses were embarrassing. North Dakota State beat Minnesota for the second straight season. North Texas got by Indiana ... West Virginia gave up its most points in six years in LSU's 47-21 rout ...

Who says you can't win committing seven turnovers? East Carolina did it, beating Alabama-Birmingham 28-23 ... Southern Miss has beaten Virginia in consecutive meetings ... SMU and South Carolina have the best conference records in FBS, 2-0 ... Toledo had a 22-play drive against Syracuse and settled for a field goal. Sure, it got screwed on that extra point that Big East on-field and replay officials ruled good (it wasn't.). But the Rockets would have done themselves some good by punching it in the first quarter.

--This week's Heisman ballot: 1. Robert Griffin III, Baylor; 2, Marcus Lattimore; South Carolina; 3, Kellen Moore, Boise State; 4. Denard Robinson, Michigan; 5. Brandon Weeden, Oklahoma State.

If Steve Spurrier ever gets a big head -- how could that happen? -- all he has to do is watch this 45-year old tape from the Ed Sullivan Show. Ed obviously didn't know who Spurrier was or his school. Miami? 
Posted on: September 22, 2011 4:24 pm
Edited on: September 23, 2011 12:01 pm

Missouri expected to stay in the Big 12

Indications are that Missouri will stay in the Big 12, a source within the league said Thursday.

Two newspapers reported this week that Missouri seemed to be the favorite to become the SEC's 14th team. The Kansas City Star reported Missouri had an offer on the table from the SEC. The Birmingham News reported that Missouri had "informally agreed" to join the SEC.

Deaton is the current chair of the Big 12 CEOs who one Big 12 source called "an extremely honorable man". Given several chances to commit to the reconstituted Big 12, though, Deaton and other Missouri officials did not commit fully to the league at a Thursday evening press conference. Despite speculation that Deaton would step down as chairman -- a sign of Missouri's interest in the SEC -- he remains in that position as the conference seeks new members.

The Big 12 began to solifidy again this week when the Pac-12 announced late Tuesday it would not expand after widespread speculation -- some of it created by the participating schools -- that at least Oklahoma and Oklahoma State were headed west. The source said Thursday that at "all levels" -- board of curators, athletic director, etc. -- indications are that Missouri will stay in the conference that has been its ancestoral home going back to 1907. That was the year Missouri joined its first conference in the Missouri Valley along with Nebraska, Iowa, Kansas and Washington University.

That league eventually became the Big Six in 1929, Big Seven in  1948, Big Eight in 1960 and Big 12 in 1996. 

All of this comes with a huge disclaimer: Nothing seems to be final in conference realignment. For Missouri, joining the SEC would mean an end to some of those long-term relationships. Committing to the Big 12 would allow the league to go forward with nine teams as it seeks more schools to expand to 10 or 12 teams.

If Missouri eventually pledges allegiance then the league could move forward on Baylor and other conference schools releasing their rights of claims against Texas A&M.

It is thought that until Baylor, Iowa State, Kansas and Kansas State release those claims against the SEC, that A&M cannot join its new league. CBSSports.com already has reported that Chuck Neinas is expected to be named interim commissioner to replace Dan Beebe.
Posted on: September 7, 2011 4:45 pm
Edited on: September 7, 2011 9:16 pm

Everyone looks bad in latest Big 12 snit

Congratulations Big 12, now you're all to blame. It's not just Texas A&M or Baylor or Oklahoma or Texas or Dan Beebe. It's all of you looking like fools.

The infighting that broke out Wednesday is embarrassing. If Texas A&M wants to go to the SEC, let it go. This looks like a cat fight on "Housewives of Beverly Hills," except the participants wear bow ties and carry law degrees and conduct endless conference calls. It's half tortuous, half torture.

A&M president R. Bowen Loftin is accusing Beebe, the Big 12 commissioner, and member schools of slowing the Aggies' migration to the SEC. A portion of the remaining nine Big 12 schools are with Baylor in reserving the right to have legal claims against the SEC. Twenty years from now fathers will be telling their sons the story of the Big 12. The dads will first pour themselves stiff drink.

These are educated people who should know how to conduct themselves. Instead, they look tawdry, jealous, petty. At the moment, Baylor is rallying a group of conference thugs -- yeah, I said it -- to try to delay A&M's inevitable move to the SEC. At the same time, they're trying to delay things so much that either Oklahoma loses its desire to go to the Pac-12 or the Pac-12 simply shuts the door.

In announcing it had voted Texas A&M in as a 13th member, the SEC said Wednesday in a statement that it had "unanimous written assurance from the Big 12" on Sept. 2 releasing any legal claims against the SEC.

