Well, my team, the Oklahoma Sooners, ranked #1, beat the highest rated team on their schedule, #5 Florida State, making me think they are for real. OU has had a habit of losing games like this–early in the season, on the road, pre-mature hype–but this time, though it was a very hard-fought and exciting game, there was no choking, no appearance of disorganized panic when things got hard, just relentless football that ground out a 10 point victory.
But now I’ve heard that OU is seriously considering leaving what’s left of the Big 12 conference–along with Oklahoma State and maybe Texas, and I don’t know who all–for the Pac 12. Oklahoma is nowhere near the Pacific ocean! We are two time-zones away from the West Coast! A 7:00 p.m. road came will start at 9:00 p.m. in Oklahoma 5:00 p.m. in California!
I am opposed to doing violence to regional identity, language, and mathematics. This is not the only conference shuffling in the works. Texas Christian University, in roughly the same longitude as Oklahoma, is joining the Big East! I don’t know the reasons for these shifts–I suppose the other conference members aren’t bringing in as much money for the pot as the members of these other conferences do–but I hate the loss of primordial rivalries (such as OU and Nebraska, which has already absconded to the Big Ten, now consisting of 12 members, with the Big 12 consisting of 10 members; the conferences should at least exchange names, until next year when the Big 12 may shrink to the Little 7).
I do see one potentially silver lining. There are currently six Division-1 conferences in the BCS system. The Big East is also bleeding members, with Syracuse and Pittsburgh considering joining the Atlantic Coast Conference. If the Big 12 dissolves and the Pac 12 growing to unmanageable proportions, maybe it could split into two. We could have four major conferences: Perhaps a northeast, a southeast, a northwest, and a southwest, or if football wants to eliminate regions in favor of these artificial alliances, so be it. But then with only four conferences, the winners could play each other.
Maybe all of this conference re-shuffling is the free market making possible a true national championship.