For now, the North was more than willing to make those concessions in order to keep everything going. But the terms of the deal also sow the seeds for the same problem whenever the Big Ten or the Pac-11 or the SEC decides to take another run at expansion.
Team Speed Kills
As soon as this TV deal fails to suffice in comparison to that of other major conferences, the same issues are going to pop up. This is only a band-aid, and it's hard to see it as anything but that. And part of the reason I felt so disappointed when this was announced was simply that ... honestly, I wanted to be done with this. I wanted this to be the Summer of Expansion, and I wanted to be done with the issue forever and ever (unless they ended up in a worse conference, ahem). Instead, we stare at a future with another potential breakdown on the horizon.
Rock M Nation
Today, this is a conference held together by naked self-interest, with the Longhorns as the lucrative sun around which the rest of the league revolves. From Beebe's perspective, that's better than a conference that doesn't exist at all, or is scrambling to survive in some drastically diminished form. As soon as the landscape looks like it's beginning to shift again, though, or the Fox money starts to look a little less spectacular next to the ever-escalating figures in other conferences (over the next 18 years? Bet on it), he or his successor could find himself right back in the same situation he faced over the last week, trying to hold together self-interested factions that don't seem to have any interest in hanging together for anything less than top dollar.
It appears we all are agreed that Dan Beebe’s Big 12 salvation plan is nothing more than a quick fix and that the duct tape will not hold forever. In a year, or two, or five, or certainly in no more than ten, we’ll be at this all over again. Since we in the blogosphere all were caught fairly well flat-footed by this round of conference expansion, we need to start preparing now for the next one. Naturally, as bloggers, our first thought is to design a drinking game. I therefore present for future reference . . .
2. Every fourth time a Chip Brown Twitter update is contradicted by a subsequent Chip Brown Twitter update, everyone takes a small drink.
3. Every fifth time a Chip Brown Twitter update cites "a Big 12 athletic director" as an anonymous source, even though it is blatantly obvious that the source could not possibly be anyone other than DeLoss Dodds, everyone takes a small drink.
4. The first time a commentator refers to a particular team as a good "fit" for a conference to which it does not currently belong, all players must finish their drinks. The first person to finish his drink, set his glass down on the table, and declare, "That drink was a good fit for my belly!" becomes the Judge of Fitness. Each subsequent time that a commentator refers to a team as a good "fit," the Judge of Fitness chooses a player and says, "You look like you’re fit for another drink." The player the Judge of Fitness chooses must then take a drink.
5. As soon as the Judge of Fitness is determined, the person immediately to the right of the Judge of Fitness is designated as Norman Einstein. The next time a commentator uses the word "academics" in relation to conference expansion, Norman Einstein must put on the cap of the team being referred to by the commentator. Each subsequent time that a commentator refers to the team whose cap Norman Einstein is wearing, Norman Einstein must take a drink. If Norman Einstein is wearing the cap of a Big Ten team, each tenth drink taken by Norman Einstein must be followed immediately by a superfluous eleventh drink.
6. Each time a commentator mentions membership in the AAU, the first player to exclaim, "AAU, you get off of my cloud!" gets to choose a player and make that player take a drink.
7. As soon as Norman Einstein is determined, Norman Einstein gets to designate one player as "The Texas" and another player as "The Baylor." Each subsequent time a commentator raises the possibility that a Big 12 school might end up in a conference whose champion does not qualify automatically for a BCS bowl bid, the Baylor must give his drink to the Texas.
8. Each time a commentator reports the impending occurrence of a specific change in the membership of the conference to which the team on Norman Einstein’s cap belongs, Norman Einstein gets to choose one player and make that player take a number of drinks equal to the greater of the number of members currently in that conference or the number in the name of that conference.
9. The first time a commentator refers to a conference’s "footprint," all players must remove their shoes and socks. The player who is determined to have the largest feet is designated as "Bigfoot." Bigfoot must take one drink each subsequent time a commentator says "footprint." If the player designated as Bigfoot is the same person who also is designated as the Texas, he may threaten to cut off two of the Baylor’s toes and attach them to the Texas’s feet, so that the Texas will go from having ten toes to twelve. Each time the Texas makes this threat, the Baylor must make the Texas another drink.
10. Each time a commentator suggests that Missouri, Rutgers, or Syracuse represents an attractive expansion candidate due to nearby media markets, every player must laugh. The last player to laugh must finish his drink.
11. Each time a commentator indicates that a team has threatened to end a century-old rivalry out of childish spite if a neighboring school chooses to affiliate itself with a different conference, all players must pour their drinks over the Texas’s head.
12. Each time an official representative of a school that obviously is shopping its affiliation around to the highest bidder makes a statement that the school is committed to remaining in its current conference, all players must finish their drinks. If the commissioner of that school’s current conference subsequently makes a statement praising that school for holding the conference together after that school has extorted a sweetheart deal from the rest of the league by agreeing to stay put, all players must induce vomiting. If inadequate numbers of commodes, sinks, and trash cans are available to accommodate all the players who are vomiting, those players who do not have suitable receptacles may vomit on the Texas.
13. If a commentator uses the words "fit," "academics," and "footprint" in the same sentence, the Baylor becomes the new Judge of Fitness, and he may order the Texas to give up his chair and sit on the floor for the rest of the game.
14. No one who attends or attended Notre Dame, or who roots for the Fighting Irish, may participate in the game, and any such persons who are present must wait outside while the game is being played. This is necessary to preserve such persons’ independence.
15. Each time a commentator cites a dollar figure that obviously was pulled from thin air, that dollar figure cited by the commentator must be divided by 2,103,643. The resulting number equals the number of drinks Norman Einstein must take, unless Norman Einstein can perform the math in his head, in which case Norman Einstein can make Bigfoot take that number of drinks instead.
16. If a commentator mentions a conference acquiring a conference championship game, everyone takes one drink. If a commentator mentions a conference losing a conference championship game, everyone gives away one drink.
17. At the end of the game, any drinks left unfinished must be given to the Texas.
Feel free to add your proposed rules in the comments. Please drink responsibly.