However, Loftin had difficulty getting assurances for what were termed "release of claims," from other Big 12 schools. That was following a Wednesday Big 12 conference call that included what were estimated to be at least seven Big 12 institutions but not all 10.

"At least half, if not the majority are going to reserve their rights for litigation," a source said. "Unless you've got great options that would not be a wise document to sign."

Given recent reports at least five Big 12 schools have those "options" for future conference homes -- Texas, Texas Tech, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State and Missouri. That would leave Iowa State, Kansas State, Kansas and Baylor without clear prospects should the conference collapse.

In a Sept. 2 letter to his SEC counterpart Mike Slive, Big 12 commissioner Dan Beebe said his conference would not take any legal action against the SEC if Texas A&M were admitted by Sept. 8.

"We both agreed it is in the best interests of each of our conferences and our members institutions," Beebe wrote, "to ... to waive any and all legal actions by the conference and its members resulting from admission of Texas A&M into the SEC."

Baylor and others disagree.

"The end game is to stabilize the Big 12," the source said. "What most of us are looking for is a stable conference."

None of this means any of the other Big 12 schools will actually sue. Oklahoma has a decision to make in pursuing the Pac-12. OU president David Boren said Friday that process could take up to three weeks. Oklahoma State would likely follow Oklahoma if the Sooners headed west.

Texas then would have to decide between 1) following Oklahoma to the Pac-12; 2) staying in a diminished Big 12; 3) going independent and 4) going to an expanded ACC. Even though ACC commissioner John Swofford shot down the idea of Texas coming to his conference on Monday, there are those who think that idea may be alive. In choices 1-3, the continued viability of the LHN is in question. Option No. 4 would theoretically would allow Texas to bring the Longhorn Network with it.

Pac-12 commissioner Larry Scott said Saturday that the conference remains "wedded" to it equal revenue distribution model.
Posted on: August 29, 2011 8:37 pm
Edited on: August 29, 2011 9:05 pm

As long Big 12 has OU & UT, it has options

Let's look at this current conference alignment thing a different way. No commissioner wants to be seen as the one to cause Alignment Armageddon. But if it has to be the Big 12, who could blame Dan Beebe? His embattled league has suffered enough. Suddenly it has options, good ones, with or without Texas A&M.

We all pretty much agree that we're headed sooner or later toward the age of the super conference with four 16-team (or whatever number) conferences. The question is how or when. Right now, we stand on the precipice with Texas A&M wanting to go to the SEC, but the SEC still thinking about whether to take the Aggies.

That's because the SEC doesn't have to expand. It's fine how it is with 18 years to run on a $3 billion contract with CBS and ESPN. If A&M goes then sooner or later, the SEC is going to have to get a 14th member. Commissioner Mike Slive seemingly loves A&M but he -- and his presidents -- don't necessarily want to be that guy, responsible for breaking up another league.

The question is whether Beebe has such reservations. And as long as he has Oklahoma and Texas, he has leverage.

As mentioned, it's looking suddenly like the Big 12 is dealing from a position of strength. It could lose Missouri and Texas A&M to the SEC and still be able to lure two teams (or more) to stay viable. Why? As long as the Texas/Oklahoma axis remains solid, so is the league. Fox invested $1.17 billion over 13 years just for the secondary rights. The Big 12 is going to hit another big financial home run in a couple of years when it goes out to bid. (The assumption is that ESPN will re-up for the primary rights.)

To this point, Oklahoma has shown a willingness to stay with Texas. While the schools are rivals on the field, ADs Joe Castiglione and DeLoss Dodds are close. They know that the fortunes of the two superpowers are mutually beneficial.

If Texas and Oklahoma stay bonded, the Big 12 is in somewhat of a position of power. It could raid the Big East and go to 12 or 16. Why not go get Pittsburgh and Louisville? Sure, Big East basketball great but think of a hoops league with Kansas, Kansas State, Texas, Pittsburgh and Louisville.

BIG POINT NO. 1: Even though the Big East is due for a windfall rights fee of its own in a few years I'm told that the pending primary rights deal for the Big 12 would be bigger than the Big East's entire deal. 

Would that possibility pry Notre Dame loose? Not likely. ND AD Jack Swarbrick reiterated for the millionth time on Monday that his school is happy with independence. ND probably would need eight home games to make the deal work in the Big 12 because of its deal with NBC, at least one of those being a neutral site game. The school makes a reported $15 million a year from that deal. The Big 12 wouldn't say no then ND also reaping $20 million from the Big 12 deal. Heck, it's Notre Dame.

