I have only two words to amply describe what this whole cluster [insert expletive that begins with the letter "F"] on conference realignment in college football is doing to me physically: Linda Blair.
Just old enough to appreciate the 1973 classic film The Exorcist , I feel as if this whole saga has consumed me, sadly enough to the point where my head is on the verge of recklessly spinning independent of my body, with only my shoulders to serve as an axis and keep it from flying completely off.
Extreme, I know.
But considering my alma mater (Missouri) has unjustly earned the title of Public Enemy No. 1 in all of this, and somehow still finds itself in the lurch at this point, the natural drama and mood swings that accompany a story of this magnitude and effect are exponentially amplified.
Over the past week or so, rumors, speculation, and "John Doe" sources have dominated. All of a sudden, everyone is associated with someone in the know, and you need only make a trip to your local Carl's Jr. to get the latest scoop, where the 18-year-old zit-faced fry guy will take time to inform you that "some dude with knowledge" of the Big Ten's plans says the conference is now considering extending an invitation to Florida International before the SEC does.
It's enough to make anyone sick. And it's a topic I would love to tackle, only I have no idea where to start.
So, instead, I'll just unload another helping of links on you.
(On a side note: While surfing, count the times you encounter the phrase "according to," and serve yourself that number of Smirnoff Ices. That is, unless, your bros haven't "Iced " you already.)
- To kick off this link party, we begin with the black sheep in all this -- Missouri—which reportedly hasn't received an invitation from the Big Ten but doesn't exactly feel obligated to assure the Big 12 that it won't leave if an invite does come along.
- If that invite doesn't come, Missouri could opt to play a part in breathing life back into the Big 12 by pulling some teams from the Mountain West or elsewhere. Or, ahem, it could just join the Big East , where it would maintain rivalries with Kansas, Kansas State, and Iowa State, says a D.C. writer.
- Though you could argue the Tigers inadvertently got the realignment ball rolling earlier in December when it publicly stated that a call from the Big Ten would be picked up, MU officials have since been nothing short of mute, leading some to think that athletics director Mike Alden knows something that a lot of people don't. As one unidentified member of the Missouri state government recently told the Columbia Daily Tribune :"Is it just me, or is Missouri exercising rare discipline in keeping quiet on this topic?"
- Missouri might have a trick up its sleeve, but Chicago Tribune writer Teddy Greenstein thinks the Tigers' seemingly failed flirtation with the Big Ten is "embarrassing ."
- So, with Colorado confirming its defection to the Pac-10, and Nebraska expected to announce its move to the Big Ten as early as Friday, can we now refer to the Big 12 as the numerically-correct Big Ten?
- Or should we just prepare to bury the Big 12 altogether? After all, it looks like Texas and Texas A&M are headed to the Big Ten, along with Notre Dame. What, you didn't know? Well, a TV station in Kansas City certainly does, and they're hedging bets that Oklahoma lands on its feet in the SEC, provided that someone comes along with them.
- But you may want to hold off on dialing your local Big Ten Network provider if you live in Austin or College Station. The two schools, which met Thursday, may end up diverging , writes Chuck Carlton of the Dallas Morning News.
- The Pac-10 seems a good fit for the Longhorns, where they could exert more power than in, say, the Big Ten, but where does that leave the Aggies? Chip Brown, of Orangebloods.com , seems to think the SEC could be a possibility.
- But what if the Pac-10 decides to put a lid on things? It's a possibility according to UCLA athletics director Dan Guerrero , who told the Los Angeles Times that "We still don’t have an idea where it might land," referring to the likelihood of a Pac-16.
- Is it just me, or does good ol' Chip seem to be the only reporter (and I use that term lightly) in the whole nation able to uncover leads regarding conference realignment? I mean, he did say on SportsCenter Wednesday that "officials" from various Big 12 schools were calling him "to see what's going on," so maybe the dude's just got the goods. High-ranking officials from schools embroiled in a highly sensitive matter of national importance contacting a Rivals.com writer/Austin radio personality for the latest scoop? Sounds about right.
- Speaking of whipping posts, ESPN.com's Gene Wojciechowski catches up with former SEC commissioner Roy Kramer, who could conceivably be the mastermind behind all of this madness for what he did 20 years ago. It's a great read, plus it is preceded by a terse and thought-provoking take on realignment by ESPN resident college football historian Beano Cook, who insists what is taking place is a "disgrace."
- What about Notre Dame, which remains a critical lynchpin of the Big Ten's plans? Given the potential implications of Colorado's announcement on Friday, the Irish could have their hand forced sooner than they want.