College Realignment Talk Is the New NFL Lockout Talk
During this past summer of sports talk radio, our insatiable appetite for any topic football-related, our perennial need to talk about minutiae at all times, and the usual summer content-related radio doldrums met at a tedious midpoint -- a no-man's-land that left us talking every day about the NFL lockout.
More a-holery from Ken Starr.
Never has a topic so simultaneously pounded our brains and reminded us how much we love the on-the-field sport, while (for many of us) tolerating, if not hating, the off-the-field clutter involving lawyers, unions, lawyers, money and lawyers.
By the time the end of July rolled around, most NFL fans, in addition to having a psychotic, Pavlovian hatred for the faces of Roger Goodell and DeMaurice Smith, said, "just let us know when it's over."
And eventually the lockout ended. Thankfully. Only now, in its place we welcome back our old friend "college football realignment talk."
To be fair, realignment talk carried the day back in June 2010 when there was nothing else to talk about, and back then, frankly, we were okay with it. It was new, it was fresh and none of us knew where it was heading. At that time, the first seeds of discontent were planted when the seismic shift of potential massive Big 12 defections wound up being just a small tremor (Colorado and Nebraska leaving for the Pac-12 and Big Ten, respectively) and the Big 12 was held together with duct tape and promises of television riches for all.
A year later, Texas A&M has realized that life with the University of Texas isn't all it's cracked up to be and they have decided to move to the SEC -- a move which should touch off a ripple effect that will eventually have college football looking a lot more like a 64-team NFL minor league than the current structure that, by and large, makes geographical sense and is couched in traces of tradition.
The schools in the SEC have voted unanimously to accept A&M, and Aggie fans are already planning road trips to Baton Rouge, Tuscaloosa and Fayetteville (okay, well, maybe not Fayetteville). There's only one problem -- Baylor.
Yes, the A&M defection and the mass exodus that it will almost surely trigger, up to and including Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Texas and Texas Tech possibly going to the Pac-12, has the remaining orphaned members -- specifically Baylor, Iowa State, Kansas and Kansas State (with Baylor as the rally monkey among the group) -- ready to sue for contractual interference.
Sue A&M. Sue the SEC. Sue whoever it can to stop this realignment freight train. As Sol Rosenberg would say, "SUE EVERYBODY!" Whatever it takes to try and keep a seat at the BCS table.
Right now, this group of would-be orphans is basically like the misfit toys in Rudolph, only imagine if the misfit toys had a team of lawyers and decided to sue Santa Claus for not taking them with him on Christmas. Aggie fans get pissed, Texas and Oklahoma fans roll their eyes, and college football fans start to get that old "NFL lockout" feeling again. "Uh oh, lawyers are getting involved. Wake me up when it's over."
Reportedly, the Orphans have agreed to waive their right to sue A&M and the SEC as long as Oklahoma pledges allegiance to the Big 12, which right now feels about as likely as Joel Osteen showing up as the goofy neighbor on this season of The Kardashians.
While it seems crazy to think that the Big 12 stays together at this point, until the SEC unconditionally accepts A&M, none of the other dominoes can start to fall. And the thing about the SEC is that they, much like a man or woman who won't date someone who is merely "separated," will not fully accept A&M until they are legally unfettered.
The SEC wants A&M to be legally divorced of the Big 12 before they enter into a committed relationship, which is understandable.
To think that somehow A&M would have to stay in this dysfunctional relationship with the Big 12 is folly. And to think that Oklahoma (and others) doesn't see the house of cards they now live in is probably also a stretch. The Armageddon realignment scenario (complete with Big 12 implosion) will eventually happen if the big schools want it.
So basically, Baylor has ensured that this "A&M to the SEC" topic is going to have legs for another few weeks. And with the games now here, I don't need it. I don't want it.
Thanks for nothing, Baylor. For me, Ken Starr may as well be wearing a Roger Goodell mask.
Listen to Sean Pendergast on Yahoo! Sports Radio and 1560 The Game weekdays from noon to 3PM Central Time, and follow him on Twitter at http://twitter.com/SeanCablinasian.