Texas AD DeLoss Dodds said publicly last year that the Big 12 would be an attractive place for Notre Dame's minor sports. The schools do start a four-game football series in 2015.

While we're at it, let's also forget the talk of Arkansas, SMU and Houston to the Big 12. Arkansas would be taking a pay cut. The Big 12 is already in the Dallas, Houston and state of Texas markets. SMU is making its case in part because it has been to back-to-back bowls. Is that all it takes these days?

In this age don't think of conference affiliations, think of which schools assembled together make for the most lucrative media rights deals. Remember, geography matters little. When TCU enters the Big East in 2012 that will be its fifth conference since 1995.

That's why the pool of candidates for the SEC's No. 14 has to include Missouri, North Carolina, Maryland and Virginia Tech. That's not the list, it's a best-guess list if you believe that the SEC isn't going to expand inside its footprint. That means no Georgia Tech, no Louisville, no Clemson, no Florida State.

Whether the Big 12 loses Missouri or not, BYU has emerged as an attractive replacement for Texas A&M. That's not news. BYU has a loyal and large following. The question is whether BYU would give up its long-range plan for independence after only one year. One source last week went as far as to say BYU would be "excited" about the prospect of joining the Big 12.

AD Tom Holmoe told Brett McMurphy this month that his school was happy at the moment

While the Cougars have ESPN as a scheduling partner, it has to become apparent to the school sooner or later that it is all but out of BCS contention in most seasons. By going independent, it has the essentially the same BCS status as Army and Navy. That is to say, the only automatic berth would be if BYU finishes No. 1 or No. 2.

The six BCS conference champions are guaranteed a bid. A champion from one of the five non-BCS leagues get a bid if it finishes in the top 12 or top 16 if it is ranked higher in the final BCS standings than a BCS conference champion. Notre Dame (because it's Notre Dame) gets an automatic bid if it finishes in the top eight of the BCS.

Army, Navy and BYU? Guaranteed only in the top two. BIG POINT NO. 2: Essentially that means BYU could finish 10-2 (or even 11-1) and have nothing guaranteed in the BCS.

Earlier this year, I wrote that BYU's independence was more about faith that most people thought. I'm starting to think all it would take is one year of being left out of the BCS (and a call from the Big 12) for the school's fans and officials to change their minds about independence.

Meanwhile, the "composition language" in the SEC contract is probably similar to that of the Big 12's. That means ESPN would most likely try to renegotiate downward its current deal with the Big 12. Say that is 10 percent of the contract given that A&M represents 10 percent of the Big 12. At that point it becomes like rearranging deck chairs. ESPN could tell the SEC, the money it is taking away from the Big 12 goes to the SEC. In essence, A&M's money would follow it to the SEC.

It isn't that easy. The SEC would most likely negotiate for more saying it is gaining huge viewership in the state of Texas. BIG POINT NO. 3: What's forgotten is the SEC isn't starting from a zero position. In case you haven't noticed, ESPN is already in Texas. SMU AD Steve Orsini told me last week that the ratings for Big 12 and SEC games in Dallas are "even." Whether that's true or not, there is already a big following for the SEC in the Lone Star State because there is a big following for the SEC everywhere. That's why the league already gets the big bucks.

A further hang-up on this A&M thing: It's better for everyone if the SEC expands by two all at once. That's one negotiation, rather than two. But if Texas A&M is one, what's the other?

It might not matter to the Big 12.
Posted on: July 26, 2011 5:54 pm
Edited on: July 27, 2011 12:04 am

Big 12's Four Little Piggies should find shelter

DALLAS -- You'd think they would have learned by now, the Big 12's Four Little Piggies.

Excuse the analogy regarding what are really Tigers, Jayhawks, Wildcats and Cyclones, but the conference's North Division leftovers would -- like the nursery rhyme Three Little Piggies -- be wise to look for sturdier homes.

That lesson was driven home last summer when conference realignment came up on Iowa State, Missouri, Kansas and Kansas State and smacked them over the head with a lead pipe. Surprise didn't even begin to describe it when the league started falling apart.

Few knew that Nebraska had secretly begun talking to the Big Ten in January 2010. Texas was going to do what Texas was going to do. The Pac-10 came along and almost conducted a daring raid.

The 4LP came this close to being homeless. The four would have found a home somewhere but that's the point. Better to go house-shopping on your own rather than waiting until a hurricane ruins the neighborhood.

Four schools that had been joined together for parts of a century suddenly would have been scattered.

