It didn't take long for the "lovey dovey" relationship between the remaining Big XII schools to start to disintegrate. On Tuesday, ESPN announced that they were subletting ABC's rights to televise a Big XII game to the Longhorn Network, thus giving LHN two Texas games this season.
And the second game will be a Big XII conference game. LHN had previously announced plans to televise the Texas/Rice season opener on September 3rd. Now, it appears that one of Texas' home games against Oklahoma State, Texas Tech, or Baylor will end up on LHN as well. And while ESPN is required to make their "best effort" to get the game televised near the campus of the visiting team, there is no guarantee. And for college football fans outside of that visiting teams' campus, there is only one option to watch the game. Subscribe to the Longhorn Network. (Or just cut out the middleman, and make your check payable directly to DeLoss Dodds.)
Isn't this the type of rule gaming that Husker fans have criticized about for years regarding the Big XII?
Two weeks ago, Daily Oklahoman columnist Berry Tramel tried to paint Nebraska as the true source of discord in the conference. Today, he admits that, well, Nebraska fans were right all along. It was interesting reading the takes from around the conference last week, as many seemed to be very content with Nebraska's departure. If not downright thrilled. (I loved the idea that one Kansas City Star writer thought that Nebraska was leaving because they were struggling with Iowa State.) It was a completely different take from the rest of the college football world; take for example, this "Memo from Dan Beebe" by
South Carolina's SEC blog "Team Speed Kills."
How do you explain this disconnect of opinions?
It finally struck me earlier this week. It's not so much revisionist thinking, but rather a mild form of Stockholm Syndrome. When people are held captive, they become dependent on their captors and tend to develop positive emotions towards them. In the case of Texas, the other schools are grateful that Texas chose to remain... and thus, the Big XII is happily continuing their existence under Austin's control. Oklahoma wasn't willing to escape Texas. Texas Tech wasn't. Kansas, Kansas State, Baylor, and Iowa State can't. Deep down, Missouri wishes they could, though they now know better.
And thus, we now have situations like this, where the rules of the game change to benefit the interests of Texas. It's been the rule of the Big XII ever since the conference formed, and will continue as long as Texas wants it to. That's the reason why Nebraska moved to the Big Ten. While yes, it could be argued that the Big XII is fine now, if Texas changes their mind, that situation changes faster than the weather. And when the opportunity opened up for Nebraska to find a more stable arrangement last year, Nebraska jumped at the opportunity. (And deep down, most of the Big XII schools probably would do the exact same thing, if they only could.)
You all know what's coming next. "We told you so."