Dear Commissioner Beebe:
I can't help but notice that the Big 12 is in the news a lot lately, and while fortunately it's not about recruiting scandals, it's not exactly encouraging to the conference faithful.
I'm sure you're paid a lot of money and have a lot of expertise in running an athletic conference. And I bet you hire guys and pay them a lot of money to help you run said conference. However, it's not so awesome right now, so I offer up advice on saving the Big 12 from someone with no money and no expertise. You may scoff, but keep in mind — you kind of suck at this right now. How much worse could my advice be?
Step 1. Wave goodbye to Texas A&M. How much of a loss are the Aggies anyway? I know it hurts a little bit that they're leaving, but consider them the crazy ex-girlfriend that you're glad to be rid of, even if your pride is smarting a little from getting dumped.
Step 2. Remember who you are. This is the Big 12 — a conference of 3 national football championships, good graduation rates and as-yet unsullied eligibility. Also, a conference that is bleeding teams. Assuming A&M goes on its merry way, we're down 25% from two years ago. Not even Arthur Andersen can make those numbers look good. Keep that in mind for ...
Step 3: Don't assume that teams not currently in the conference couldn't hack it in the conference. Yeah, we're the Big 12, and Oklahoma alone may have lost as many championships as the entire conference has won. Baylor manages to keep up. People barely even remember that Iowa State is in the conference. TCU could hack it.
Step 4: Think about the big picture. TCU and Boise State are the BCS busters everyone talked about. Maybe, just maybe, if those teams were in a BCS conference we could finally put to rest this never-ending, never-resolved argument about playoffs vs. the bowl system. You still get to feel all snotty and elitist; the teams that can actually keep up still get a shot at the big boys. Plus, them and BYU would actually make us the Big 12 again, because let's face it, everyone's a little uncomfortable with the idea of a 9-team Big 12.
Step 5: Keep the current teams happy. Maybe schmooze it up with ESPN a little more for some of that prime-time coverage? I get tired of seeing nothing teams on TV while I'm stuck following my game on the Internet. Talk to some other conferences (the real ones), encourage some pre-conference play friendlies. Let's get Notre Dame down to the Lone Star State.
And, while I would love a Red Raider Network, I will settle for requiring Boise State to have a green field.
Step 6: Call me when you're ready to start that Red Raider Network.
Well, commissioner, I wish you the best. I'll leave you with one last bit of advice — if you want to keep your job as Big 12 commissioner, make sure next season there's still a Big 12, yeah?