You can probably imagine the defensiveness that's necessarily surrounding the Big XII these days. After all, with Missouri and Nebraska practically begging to join the Big Ten, an outside observer might come to the conclusion that the Big XII is an inferior conference (especially if said outside observer were to try to find a Big XII football game that didn't involve Texas or Oklahoma on national television). So there's bound to be a backlash from the rest of the conference.
And nowhere would that backlash of pride be more centralized than the state of Oklahoma, where the Sooners and Cowboys are probably the only two competent athletic departments in the conference that aren't being mentioned as potential candidates for expansion to one of the three (let's be honest) real power conferences. That's not to say that their athletics departments will shrivel up and die when the Big XII inevitably collapses--they'll be all right--but nobody's saying "If the Oklahoma schools left, what would happen to the rest of the Big XII?" Again, not a knock, just a simple by-product of their geography and their history.
But holy smokes, when that tribal pride is unleashed on the rest of the world--particularly by the Tulsa World's Dave Sittler--intelligence calmly excuses itself... by setting itself on fire and jumping out a 20th-story window.
The article starts out innocuously enough, mentioning the fact that the Missouri athletic department would stand to make $15 million a year more by joining the Big Ten. That's not in dispute by anybody, and it's as close to a singularly clinching factor as you'll ever see in these negotiations. The academic standing of the Big Ten, of course, doesn't hurt. So we've clearly delineated some rational, inarguable reasons why Missouri would leave. Now let's get crazy.
Since the Big 12 started competition in 1996, Missouri has won or shared four regular-season championships and eight titles overall when you include postseason Big 12 tournaments.
No, I'm not talking about just football or men's and women's basketball championships. That is the combined number of titles the 18 men's and women's teams have won for Mizzou over the past 14 years!
And that's counting two Big 12 North football titles. And those came against only the five other teams that make up that division.
By comparison, including tournament titles, Oklahoma has won a combined 45 championships and Oklahoma State 35. OU fields 18 men's and women's teams in Big 12 play, while OSU has 16.
Here's what underachieving Mizzou really wants to keep quiet: It's the only Big 12 school with single-digit championships. Yup, Baylor, the league's so-called weakest link, has captured a combined 36 championships.
Yes, the argument being posited here is that Missouri is actually running away from the XII. Like, the Mizzou AD is saying "Man, I'd really like to stay in the Big XII, but our women's track team just isn't up to par. It's a blight on the entire school. We have no choice but to leave this conference at once!" Now, if they were joining the MWC or C-USA or whatever, there might be some merit to that argument. But they'd be joining the Big Ten. And while the warm-weather sports (baseball/softball, track) are clearly going to be better off in Texas and the rest of Tornado Alley than the Rust Belt, it's not like Missouri would have a prayer in something like wrestling or women's volleyball. They might do well in, let's say, baseball, but come on. Missouri's not going to the Big Ten so they can do better in baseball. Oh, but we're just getting started.
The article goes on to suppose that Missouri's failures to win championships in most of the minor sports is actually why the Big Ten would court them:
Nebraska, the other Big 12 school reportedly on the Big Ten's hit list, has won a combined 76 championships, which is second only to Texas' massive haul.
No wonder Big Ten coaches are in favor of adding Missouri, but want nothing to do with overachieving Nebraska.
First of all, that second paragraph is totally unsubstantiated. We've literally seen nothing that would suggest BXI coaches don't want to add Nebraska. Second of all, it's completely ass-backwards; Nebraska is probably more likely to get a call from the Big Ten, if only because they'd bring more money to the conference. They'd do that by being popular, and you stay popular by competing for championships. The Big Ten actually wants that.
And third, it's a completely irrelevant point to begin with; the Big Ten is primarily concerned with A) adjusting to the changing demographics of the nation and B) boosting the ratings of the Big Ten Network as high as possible. All this while maintaining the reputation of the conference as a powerful academic consortium. Just because the Big XII only cares about athletics doesn't mean the Big Ten does too. So even if the Big Ten coaches are afraid of Nebraska (and they're not), it doesn't even matter; the schools' presidents are going to be the ones voting on new members, not the coaches or athletic directors.
When an athletic program wins only eight championships in 14 years, that's the kind of creampuff foe conference members want on their schedules.
Exactly. Which is why we've seen countless instances of BCS conferences adding underqualified, underachieving schools. We still can't believe Middle Tennessee State and Florida International are in the SEC.
Plus, considering the Big Ten's goals stated above, it's pretty much a given that they'll at least put some feelers out for Texas and hope for the best, especially since Delany's not going to cry in a corner if Texas says no. So if the Big Ten is really only looking for patsies, as this article would have its readers believe... why on earth would it also set its sights on the conference's two most decorated members? At what point does that logic add up?
This is a hit piece by the Tulsa World, plain and simple. It's bitter, uninformed, and provincial. It's the type of childish nonsense that always accompanies messy breakups. And boy, are those people fun to be around. Congratulations, TW: you're the journalistic equivalent of the guy by himself at the end of the bar on a Tuesday night who just yells "hate that stupid bitch!" every 45 minutes or so.