Missouri: It went from thinking rather foolishly that it was Big Ten bound (it wasn't) to being nowhere but the Big 12 when Nebraska left.

Kansas: The seriousness of conference realignment hit home when a school with a top-five basketball program would have been looking for a home.

Kansas State-Iowa State: Total wild cards. Their markets (small) wouldn't have taken them anywhere specific.

Most likely the four would have ended up in some combination of the Big East and/or Mountain West. Perhaps Conference USA would have been involved trying to make itself into a BCS-worthy league. The Big East was considering inviting all four Piggies if the Big 12 split according to sources. 

The lesson to be learned as conference upheaval once again strikes the Big 12 is for the Four Little Piggies to be proactive. If their administrators aren't maintaining back-channel communications with other leagues then they are foolish. However, the reaction of Jamie Pollard seems typical.

"We're married, I'm married," Iowa State's AD said. "I'm not going to be talking to someone else I’m going to be married to."

The Big 12 was a contentious union for its first 15 years. Thirteen months later, here we are again with Texas A&M upset with Texas' launching of The Longhorn Network.

"That issue [with Texas A&M] has been around that institution for a long time," said Big 12 commissioner Dan Beebe. "Thankfully, the coaches and administrators and others are adamant about being in the Big 12."

Beebe has long preached the dangers of a school moving out of its natural "geographic proximity." For what is believed to be the first time on Tuesday, he basically tipped his hat and wished Colorado good luck for getting closer to its fan base.

"When you remove your institution from your orientation, your rivalries, I think it's really going to be problematic ...," Beebe said. "Colorado went to its orientation because they had 50,000 more alums that were located in the Pac-10 footprint than the Big 12 foot print."

Posted on: July 24, 2011 3:40 pm
Edited on: July 24, 2011 4:35 pm

Five things about the Big 12

Heading into the conference's media days in Dallas beginning Monday, here are five key issues.

1. Stability. The Big 12 was a shotgun marriage from the start. We're just seeing the latest manifestation of the cultural and geographical incongruity. Texas A&M and Oklahoma are upset at the way Texas has pushed the Longhorn Network on the conference. There was a vague idea that TLN was going to broadcast high school games, but that quickly became a deal-breaker when TLN head Dave Brown went on Austin radio on early June and went Manifest Destiny on the Big 12. Eighteen high school games? Broadcasting out-of-state high school games of 2012 Texas commits? All parties are working things out. The league should stay together -- this time. The point is, the league needs to calm down when level-minded observers point out the conference's instability. Note to the Big 12: The current lineup may last 50 years (doubt it) but quit getting upset every time someone points out Texas is the big dog and usually gets its way. That alone might be enough someday to break up this league. It won't be over this issue, but the Big 12 will continue to live in a constant state of flux.

2. Oklahoma rules. With Texas down and not looking to rebound anytime soon, Oklahoma looks like it is ready to run away and hide in the new Big 12. No surprise. The Sooners won seven of the 15 old Big 12 titles and are loaded again this year. While Bob Stoops hasn’t been able to follow up on that 2000 title, this would be only the second time in the BCS era the Sooners will have been picked as a preseason No. 1.

3. How the North was lost. The remaining members of the division formerly known as the North in the Big 12 face a distinct competitive disadvantage in the new 10-team league. Notably, there will be no more scheduling holes that allowed Kansas to win 12 games in 2007 without having to play Oklahoma or Texas. That's one example. There are more. Point is, the new round-robin Big 12 schedule is going to make it extremely difficult for Missouri, Kansas, Kansas State or Iowa State to make a serious run at a title in the 10-team league. Those schools will be playing Texas, Texas A&M and Oklahoma each season. Since 2005, the remaining North schools have lost 75 percent of their games to those three. Add to that the reality that every other year, teams will be playing five of nine conference games on the road. Not only is there a competitive disadvantage -- only Kansas State among the four has won a Big 12 title -- there will be a physical toll as well. With a round-robin schedule, there will be fewer breathers.

4. Mack Brown's future. Texas' coach did what any veteran would do when the program slides off the edge of the cliff. He changed his coordinators. Much of the Horns' ability to turn around immediately from a 5-7 disaster will be on the shoulders of co-offensive coordinator Bryan Harsin and defensive coordinator Manny Diaz. Harsin is credited for making Boise State a huge offensive force in recent years. Diaz's career has soared since he began as an intern at ESPN. If Texas doesn't rebound quickly and begin competing for the conference title again, will this be Mack's final year?

