Monday, July 16, 2012

Notre Doom


The curtain opens to reveal the "Wastelands of Purgatory" - a vast desert featuring bleak vistas of dull rocks where all of college football goes between seasons.

Enter stage left - an elderly man wearing a black, ten gallon hat. He is DeLOSS DODDS the athletic director of the University of Texas.


I have a confession. A confession, that in the telling, will  prove me an unlikable sort - petty, egotistical and vain.Yet, (PAUSE) I beg you to listen just the same as my words may strike home in the ears of like-minded souls who happen upon this telling and judge me less harshly than the multitudes who trudge upon the earth without ever tasting the sweet wine of power and glory. (DODDS removes his hat and continues to address the audience.)

A man, like myself, late in his years and fearful in the knowing that his end is much closer than his beginning, has the right to turn his thoughts to his legacy. He has the right, nay, nay, nay - the duty, to mint the terms applied to his name after his departure. And in this thinking - amidst the knowing - the man has the god-given right to plot and scheme his way to glory.

(DODDS replaces his hat upon his head and walks about the stage. He kneels and takes a handful of sand in his hand and lets it slip through his fingers.)

But what glory? To set astride the bovine juggernaut and navigate the chaotic waters to obtain the greatest riches ever known - is that not glory enough? To set the bovine upon the march of champions and see the quest delivered - is that not glory enough. I think not. I am only well thought-of -- not deified. The public, those admiring masses who think of the bovine as they would a god upon Mount Olympus and never question the direction of our thoughts or actions think well enough of me. Ay, they think well of me. As if I were some favorite uncle who happened upon their Christmas party with a small gift and fanciful tale to amuse them -- that will never do.

(DODDS stands and rubs his hands together in a worried gesture.)

They do not love me or think me grand and for that I must embark upon a quest to reveal their error and bestow upon my head a crown of glory.

(DODDS paces back and forth quickly franticly.)

But what device? What road must I travel to obtain this crown? What dragon must I slay?

(DODDS stops pacing and grows quiet.)

DELOSS DODDS I have an idea! Last year, at this time, our fellowship was broken. Our future was as bleak as Rich Rodriquez's heart, our doom was at hand... and it was at the feet of our great bovine empire that blame was laid. No thought to the jealousy of our brethren, no thought to greed that made them flee, and certainly no thought to the bovine sacrifice that kept the fellowship whole.  And now, one full year later, our fellowship is strong and profitable. What was weakness is now strength. (Pause.. Slower) But could be stronger. Our vast riches could be more bountiful, our fame could even eclipse the gods in Birmingham. If only I could catch the leprechaun and add his gold to our horde.

(DODDS looks left and sees someone in the distance. He takes one hand and uses it to shield his eyes from the sun.)

DELOSS DODDS Look! (Points to the left) Yonder is one Swofford. A man of considerable means and ruthless in his actions. In his pocket he has a talisman of great power. A symbol of the Seminole nation that imbues him with riches and tradition.  The leprechaun holds Swofford in high esteem and often has long talks with Swofford as they share rich wine and aged cheese. By separating Swofford from his Seminole sigil and placing the same within my own pocket I too could enthrall the leprechaun and together, with my own bovine appeal, make the leprechaun a member of our fellowship.

(Places his hands upon his hips and looks smug.)

But Swofford is as intelligent as he is ruthless. To ruse the man I must contrive a distraction and drive him to it and beyond.

(Again DODDS begins to pace.)

Ah ha! To engineer my ruse I'll need a foil. One of sound mind and solid reputation who will appeal to Swofford as one of his own. I'll set them one against the other and when Swofford is distracted by his machinations I'll take my prize. 

(DODDS removes his cowboy hat)

First I'll pen a letter to my most favorite lieutenant Bowlsby and set him against Swofford immediately. They, being of like minds and tastes, will become fast friends and soon Swofford will be at ease. And when he is at ease I will strike. Now on to plot and plan and set the events to action.

(Dodds replaces his hat and smiles broadly)

Watch now as I become the puppet master and Swofford and good lieutenant Bowlsby dance to my tune.


Don't Be Left Holding the Bag

On July 25th Big 12 commissioner Bob Bowlsby will walk up the podium and give his inaugural “state of the conference address”.  He’s going to tell us that the Big 12 is in a position of strength and the future of the conference has never been brighter.

He’ll talk about the new television contract, the additions of WVU and TCU, the grant of rights and the partnership with the SEC.

You can bet that sometime during his address he’ll mention expansion and reiterate that the Big 12 is happy with 10 members.   

Happy isn’t exactly the word I would use… dysfunctional is far more accurate.

The only thing they can agree on is to disagree.

Texas is against expansion.

Oklahoma is against expansion.

WVU, TCU, Baylor, Kansas State, and Texas Tech want to expand. Why stop at 12 they say when we could have 16.  

Kansas and Iowa State are interested in expansion and support the concept but only if they get to play in a division that includes Texas.

And poor Oklahoma State is perhaps in the worst position of all – they have the opinion that not having a Big 12 championship game likely cost them a shot at the national title last year.  They support expansion but  for some odd reason they’ll vote with Oklahoma.

The Big 12 is  certainly dysfunctional and can’t decide what to do.

It’s that indecision, that disunity,  that will cost them in the long term.

All the Big 12 member institutions had better understand quickly that a united Big 12 is powerful and profitable.

They had better understand that a fractured Big 12 is about to pass up an opportunity to solidify their position as a power conference and put an end to the ACC.

The Big 12 could add FSU, Clemson, Maryland, Georgia Tech, Miami and Louisville tomorrow.  They could add them all or choose to expand only to 12 or 14, but the key point is I’m told they would all accept.

Yet instead of acting they bicker; instead of castrating the ACC they sit back and argue amongst themselves.

All are to blame. None should be spared.

Texas just may deserve a larger share of blame because of their single-minded pursuit of Notre Dame, but make no mistake the entire, Big 12 (including WVU) deserves the credit for not reaching out and taking advantage of a rare opportunity.

Consider this… You’ve read national reporters and pundits say that the Big 12 contract guarantees s a certain level of television revenue no matter who the Big 12 adds.  While that’s not exactly true (Notre Dame or FSU would add considerable value) what’s missed is the fact that the Big 12 could add 6 teams at one go without reducing annual revenue.

That my friends is a  license to steal from the television networks.

A license the Big 12 can’t seem to redeem.

Texas and Oklahoma need to understand they don’t have many options. The Big 12 is their home and they are best served to have a strong conference even if it means their voice becomes only 1 of 16.

Iwoa State needs to understand that FSU, Clemson and WVU will fill their stadium just as much, as the Longhorns.

And the rest of the conference, I’m looking at you especially Oklahoma State, needs to understand they have the votes to nullify anyone who stands in the way of expansion.

8-2 or 7-3 gets it done folks.

And… if they somehow don’t manage to see the error of their ways and pass up this opportunity… I can see a time when the ACC has a resurgence and the Big 12 is left holding the bag wondering where the hell all the Snipe went.