I have read how great the Conference Formerly Known As The Big 12 will be, as though the defection of Nebraska and Colorado has cleared the way for the league to ascend to its rightful place in college football. But I'm not so optimistic.
Why is fewer suddenly better? Why is the loss of a conference championship playoff suddenly a bonanza?
I just can't fathom SEC commissioner Mike Slive gleefully skipping to a lectern to inform the world: "Great news. We got rid of Auburn and South Carolina today. Better yet, we're dropping that December game in the Georgia Dome."
The SEC would drop Vanderbilt before it dropped its championship game, which has become one of college football featured attractions. But it's probably unfair to compare any other conference to the SEC, particularly one as lopsided as the Big Whatever has become.
The SEC's greatest strength is its balance. That doesn't mean all of its members are capable of winning the championship, although three different teams have won national titles in the last four years. It does mean the SEC doesn't play favorites for the most part, even if Arkansas fans would argue otherwise after last year's controversial officiating call temporarily saved Florida's quest for back-to-back national championships.
At least the Gators aren't planning their own network with the league's blessing. When the SEC divvies up its TV revenue, Vanderbilt gets as much as Florida or Alabama.
Can you imagine if the SEC started catering to its super powers? The conference office would get bomb threats.
Pride is as conspicuous as barbecue in the SEC. And even defeats by outrageous margins barely put a dent in it.
But how proud can the rank-and-file members of the Texas Lapdog Conference be? If Texas wants to join the Pac-10, everybody else in the league latches on to its burnt-orange coattails faster than you can flash a hook 'em horns sign. If Texas wants its own network, the Big Leftover League shouts, "Hail, Bevo."
You can't blame Texas for dropping a big Stetson over its competition. Its rise in prominence goes with the territory.
"Friday Night Lights" isn't about a high school football program in Missouri. "America's Team" isn't in Seattle. From middle school to the NFL, Texas is football through and through. Why shouldn't the state's marquee college program rule over its conference subjects?
And now that Texas has saved the Hooked on Horns Conference by its mere presence, why shouldn't it flex its newfound muscle? I wouldn't be surprised if:
n The Texas-Oklahoma game is moved from Dallas to Austin every other year.
n The Longhorns refuse to make road trips to Ames, Iowa.
n Missouri apologizes for signing Chase Daniel and agrees never to recruit another Texas high school quarterback.
n Oklahoma renames its schooner ponies (Boomer and Sooner) "Earl" and "Campbell."
n The Aggies' "12th Man" sits down for Texas games.
n All members of the Lone Star League play "Texas Fight" before every game.
Those are just my ideas. I'm sure Texas will come up with a lot more, which its fawning conference opponents will accept in less time than it took Texas-Ex Vince Young to make a first down in the national championship game against Southern California.
It's obvious where this league is headed. The only question: What do you call it now that the Big 12 has become a numerical misnomer?
Answer: Whatever Texas wants to call it.
John Adams may be reached at 865-342-6284 or firstname.lastname@example.org.