5. Bring the kids, spread out a blanket and watch the fireworks. For whatever reason, the Big 12 has become the most entertaining league in the country. This is a conference that produced Vince Young, Chase Daniel and Jason White. The conference has made its on-field rep with great offenses and great offensive players. Three of the top six players in total offense came from the Big 12 last year. The top two receivers in the country (Justin Blackmon, Ryan Broyles) were also from the Big 12. Oregon's LaMichael James led the country in scoring. No. 2? Lou Groza Award winner Dan Bailey of Oklahoma State. The Cowboys and Sooners were 2-3 in passing. With Baylor maturing and Oklahoma and Oklahoma State at the top of their offensive games, there are going to be plenty of opportunities to "hang half a hundred on 'em," as Barry Switzer used to say.
Posted on: July 21, 2011 8:26 pm

Big 12 in uproar over Longhorn Network

At one point Thursday afternoon, I Tweeted "Big 12 making WAC look stable."

One Big 12 loyalist immediately shot back: "u know something we don't?"

Apparently. Start with the new, 13-month old league looking a lot like the 15-year old previous version of the Big 12 that almost disintegrated last year. It looks just as shaky and twice as disparate. Texas is starting a network on its terms. Everyone else in the Big 12 is having problems with those terms. They include televising high school games and as well as one conference game.

Several issues: Texas A&M, among others, isn't happy with Texas essentially having its own televised recruiting service. That, and conference rivals helping drive ratings and subscribers by playing Texas on its own network.

Commissioner Dan Beebe seemingly had calmed the waters by issuing a Thursday statement saying the issue needed "clarification" and that the league would "manage the interplay". Beebe concluded by saying the pause button had been it on TLN. It could show no more than one game (the opener against Rice) and no high school games until things were sorted out.

I thought these types of conflicts would be avoided for at least a few years. But who knew Texas and ESPN would launch a network without getting these issues resolved with the rest of the Big 12? Or maybe it doesn't matter. It's the other members -- particularly Missouri, Iowa State, Kansas and Kansas State -- who are just happy to be in a BCS conference at this point.

As one executive intimated to me this week: These schools DO understand why the conference stayed together, right?

Answer: Texas.

That kind of gives you a picture of where things stand at the moment. Texas has all the power, as usual. And most of the rest have to take it except for Texas A&M, and perhaps Oklahoma. A&M made it clear to me Wednesday that the administration is upset with comments made by TLN network chief Dave Brown, a long-time power broker in college football for ESPN. 

A&M and OU have some leverage, which translates into jumping to the SEC if pushed too far on this issue. Read this scathing statement from Aggies' AD Bill Byrne.

“I have continued to have concerns about the Longhorn Network since the original announcement by ESPN and Texas. Since last summer, the Big 12 member institutions have committed to work together in a spirit of unity and equality. Recent news reports concerning this network; however, have created a considerable amount of uncertainty.

We had an agreement in place that Big 12 members would have the right to one non-conference football game and four to six basketball games for third tier, or institutional rights. The concept of the Longhorn Network broadcasting two live football games -- with one of these being a conference game -- had not been discussed among the Big 12 athletic directors.

Our concerns were heightened further when news reports surfaced that the Longhorn Network would be broadcasting high school football games featuring Texas high school recruits, including recruits living outside the state of Texas. Knowing how restrictive NCAA rules are regarding any collegiate representative contacting prospects, we contacted the NCAA for an interpretation. We are still waiting for the NCAA's response.

I have continued to communicate our concerns to the conference office and my fellow athletic directors. We are pleased that the Commissioner has started to address these concerns, but many questions remain. These are significant issues for all of collegiate athletics as they relate to broadcast rights, revenue distribution and the recruitment of student-athletes.”

There it is. A&M ain't standing for it and -- best guess -- the SEC would take an Aggie-Sooner package in a heartbeat. That would likely set off a chain reaction of new conference realignment that could lead to the era of super conferences.

What's likely to happen? ESPN isn't going to risk the disintegration of the Big 12 (a partner) to show high school games on TLN (a different, new partner). ESPN made a financial commitment to the Big 12 last year to keep Texas in the fold, if for no other reason than the Horns having a launching pad for that network. Essentially, we're talking about Big 12 game inventory (a lot) being worth more than TLN's (a little) to ESPN.

If the NCAA doesn't rule that the high school games are an unfair recruiting advantage, Texas/ESPN will simply back down and not show them. It's worth it to keep everyone happy. Sources here at the SEC media days told me that the high school programming isn't a huge deal. It would be nice to have on the TLN but its absence is not going to wreck it.

Guess that means more re-runs of the Mack Brown Show. I'm sure A&M will be happy with that.
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com